Marginalized Women: Veterans with PTSD


Veterans with PTSD In 2015 a study was conducted that showed an increase of about 47 percent of women veterans that are utilizing the Veteran Administration healthcare system, (Shivakumar, Anderson, Suris, & North, 2017). These women are much younger than their male colleagues in the same positions. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD is one of the most common diagnosis among women the ages 18-44, (Shivakumar, Anderson, Suris, & North, 2017). Around 7.5 percent of the total patients seen by the VA healthcare system in 2015 consisted of women. (Kehle-Forbes, Harwood, Spoont, Sayer, Gerould, & Murdoch, 2017).

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It was shown that women use the VA services more frequently than males, but care of those veteran women is lacking and needs to be enhanced. Women report feeling not welcomed and an inconsiderateness to their needs was apparent. The woman studied, discontinued their care because they felt as though the provider was not meeting their needs, (Kehle-Forbes, Harwood, Spoont, Sayer, Gerould, & Murdoch, 2017). Less than half of woman veterans that received services for mental health within the VA system felt as though their needs had been met, (Kehle- Forbes, Harwood, Spoont, Sayer, Gerould, & Murdoch, 2017).

This paper examines the common issues women veterans encounter when receiving mental healthcare for PTSD from the VA healthcare system. These issues will be addressed as well as social justice problems, ethical issues, socio-economic problems and strategies of action to bring about positive outcomes. An action plan will be prepared and conveyed to the VA Hospital administration in hopes that it will be taken into consideration to create a new process to help female veterans in obtaining adequate care. Several scholarly studies and evidence-based methods as well as current guidelines will be applied to create this action plan. It is important to consider any gender differences when managing the unique needs of the female veterans. There is room for enhancements in assessment, improved screening tools, and treatments that coincide with current interventions to minimize the psychological impact and encourage recovery.

Current Incidence and Prevalence recent study showed that 17 percent of The National Guard and 15 percent of active military are A female. The same study also showed that 20 percent of new recruits are women, (Conard & Sauls, 2013). About half of these woman deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. These missions place these women right in the middle of the action in war zone territories, (Conard & Sauls, 2013). they are not in direct combat, they Even if are exposed to the war zone in other ways such as medical units. In today’s military, woman take on the same roles and tasks as the men they serve beside including combat pilots, police, intelligence, medical personal, etc, (Conard & Sauls, 2013).

Suicide and car bombings, roadside bombs, and ambushes are just some of the hostile situations these woman endure. Even when in noncombat type rolls, they are exposed to these violent a encounters and witness other traumatic events such as sexual assault, torture, and death. This can be a daily occurrence and when unable to return home and step away from these situations, leads to post traumatic stress it a it disorder, or PTSD, (Conard & Sauls, 2013). Sensory exposure happens to many medical service women due to the constant exposure to dying patients and leads to woman having difficulty caring for the wounded in combat zone, (Conard & Sauls, 2013). Anxiety, depression and PTSD go hand in hand and commonly present together increasing the risk of suicide among this group. The reports are outstanding, with woman veterans times more likely to commit suicide than non-military woman, (Conard & Sauls, 2013).

These woman being 3 a have an absence of personal hygiene and privacy as well as other issues that their male counterparts do not experience. Along with the added stress of war, these women also have chance of extended deployments, a (Conard & Sauls, 2013). About 20 percent of female veterans deployed to Iraq have been diagnosed with PTSD, (National Center for PTSD, 20118). Socioeconomic Aspects of Women Veterans with PTSD A PTSD impacts the female veteran’s quality of life and vulnerability while deployed. study showed that 59 percent of the woman veterans had unmet medical needs and also screened positive for PTSD in the 12 months prior. Cost was reported as the delay in seeking care, (Lehavot, Der-Martirosian, Simpson, Sadler)

A PTSD is a it Social Justice The effect of social justice and injustice of mental health and the VA Healthcare system majorly impact female veterans and their treatment for PTSD. In a survey of female veterans with PTSD that deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, found that their opinion of treatment of their mental illness from the VA to be negative rather than positive, (Fox, Meyer, & Vogt, 2015). They also felt that male veterans were treated better than the female veterans and swayed their longing to seek out treatment at the VA, (Fox, Meyer, & Vogt, 2015). There is a stigma that accompanies any mental illness in itself, but for women veterans with PTSD to feel as though they are being treated differently because of sex is an injustice to not only them, but the entire VA system. Ethical Issues Suicide and PTSD in our veterans has been a big topic in the mainstream media. There is a huge stigma associated with mental illness and suicides, veterans with PTSD owning firearms, and the VA system in general, (Bongar, Sullivan, & James, 2017).

Politics and avoidance of responsibility has dominated over ethical obligations to the female veterans with PTSD. Cost and financial obligation have become more of an ethics issue when dealing with our female veterans. Fear of judgement sometimes tends delay woman from seeking care and treatment, (Koven, 2017). The substandard care of women veterans with PTSD has a negative effect on the nations citizens because it causes distrust of the government. Theses woman risk their lives for a country that refuses to give quality mental health care, (Koven, 2017). Washington, 2013). recent study found that most of the women with PTSD did not have any insurance other than the VA and they did not know that they were eligible for VA benefits, (Lehavot, Der-Martirosian, Simpson, Sadler, & Washington, 2013).

Recent reports

have shown that many female veterans feel uneasy in societal institutions because of instances that occurred in combat. (Jackson, 2014). Morbidity and mortality of not directly related to socioeconomic status however, may impede the accessibility of seeking treatments and in turn lower the chance of positive outcome. Plan to address this group Change needs to happen in regard to treatment strategies for our female veterans who suffer with PTSD. The American Psychological Association (APA) Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will need to be evaluated and improved. This needs to start in the primary care setting and can easily be done by recognizing and screening all veteran females, (Sarah & Christopher, 2017).

Social support has been shown to drastically impact female veterans who return from deployment. Symptoms are more controlled when women are able to talk about their feelings of PTSD with people close to them. Reports have shown that they adjust better when accepted by group and are able to have that release, (National Center for a Conclusion In conclusion, the VA system needs to convey accessibility, trustworthiness, and discretion for woman with PTSD.

Recognizing PTSD symptoms by utilizing better screening tools and the clinical practice guidelines will lead to earlier treatment and education of female veterans with PTSD. Social stigmas associated with mental health need to be recognized and demolished so that female veterans can feel as if the care they need is achievable. The VA will start to enroll female veterans with PTSD to patient specific programs because the evidence supports this new process and provides them with the adequate care that is required for healing. Encouragement to join support groups, social clubs, and any positive group settings to help reintroduce these female veterans back into the community and help create a support system. PTSD, 2018). Positive motivation should be given to join groups like the VFW to get involved with functions to give those needed outlets veterans in order to help create social connections, (National Center for PTSD, 2018).


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Marginalized Women: Veterans With PTSD. (2019, Apr 15). Retrieved November 28, 2022 , from

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