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Heal the Invisible Wounds Faced by Women Veterans and Service Members

4,296 signatures toward our 30,000 Goal

14.32% Complete

Sponsor: The Veterans Site

Join us in demanding urgent reform to ensure our women veterans receive the mental health care they deserve.


Women veterans serve with honor, yet face a stark reality upon returning to civilian life. The mental health challenges they endure are profound and distinctly different from those of their male counterparts, yet the care provided does not meet their specific needs.

Women veterans often do not see themselves in the term 'veteran,' and feel alienated by services designed predominantly for men. Their experiences, especially those involving sexual violence and discrimination in the military, demand specialized attention which is currently lacking. The absence of tailored mental health care and inadequate screening for military sexual trauma leave many to suffer in silence1.

Visibility is another crucial issue. The lack of representation in veteran services’ branding and materials further discourages women from seeking the help they desperately need1. This invisibility in the very systems meant to support them only deepens the gaps in care.

Structural Barriers to Access

The VA system, while expansive, is not fully equipped to address the rapid increase in demand for women-specific health services. These services are crucial, as female veterans face higher rates of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidality than their male peers and civilian women. Additionally, women veterans, particularly those in rural areas, encounter significant obstacles in accessing mental health services, exacerbating their plight2.

Voices of Change

Ginger MacCutcheon's story is a powerful reminder of the urgency of this issue. After enduring sexual assault within the military, she faced a daunting return to civilian life with little support. "They discharge you and let you go with no idea of how you're going to help yourself or get help. Nobody says anything," she shares. Her experience is not isolated, but a common narrative among women who served3.

What Can Be Done?

It is time for systemic change. The Department of Veterans Affairs must act swiftly to implement comprehensive policy reforms. These reforms should include:

  • Rigorous screenings for military sexual trauma to identify and address this pervasive issue promptly.
  • Tailored interventions for suicidality that consider the unique experiences and needs of women veterans.
  • Increased visibility of women in all veteran services’ branding to ensure women see themselves represented and feel encouraged to seek help.
  • Expansion of access to gender-specific mental health care, enabling women to receive the support they need in a manner that respects their service and sacrifices.

Call to Action

The plight of women veterans is a pressing issue that demands immediate action. By signing the petition to improve mental health services for women veterans, you are not just supporting a cause; you are helping to transform the system. These brave women answered the call to serve our country; now it's our turn to ensure they receive the care and respect they deserve.

Stand with us. Sign the petition today and join us in advocating for a system that truly supports all veterans.

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The Petition:

To the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Honorable Secretary of Veterans Affairs,

We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now to improve mental health services for women veterans. As the fastest-growing demographic within the veteran community, women veterans face unique challenges and barriers to accessing adequate mental health care that are not sufficiently met by current services.

Despite their valiant service, many women veterans do not fully benefit from the mental health services provided by the VA. Critical issues include inadequate screenings for military sexual trauma, a lack of gender-specific treatment options, and insufficient representation in veteran services’ branding and materials. These gaps have left many women veterans feeling unseen, unheard, and underserved.

Furthermore, structural barriers within the VA system, such as those affecting women veterans in rural areas, exacerbate these challenges. The current system’s failure to address the distinct needs of women veterans contributes to higher rates of depression, PTSD, and suicidality compared to their male counterparts and civilian women.

We call on the Department of Veterans Affairs to:

  1. Implement the policy recommendations proposed by organizations like the Disabled American Veterans, which include rigorous screenings for military sexual trauma and tailored interventions for suicidality among women veterans.
  2. Increase the visibility of women in veteran services’ branding to reflect and recognize their service and sacrifice.
  3. Expand access to gender-specific mental health care, including increasing the number of VA facilities with specialized programs for women.
  4. Ensure continuous evaluation and adaptation of policies to meet the evolving needs of women veterans effectively.

By taking these steps, the Department of Veterans Affairs will not only improve the quality of life for women veterans but will also uphold our nation's promise to all its veterans. Enhancing mental health services for women veterans is not just an investment in their well-being—it is an investment in a stronger, healthier future for all who have served our country.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: