Are you a female veteran or, perhaps, you know someone who is?
More women than you imagined have played a crucial role in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In fact, 8 percent of the U.S, veteran population is female and women account for 13 percent of all who served in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, there brave women who've come home to Long Island, now face unique issues, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, hypertension and depression or, perhaps, some kind of military sexual trauma.
Military sexual trauma is a leading cause of PTS among women veterans, according to the Service Women's Action Network, which also notes that victims are at increased rick for homeless, stress, depression and other mental health issues.
But there's help available. "There are many new services specifically designed to meet the unique needs of women veterans," says John Javis, director of special project at the Mental Health Association of Nassau County, which along with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Northport are offering assistance.
The VA offers a Women's Wellness Center which delivers state-of-the-art, gender specific healthy care services, including primary care, gynecology, psychology and social work.
Moreover, female veterans who experienced military sexual trauma --even if they are not eligible for other VA services--may receive help from the VA.
"There is help, there are benefits and there are answers," said Javis. "These women served their country and have earned them."
If you belong to an organization that would like to have a speaker discuss these issues, contact the Mental Health Association of Nassau County at (516) 489-2322 ext. 1111 to schedule a presentation.
For information regarding the needs of women veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, call the VA's Northport Women's Veterans Program at (631) 544-5314, or the Mental Health Association of Nassau County (516) 504-HELP.