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Understanding the Needs of Female Veterans

Portrait of young female soldier


This commentary attempts to frame the article, “Safer Housing for Homeless Women Veterans,” in a wider context. It defines female veterans, homelessness, and military sexual trauma. This commentary also tackles a question that often confuses civilian providers regarding who has access to care at the Veterans Health Administration. It does not repeat in detail all of the recommendations in the article, but it advocates their broader use in shelters and transitional housing. Finally, I close with some thoughts about a new generation of young, homeless, female veterans who may have children and how to accommodate their needs.

The article by Kim and colleagues1 is a valuable addition to the literature on the importance of safe housing for the homeless, focusing on women veterans with PTSD related to sexual assault. In this commentary, I hope to provide additional context to help frame the paper on the basis of my experience. I write this commentary from the perspective of being both a retired Army psychiatrist and a female combat veteran. I am also a forensic psychiatrist and long-time AAPL member. I have written extensively on the topic of the health needs of female service members.2 In my last job, I worked with the homeless clinic of a Veterans Administration (VA) hospital. I currently practice psychiatry at a large hospital in Washington, DC, where many of our patients are homeless. I am using these skill sets to provide a framework to discuss the topics of female veterans, supported housing, and PTSD.

Source: https://jaapl.org/

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