Military Sexual Trauma (MST) | VA Health Care Charleston

Military sexual trauma (STD) refers to sexual assault or sexual harassment suffered during military service. Former military personnel and veterans of all genders and backgrounds have experienced MST. If you are having difficulty with the STD, we are here to help you in any way that will help you best. We can help you learn more about how STDs affect people. We can provide treatment that helps you cope with the impact of STDs on your life. Or if you prefer, we can offer you a treatment that involves a more in-depth discussion of your experiences.

What services does VA provide regarding MST?

We provide free treatment for any physical or mental health conditions related to your STD experiences. You don’t need documentation of STD experiences or a VA disability rating to get care. You may also be eligible for services for STD-related difficulties, even if you are not eligible for other VA services.

Awareness campaigns, including Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). A note on who can receive these services

We refer to “Veterans” on this page. But these groups can also receive care related to STD experiences:

  • Most ex-servicemen with other than honorable or uncharacterized discharge (entry level)
  • Former National Guard and Reserve members with federal active duty or a service-related disability who were discharged on honorable terms or with an other-than-honorable discharge. Service-related disability does not need to be related to your STD experiences.
  • Current service members. We may require a Department of Defense recommendation for certain types of services.

For more information, please contact your nearest VA medical center and ask to speak to the STD coordinator.

Find Your Nearest VA Medical Center

Here is a list of psychoeducational videos from the latest SAAM Virtual Summit 2022

Here’s how to access VA’s MST-related services:

  • If you have a VA healthcare provider, consider telling this person that you have experienced the STD. All VA primary care and mental health providers undergo training on STDs and the treatment needs of people who have experienced them. Your provider can offer treatment referrals and support as needed.
  • Call your nearest VA medical center and ask to speak to the STD coordinator. You can ask to speak to a provider of a specific sex if it makes you feel comfortable.
    Find a VA medical center near you
  • Contact a veterinary center and ask to speak to someone about STD advice.
    Find a veterinary center near you
  • If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless:
    • Contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-424-3838 for assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A qualified VA counselor will provide you with information about VA programs for the homeless, care health and other services in your area. The call is free and confidential.
    • Visit our website to learn more about VA programs for homeless veterans.
      Learn more about our homelessness programs
    • Call or visit your local VA Community Resource and Referral Center. Even if you are not eligible for VA health care, our staff can help you find non-VA resources you may be eligible for in your community.
      Find your local community referral and resource center

You can also call the VA General Information Hotline at 800-827-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

Can I get disability compensation (monthly payments) or other VA benefits?

Former service members and veterans may receive compensation for conditions that began or worsened in the line of duty. This includes injuries or disabilities related to STDs. If you have any questions, a Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) STD awareness coordinator in your nearest regional office can tell you more.

Find your nearest regional office

Or get help applying for a Disability Award by:

Where can I find more information and support?

  • Access our VA Mental Health website to download STD brochures and fact sheets as well as the “Beyond STD” self-help app. You can also learn more about our programs and services.
    Learn more about MST and VA services
  • Play a video about STD, its effects on survivors, and VA services available to help with STD recovery.
    Play video (YouTube)
  • Visit the Make the Connection website to hear stories from veterans about recovering from an STD, and find more resources and support.
    Go to the Make the Connection website
  • If you are a current member of the service, please consider visiting the Department of Defense (DoD) Safe Helpline website, a crisis support service for members of the DOD community affected by sexual assault. When you contact the Safe Helpline, you do not have to give your name and you can remain anonymous. You can get personalized advice, support and information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by phone, text or online chat. You can also contact a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator near your base or facility.

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