HEALTH / WELL-BEING

“Give us respect, support and understanding”: Women veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan recommend strategies for improving their mental health care

Article

Although women veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have experienced war-related mental health challenges, they underutilize Veterans Affairs (VA) health care relative to men.  The current qualitative study sought to increase representation of women’s voices by asking 29 women veterans of the recent wars to recommend strategies for improving VA and community-based mental health services. 16 strategies were identified in three thematic areas, including the therapeutic relationship, clinical care environment, and health care system.

Abstract

Although women veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have experienced war-related mental health challenges, they underutilize Veterans Affairs (VA) health care relative to men. Quantitative studies have identified barriers that limit women veterans’ use of health care, but there is a dearth of research asking recent women veterans to volunteer their own recommendations for improving their mental health care. The current qualitative study sought to increase representation of the client voice by asking 29 women veterans of the recent wars to recommend strategies for improving VA and community-based mental health services. 16 strategies were identified in three thematic areas, including the therapeutic relationship, clinical care environment, and health care system. Implications of the findings for enhancing access, use, and quality of mental health services for this cohort of women veterans are discussed.

Full Reference

Koblinsky, S.A., Schroeder, A.L., Leslie, L.A., 2017. “Give us respect, support and understanding”: Women veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan recommend strategies for improving their mental health care. Social Work in Mental Health, 15(2), pp.121-142.