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VA Palo Alto Health Care System

 

Mental Health & MST Awareness

T-shirts hanging on a clothesline

Veterans who experienced MST design t-shirts that reflect their experience of sexual trauma and recovery.

By Andrea Ritz
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Women’s Counseling Center (WCC) at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) offers a full range of outpatient mental health services. From managing everyday stressors to navigating major life events, the staff is here to help women Veterans meet their personal goals and enhance their well-being.

The WCC has been providing women-specific care since 2007. This means that the approach to mental health treatment is comprehensive, collaborative, and meets the unique needs of women Veterans.

All women Veterans who are eligible for mental health treatment through the VA are welcome to access services by contacting the clinic coordinator, Jonelle Flood, LCSW, at 650-493-5000 x25000, or the program director, Dr. Trisha Vinatieri, at 650-493-5000 x22914.

The center provides individual and group therapy; a full listing of clinic offerings can be found on the WCC website.

Standing Together to Empower Military Sexual Trauma Survivors

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual campaign in April to raise public awareness about sexual assault. In its SAAM campaign, VA focuses in particular on sexual assault and sexual harassment occurring during military service – also known as “military sexual trauma” or “MST.”

Sadly, about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 100 men seen for VA health care report a history of MST when screened by a VA provider. Although the percentage among women is much higher, given the far greater number of men in military service, there are significant numbers of both men and women who have experienced MST.

Because of this, MST Coordinators and other VA staff make special efforts during SAAM to show support for Veterans who experienced MST. VAPAHCS will be hosting the Military Sexual Trauma Awareness Month Clothesline Event on Friday, April 7, from 1:00-3:00pm at the VA San Jose Clinic, and on Friday, April 14, from 12:00-3:00pm at the VA Menlo Park Welcome Center. The intent is to open the conversation and help Veterans who may have experienced Military Sexual Trauma to know they are not alone.

At the event, all male and female survivors of MST are invited to design a t-shirt that reflects their experience of sexual trauma and recovery. The t-shirts will then be hung on a display to raise awareness of the impact of sexual trauma.

Private t-shirt decorating sessions can be arranged by contacting the MST Coordinator, Katie Webb, LCSW, at 650-493-5000 x27107.

The Traveling Clothesline Exhibit will be available in the VA Palo Alto Building 100 Lobby from 10am-2pm on Tuesday, April 25, and Thursday, April 27 for everyone to look at.

Please share this traveling event and possibly help a Veteran to gain the courage to reach out.

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