Wounded Warrior Project Highlights Risk Factors for PTSD in Female Veterans

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – The Wounded Warrior Project is raising awareness among female veterans about PTSD after research has shown risk factors that contribute to the display of symptoms of mental illness.

The organization, which was founded to help post-9/11 veterans, collected responses from 5,400 women registered with their organization.

According to their results, women with military sexual trauma were three times more likely to have moderate to severe PTSD symptoms.

Veteran women who had co-occurring mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, or sleep problems were five times more likely to have moderate to severe PTSD symptoms.

Melanie Mousseau, vice president of program operations and partnerships with the Wounded Warrior Project, says seeing the impacts of the factors is surprising.

Women are the fastest growing veteran population, accounting for 9% of the veteran population and are expected to reach 16% by 2043. So there is a need to be able to provide support. ‘help, according to Mousseau.

“We found that half of women with PTSD also have difficulty accessing care. This is where Wounded Warriors comes in, where we can deliver mental health and wellness programs, remove barriers to care, and help women warriors and all warriors cope with PTSD, ”he said. she declared.

Getting this help from organizations like Wounded Warrior has made all the difference in their lives like Taniki Richard.

“When you are in this urgent need, when you are in crisis, you do not have the answers. You are not the person who can help you. You need someone else to support you. In my weakest hour, our most urgent need, I had no one, ”she said.

Richard is a Marine Corps veteran and served for 11 years before retiring from medical care in 2012. She toured Iraq in 2008 and also suffered military sexual trauma.

“I would crack right in front of the grocery store. I heard the doors slam and the air conditioning and doors slam. It reminded me of being on the plane again. When I heard loud noises, I was so anxious and surprised. I felt paranoid and disoriented. I knew this was not the ‘me’ I was used to, ”she said.

Richard says her husband, who also served with her in Iraq, saw the change in her when she got home. She did not know she was suffering from PTSD at the time and was having problems at work. While she was receiving counseling, it was not enough and she reached a breaking point.

“On the way home, I crashed my vehicle outside the Marine Corps airbase trying to end my life. I had no idea how far I had gone. I never thought I would be the type of person to end my life, ”she said.

Richard says that at the time, she was the suicide prevention coordinator and sexual assault advocate for her unit.

It wasn’t until she got out of the service and attended a Wounded Warrior Project event with her husband that she wanted to start healing.

“A lot of people don’t realize that these invisible wounds hurt so much, it feels like you’re not just missing one limb, but your whole being,” she said.

Richard says the organization was there for her, constantly checking weekly events and hosting events, but never urging her to speak. She participated in various programs which led to her recovery and now she is offering this help that she has given to others.

The veteran turned entrepreneur says her involvement with Wounded Warrior as a mentor has allowed her to meet other veterans who are also receiving help.

She hopes they will continue to get the resources they need, but does not think Veterans Affairs Canada is yet fully equipped to do so.

That’s why she offers her help and the Wounded Warrior Project.

“This is not a cookie-cutter situation, but we need to have pillars for women victims of military or military sexual trauma who can seek help immediately.”

Richard has a website that offers help to survivors of abuse and inspiring entrepreneurs.

“We need you. We always want to see your smiley face at the end of the rainbow and make sure that you are heard, that you are validated and that you are supported,” she said.

To learn more about the Wounded Warrior project, Click here.

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