Women Vets & PTSD

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One out of every ten veterans leaving their military commitments is a woman. That number will grow and with it, so will cases of PTSD. (KFSN)

One out of every ten veterans leaving their military commitments is a woman. That number will grow and with it, so will cases of PTSD. But helping these women is proving difficult for the Veterans' Administration, a system that historically has focused only on men.

Navy veteran Tanya Godinez is going to call the H.O.P.E. Center home for the next nine weeks. She was raped by a man on her ship 26 years ago and has suffered from PTSD ever since.

Godinez expressed to Ivanhoe, "Here, I'm first, and my gratitude is overflowing."

About one in four women say they were sexually assaulted while serving in the military. As a result, most PTSD cases stem from those assaults. Sadly, some women say they deal with this trauma for decades.

"I kind of look at PTSD as like having a full-time job where it's intense," said Caryn Dilandro, PhD, a Clinical Psychologist and PTSD Program Manager.

This in-patient VA facility near Buffalo, New York is only one of four in the nation for women only, dealing with everything from PTSD to depression to anxiety.

Jill LaMantia, MSN, RN, the Women Veterans Program Manager at the H.O.P.E Center said, "It could be all sorts of physical things. GI is affected and rashes, all sorts of things."

Understandably, many women don't like seeking treatment in facilities that have focused almost exclusively on men, but the VA is changing that.

LaMantia explains, "I literally meet them at the front door. I walk them everywhere they need to get used to the building."

After years of isolation, coping with PTSD on her own, navy veteran Amanda Krzyzanowski wants to make sure no other woman has to suffer alone. That all changed for her at the H.O.P.E Center.

"Now I don't feel that way and I'm proud to say that I did it," Krzyzanowski shared.

The VA is trying to reach out to women veterans to let them know they are eligible for care regardless of where or how long they served. Women can also call the VA's women veterans hotline at 1-855-VA-WOMEN. The four VA facilities offering these treatments for women are: Batavia (Near Buffalo), New York; Menlo Park, California; Lyons, New Jersey and Brockton, Massachusetts.
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