Military sexual trauma (MST)
Military sexual trauma (MST) refers to sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment experienced during military service. Veterans of all genders and from all types of backgrounds have experienced MST. If you experienced any sexual activity against your will during your time in the military, you may have experienced MST. Find out how to access our free services that can help you recover.
How do I talk to someone right now?
If you're a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, connect with our caring, qualified Veterans Crisis Line responders for confidential help. Many of them are Veterans themselves. This service is private, free, and available 24/7.
To connect with a Veterans Crisis Line responder anytime day or night:
- Call 800-273-8255, then select 1.
- Start a confidential chat.
- Text 838255.
- If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 800-799-4889.
You can also:
What services does VA provide for Veterans who’ve experienced MST?
We provide free treatment for any physical or mental health conditions related to a Veteran’s experiences of MST. You don't need documentation of MST experiences or a VA disability compensation rating to get care.
Our services include:
- An MST coordinator who serves as a contact person for MST-related issues and who can assist Veterans in accessing care
- MST-related outpatient services at every VA medical center and many VA community-based outpatient clinics
- Mental health services, including psychological assessment and evaluation, medication evaluation and treatment, and individual and group psychotherapy for mental health conditions associated with MST, like:
- MST-related outpatient counseling through VA’s community-based Vet Centers across the country
- MST-related treatment in VA’s residential (live-in) or inpatient programs—including gender-specific programs—for Veterans who need more intensive treatment and support
Note: Although this page refers to “Veterans,” former service members with an Other Than Honorable discharge and current service members can also receive certain MST-related services. For more information, please contact your nearest VA medical center and ask to speak to the MST coordinator.
Find your nearest VA medical center
How do I access VA services for MST?
If you’re a Veteran who has experienced MST, you can get help through VA. You don’t need to have a service-connected disability rating, and you may be able to get MST-related care even if you aren’t eligible for other VA services. You also don’t need to have reported the MST at the time or have other proof to get care.
Here’s how to access VA services for MST:
- If you have a VA primary care provider, consider telling that person that you experienced MST. All VA primary care and mental health providers complete mandatory training on MST and the treatment needs of people who've experienced it. Your provider can offer treatment referrals and support as needed.
- Call your nearest VA medical center and ask to speak to the MST coordinator. You can ask to speak with a provider of a specific gender if that would make you feel more comfortable.
Find a VA medical center near you
- If you’d prefer to receive MST-related care outside of a medical setting, get free confidential counseling, alcohol and drug assessment, and other support at one of our 300 community Vet Centers.
Find a Vet Center near you
- If you’re homeless or at risk of becoming homeless:
- Contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-424-3838 for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A trained VA counselor will offer information about VA homeless programs, health care, and other services in your area. The call is free and confidential.
- Visit our website to learn about VA programs for Veterans who are homeless.
Learn about our homelessness programs
- Call or visit your local VA Community Resource and Referral Center. Even if you don’t qualify for VA health care, our staff can help you find non-VA resources you may qualify for in your community.
Find your local Community Resource and Referral 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 benefits from VA?
Veterans can receive compensation for conditions that started or got worse in the line of duty. This includes injuries or disabilities related to MST. If you have questions, a Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) MST coordinator at your nearest regional office can explain more.
Find your nearest regional office
Or get help applying for disability compensation by:
Where can I find more information and support?
- Access more fact sheets, articles, and resources, and learn more about our programs and services.
Get VA information about mental health
- Download our military sexual trauma brochure for Veterans:
- Download our educational brochure for men who’ve experienced MST:
- Watch a video about MST, its effects on survivors, and VA services available to Veterans who’ve experienced MST.
Watch the video (YouTube)
- Go to our Make the Connection website to hear stories from Veterans about their own experiences with the effects of MST, and find more resources and support.
Visit Make the Connection
- If you're an active-duty service member, go to 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 can remain anonymous (meaning you don’t have to give your name). You can get 1-on-1 advice, support, and information 24/7—by phone, text, or online chat. You can also connect with a sexual assault response coordinator near your base or installation.