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Military sexual trauma (MST)

Military sexual trauma (MST) refers to sexual assault or threatening sexual harassment experienced during military service. Veterans of all genders and from all types of backgrounds have experienced MST.

If you’re having difficulties related to your experience of MST, we’re here to support you in whatever way will help you best. We can help you learn more about how MST affects people. We can provide treatment that helps you cope with how the experience of MST is impacting your life. Or if you’d prefer, we can provide treatment that involves discussing your experiences in more depth.

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:

You can also:

  • Call 911.
  • Go to the nearest emergency room.
  • Go directly to your nearest VA medical center. It doesn’t matter what your discharge status is or if you’re enrolled in VA health care.
    Find your nearest VA medical center

What services does VA provide related to MST?

We provide free treatment for any physical or mental health conditions related to your experiences of MST. You don’t need to have reported the MST at the time or have other proof that the MST occurred to get care.

We offer these services:

  • A Veterans Health Administration (VHA) MST coordinator at every VA medical facility. Coordinators serve as a contact person for MST-related issues. They can assist you in accessing care.  You can contact the MST Coordinator nearest you.
    • MST-related outpatient services at every VA medical center and many VA community-based outpatient clinics. These services include psychological assessment and evaluation, medication evaluation and treatment, and individual and group psychotherapy for mental health conditions associated with MST. Treatment for physical health conditions related to MST is also available.
    • MST-related outpatient counseling through VA’s community-based Vet Centers. 
    • MST-related treatment in VA’s residential (live-in) or inpatient programs for individuals who need more intensive treatment and support.
  • You can request to meet with a clinician of a particular gender if it helps you feel more comfortable.
  • You don’t need to discuss or disclose your MST experience when registering with VA. Just ask to meet with a VA health care professional for a clinical evaluation. The provider can discuss your health concerns and help refer you to the MST-related mental health or medical care you need.

Learn more about how we can help with Military Sexual Trauma

A note on who can receive these services

We refer to “Veterans” on this page. But these groups can also receive care related to experiences of MST:

  • MST-related services are available for Veterans and most former Service members, including those who received an Other Than Honorable discharge or served for fewer than two years. Standard length of service requirements do not apply to eligibility for MST-related care, and some individuals may be able to receive MST-related care even if they are not eligible for other VA care. Service connection (that is, a VA disability rating) is not needed.
    • Former National Guard and Reserve members with federal active-duty service or a service-connected disability who were discharged under honorable conditions or with an other than honorable discharge. The service-connected disability doesn’t need to be related to your experiences of MST.
    • Current service members. We may require a Defense Department referral for some types of 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 related to MST?

You may access VA services related to MST in any of these ways: 

  • If you have a VA health care provider, consider telling that person that you experienced MST. All VA primary care and mental health providers complete 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.   
    Find a VA medical center near you
  • Contact a Vet Center and ask to speak with someone about MST-related counseling.
    Find a Vet Center near you

If you’re homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, you can get help in these ways:

  • Contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-424-3838 (TTY: 711). We’re here 24/7. 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. We’re here 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?

You may be eligible to get compensation for conditions that started or got worse during military service. This includes injuries or disabilities related to MST.

Learn about MST and disability compensation

Where can I find more information and support?

  • Go to our VA mental health website to for more information on MST and coping resources that can help. You can also learn more about our programs and services.
    Learn more about MST and VA’s services
  • Download Beyond MST, a free, secure and private self-help mobile app created specifically to support the health and well-being of people who experienced MST. The app has over 30 specialized tools and other features to help you cope with challenges, manage symptoms, improve quality of life and find hope. 
  • Learn more about Beyond MST

  • Go to the Make the Connection website to learn stories from Veterans about their recovery from the impact of MST, and find more resources and support.
    Go to the Make the Connection website
  • If you’re a current service member, consider visiting the Defense Department (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 don’t have to give your name and can remain anonymous. You can get one-on-one 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.