Jaz, Army Veteran
Jaz served in Army in 1970’s where she Honorably discharged. Although she did not see combat, Jaz suffered from PTSD due to sexual trauma during military service. Jaz was a Head Start teacher and loved working with children. One day, she was triggered and had an episode in the classroom. Placed on administrative leave, the military trauma now was affecting her life in ways she did not understand. Jaz was connected with the VIC after she was let go from her teaching job. She explained that she was ashamed to get help for her PTSD, and was not allowed to return to work until she got care and was cleared as “safe” around children. Jaz did not qualify for unemployment benefits because she still had a job and now faced eviction and homelessness for the first time in her life. Jaz enrolled in our Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program and with the help of Yolanda, her Case Manager, developed a plan that included enrolling with the VA for treatment and care, and submitting a VA claim for disability. Jaz was reluctant at first, but after a healthy discussion on her trauma with Yolanda, she was able to get help with rent and utilities until she could return to work. We also connected Jaz the NM Department of Veteran Services field representative who helped her submit a VA claim for disability. Sexual trauma is one of the most challenging issues for Veterans to seek assistance for, but as Jaz saw help as a positive tool, she was able to avoid homelessness and seek treatment that helped her regain control of her life. After several months of care and VIC help, Jaz was able to find a part-time job, received a disability rating from the VA, and has continued her treatment so that sexual trauma was not something she now saw as embarrassing or debilitating in life. She came and thanked her new VIC family for the encouragement and support, and continues to thrive without the shame that controlled her life in the past.
If you (or someone you know) experienced military sexual trauma, you (they) are not alone. There are resources that can help and offer support for survivors. The VA has resources available to assist in recovery. Go to mentalhealth.va.gov/msthomefor more resources, or call the VIC at (505) 296-0800.
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