Department of Defense
By Shannon Collins
DoD News Features
November 24, 2015
Taylor, a Marine Corps and Vietnam War veteran who’s worked with the VA for more than 36 years and has PTSD himself, said he’s seen many positive changes in the VA for the treatment of PTSD.
Army veteran Manuel “Al” Alcantara, right, and Vietnam veteran Jim Alderman share stories beside a duck pond after a day’s therapy at the inpatient post-traumatic stress disorder clinic at Bay Pines Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bay Pines, Fla., Oct. 29, 2015. DoD photo by EJ HersomBAY PINES, Fla., November 24, 2015 — For veterans who may have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to wartime trauma or military sexual trauma, their first step is to contact their local U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Center or outpatient center.
But if veterans require more care, they can voluntarily check in at inpatient centers such as the Bay Pines VA Medical Center here.
Bay Pines has a 14-bed residential program for veterans with war-caused PTSD and a separate wing for veterans with PTSD caused by military sexual trauma.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ PTSD website, military sexual trauma, or MST, is the term used by the VA to refer to experiences of sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that a veteran experienced during his or her military service.
The definition for military sexual trauma used by the VA comes from federal law -- Title 38 U.S. Code 1720D. Under that law, MST is defined as: "Psychological trauma, which in the judgment of a VA mental health professional, resulted from a physical assault of a sexual nature, battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment which occurred while the veteran was serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training."
Sexual harassment is further defined by the law as "repeated, unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature which is threatening in character."
Bay Pines is the only VA inpatient facility that treats PTSD caused by MST, said Tony Taylor, program manager for the warzone PTSD program at Bay Pines.
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