Commentary: Nation must increase support for women veterans
By Elisa Borah
NOVEMBER 10, 2016
The election of the highest number of women into the U.S. Senate, four, is a harbinger of change to come in public policy affecting all of us. They will govern alongside one of the largest number of women elected to public office, and they will work with an increasing number of female top military leaders in our armed forces.
And with this growing influence of women, we have an opportunity to make significant progress in addressing the mental-health problems of our female veterans. Friday on Veterans Day, as we thank, recognize, and honor our veterans, we must address the hard realities that many female veterans struggle with.
Of particular concern is the alarming rate of female veteran suicide. According to a recent study by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), since 2001, the age-adjusted rate of suicide among male veterans has increased 30.5 percent. In comparison, the age-adjusted rate of suicide among female veterans has increased 85.2 percent. And among veteran women ages 18 to 29, the risk of suicide is 12 times the rate of nonveteran women.
It is clear that gender-specific interventions are needed to support our female veterans. Our new female leadership in this country must respond to the challenges facing female service members and veterans.
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