mst ribbon times Military Sexual Trauma Part 3-Resources

Military Sexual Trauma Part 3-Resources

Our last two posts have been about military sexual trauma (MST):

  1. Military Sexual Trauma Part 1 topics: Defining MST, how common is it, background and history, what to do when it happens
  2. Military Sexual Trauma Part 2 topics: Why it’s difficult to prove military sexual trauma, how the VA rates it, the process for filing a claim related to MST, providing a sexual assault emergency hotline number

Today’s post will provide a more detailed rating chart for better understanding of how the VA rates conditions that MST contributes to, such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc., and resources for victims and survivors of military sexual trauma, regardless of the VA disability or compensation outcome.

military sexual trauma

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center provides a list of information and resources for military sexual trauma.

Rating Chart

The VA rates mental health conditions under one umbrella. This chart breaks down the symptoms/severity with the correlating rating. 

Symptoms Rating 

Need to meet at least 3:

• Total occupational and social impairment
•Gross impairment in thought processes or communication (vet is unable to communicate or think clearly due to severity of psych symptoms) 
•Persistent delusions or hallucinations 
• Grossly inappropriate behavior
•Persistent danger of hurting self or others (constant reckless driving, uncontrollable anger, fights, abuse, history of 
harming self/others with thoughts of doing so or a plan to do so again)
•Intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene (vet is UNABLE to shower, brush teeth, change clothes due to severity of psych symptoms)
•Disorientation to time or place (vet is unaware of what year it is, who the president is, where they are, etc)
•Memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name 

Need to meet at least 4:

•Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood 
•Suicidal ideation (thoughts of suicide – with or without a plan)
•Obsessional rituals interfere with routine activities (OCD tendencies, will not dine out if back is to the door)
•Speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant (vet says things that are completely unrelated to the conversation, do not make sense at all, are totally out of context) 
•Near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively (feels symptoms of panic/anxiety/depression most days/nights)
•Impaired impulse control (being irritable for no reason with periods of violence, excessive spending leading to huge debt)
•Spatial disorientation (when in familiar surroundings,  forgets where they are – similar to Alzheimers)
• Neglect of personal appearance and hygiene (does not always shower, brush teeth, change clothes etc)
•Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a work-like setting)
•Inability to establish and maintain effective relationships (UNABLE to make/keep relationships with friends and/or family members


Need to meet at least 4:

•Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity
•Flattened affect (inability to experience full range of emotions; significantly reduced emotional expression)
• Circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech (includes excessive/nonessential details, unable to directly address a topic, speech that is imitative or repetitively patterned)
•Panic attacks more than once a week
•Difficulty in understanding complex commands (instructions/directions with multiple parts)
•Impairment of short and long term memory (only remembers highly learned material, forgets to complete tasks);
•Impaired judgment;
•Impaired abstract thinking (difficulty thinking about things that are not concrete or right in front of them)
•Disturbances of motivation and mood (psych symptoms cause shift in mood and motivation)
•Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships (but is still able to do so)

Need to meet at least half:

• Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal)
•Depressed mood
•Panic attacks (weekly or less often)
•Chronic sleep impairment
•Mild memory loss (forgetting names, directions, recent events)


•Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress
•OR symptoms controlled by continuous medication

•A mental condition has been formally diagnosed, but symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere with occupational and social functioning or to require continuous medication. 0%

emotions 2764936 1920 Military Sexual Trauma Part 3-Resources

Military Sexual Trauma Info and Resources

Visit the VA Military Sexual Trauma Page

  1. Having a clear understanding of what military sexual trauma is is crucial. If you haven’t already, go back and read our two previous blog posts on this topic here.
  2. The VA has a fact sheet available here.
  3. Protect our Defenders compiled a fact sheet based on the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPRO) reports from 2016-2020 here
  4. Military Times has published several articles on MST.
    • Visit to read: VA continues to struggle with military sexual assault claims: VAOIG report
    • Visit to read: How far should victims have to go to prove military sexual trauma?
Resources and Treatment Options
  • The VA provides free treatment for mental or physical conditions related to experiencing military sexual trauma. The veteran does not have to be on disability or have any claims or reports related to MST to receive or be eligible for treatment.
    • Each VA health care facility will have a military sexual trauma coordinator to help connect the veteran with care options available. You can search for the closest MST coordinator by state here or find the full list at this page.
  • Every VA medical and Vet Center, and many veteran community outpatient clinics offer services and treatment related to MST. Services include:
    • Medication evaluation and treatment, psychological assessment and evaluation, and solo or group psychotherapy
    • Counseling services
    • Mental health treatment in inpatient or residential facilities; for those needing more involved and intense care and treatment

Visit the SAFE Hotline Page Here

  • Department of Defense SAFE Hotline:
    • Chat 24/7 with a trained staff member at no cost 
    • Call 877-995-5247 to talk 24/7 on the phone with a trained staff member 
    • Information and guidance on how to report retaliation 
  • RAINN (rape, abuse and incest national network) offers support options:
    • Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) toll-free 24/7 to speak to a trained sexual assault staff member. It is anonymous, and beyond just listening, they can help provide resources, connect you with local help, etc. if asked. 
    • A live chat option
    • A mobile app for support, self-care, and information. Download at the App Store or on Google Play
self care 4778282 1920 Military Sexual Trauma Part 3-ResourcesHolistic / Self-help Tips

We highly recommend and encourage anyone who experienced any form of military sexual trauma to seek some form of professional care. Along with care from a medical professional or trained counselor, there are some things the individual can do to help with caring for themselves:

  • Eat a well-balanced and healthy diet. Increase vegetable, fruit, and water intake. Decrease processed, fried or sugary food consumption.
  • Avoid the use of alcohol. Alcohol negatively affects the body and mind’s ability to healthily process and handle symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and more.
  • Try to be physically active each day. If working out or cardio isn’t an option, try a 20 minute walk around your neighborhood or at the park. 
  • Avoid drug use or overuse. If substance abuse is an issue (regarding alcohol or drugs) reach out for more information on the VA’s substance use disorder facilities here
  • Find a safe place or person to share your experience, feelings, and concerns with. A counselor or therapist can be very beneficial, but being able to share with a trusted friend or family member can also make a difference. 
  • Don’t stay isolated. Connection is key! Join a club, group, or spend time talking or visiting with a friend to have someone in your life who you are reaching out to and staying in contact with on a regular basis. 
  • A good night’s sleep is crucial! Do your best to establish a consistent routine before bedtime to give your body the best chance of restful sleep. This looks different for everyone, but we have a ton of tips available in our blog post on better sleep for veterans!
  • Try yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises daily. It may feel awkward and difficult at first, but over time these practices will feel more natural. All 3 practices have been scientifically linked to decreasing anxiety, depression, and improved emotional health and sleep, when practiced regularly.
Connect With Our Team

Atlas Benefit Consulting can help you navigate the complexities of the VA rating and benefit process. Many veterans are underrated and not receiving the maximum benefits and compensation that they have earned and deserve. Connect now with one of our team members for a free consultation to determine if you are receiving your maximum! Read our Better Business Bureau and Google reviews here!

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