Supporting women veterans

Women who serve in the military have unique needs. They are much more likely to be single parents than their male counterparts, and childcare is a significant issue both while in the service and when they return from service. The homelessness rate for female veterans is on the rise. Employment can be a challenge as well. These financial and family struggles are often compounded by the psychological aftermath of traumatic experiences incurred in service. In addition to increasing exposure to dangerous combat situations, approximately one in five females serving in the armed forces report experiencing sexual harassment or assault, which can lead to pervasive problems with mental health and future relationships.

In 2016, there were at least 8,800 female veterans in New Hampshire. Easterseals works closely with the VA, the National Guard and human service providers throughout the state to ensure women in the military, and female military veterans, can access the support they need. Most veteran services are designed with male veterans in mind. We are committed to providing culturally competent services and supports to meet the specific needs of women who serve the nation. Easterseals conducts targeted outreach to female veterans. The Easterseals Military & Veterans Services Care Coordination team includes counselors who specialize in women’s issues, marriage and family relationships and the Military Sexual Trauma. Easterseals MVS Care Coordinators can provide and/or connect female service members and veterans to a wide range of services, including:

• Support for sexual trauma and domestic violence.

• Employment.

• Counseling.

• Housing and Homelessness services.

• Childcare resources.

• Health care.

• Legal issues.

• Substance use disorder treatment and wrap-around care.

• System navigation to help cut the red tape.

• Emergency financial assistance through Veterans Count.

Easterseals MVS Care Coordinators will meet with women veterans in their homes or at locations convenient to them. Services are free and confidential. Whether it’s help with housing or employment, linkage to health care, counseling, family support, benefits assistance, an emergency financial need, domestic violence crisis or any other need, the Easterseals MVS team stands ready to serve.

If you know a service member, veteran or military family in need, please contact Chrystn Keeley, Easterseals NH Military & Veterans Services, at 603-315-4354.

Please consider donating to Veterans Count. Veterans Count emergency financial assistance was used 567 times in fiscal year 2017. Veterans Count, the philanthropic program of ESNH MVS, provides emergency financial assistance to veterans for critical and unmet needs. Veterans Count raises awareness about the challenges that can result from military service and raises money to help address these needs. To learn more or to make a donation, visit vetscount.org/NH.

Pamela Dube is the senior director of communications for Easterseals New Hampshire.