For Immediate Release
Contact: Miles Migliara
National Communications Manager
AMVETS National Headquarters, August 27, 2019 – AMVETS National Headquarters released a new online tool developed to illustrate the experiences women service members face while in uniform and once separated from the military. The journey map is designed to help users better understand the unique challenges associated with the women veteran experience, from induction to end of life.
AMVETS HEAL Team, the journey map’s creators, hope to equip advocates and program administrators with a better understanding of how cumulative hardships that women veterans face might explain the rise in suicide among them. Last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported that women veterans were nearly twice as likely to take their own lives when compared with non-veteran women of the same age. The Women Veteran Journey Map, unveiled at the AMVETS National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, was conceptualized around input from roundtable discussions, meetings with legislators, and one-on-one engagements with women veterans in need of critical assistance through the organization’s HEAL Program.
HEAL team leader, Chief Medical Executive Cherissa Jackson, a retired U.S. Air Force combat nurse who served during Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, said, “Women who serve are statistically more likely to face a range of issues from sexual trauma to homelessness to domestic violence, among other well documented concerns.” She continued, “However, the importance of protective factors like a strong support network, career coaching, and financial literacy early in their careers are variables that get overlooked yet contribute to how successfully a woman in uniform is able to deal with issues she later faces. Our journey map takes a phase-by-phase approach in the experience continuum to account for the obvious as well as the hidden factors that impact wellness.”
The women veteran experience continuum is divided into seven distinct phases in a typical military career. Each phase overlays the challenges a woman veteran often experiences, starting from the moment of induction and occurring along key milestones in the journey. Jackson said she hopes the journey map will help both women veterans and those who want to help them.
“Many programs for women veterans approach issues such as homelessness and post traumatic stress as standalone problems. But these problems don’t originate or linger in a vacuum,” said Jackson. “Without solutions that begin with a contextual understanding of how many of these issues interrelate to or were caused by less-obvious concerns, perhaps years earlier, it’s difficult to achieve sustainable outcomes that actually heal wounds, not simply cover them with bandaids.“
The AMVETS Women Veteran Journey Map can be viewed below, while a print version can be found at https://amvets.org/sheroes-on-the-move.
AMVETS, which is also known as American Veterans, is the most inclusive Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization open to representing the interests of 20 million veterans and their families. We are veterans serving veterans since 1944.