Published On: April 29th, 2021|732 words|2.5 min read|
VA is committed to supporting Veterans who experienced military sexual trauma. VA uses the term “military sexual trauma” (MST) to refer to sexual assault or sexual harassment that occurs during military service.
People who have experienced MST are of all ages, gender identities, sexual orientations and branches of service.
Use our Finding Inspiration tool for additional support as you work through recovery.
If you experienced MST, VA wants you to know: We believe you – and we believe in you. That’s VA’s core message for Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2021. No matter how long it has been, you can still continue healing and taking small, positive steps forward in your recovery.
You are not alone: The Beyond MST mobile app can help
The new Beyond MST mobile app is a free and easy to use self-care resource designed specifically to support MST survivors’ healing and recovery. If you’re experiencing challenges, want extra support or are struggling to feel seen and understood, Beyond MST can help.
Dr. Amy Street, one of the project leads from the National Center for PTSD said, “We created this mobile app specifically for Veterans who experienced MST. It was designed to help with common concerns among MST survivors and we hope Veterans see it as a supportive resource for their recovery journey.”
Beyond MST is private and convenient. You do not need to create an account or add identifying information to use the app, and it is not connected to your VA records. Any personal information that you enter into the app stays on your device and is not shared with anyone unless you choose to do so.
You can also set a passcode for additional security.
Take meaningful steps forward
Beyond MST can help you choose meaningful steps and learn new skills. For example, it includes tools to help you build a support system and strengthen relationships. Both are vital for most survivors in their recovery.
If you’re feeling alone or like no one else understands, you can read and save stories of hope from other survivors in the Finding Inspiration tool. The app can even help you prioritize your health and wellness by helping you make a personalized plan for self-care.
It also includes important information on how MST can impact your well-being and how to find additional support. Finally, you can set goals and track your progress over time, which can help you stay motivated.
There are many ways of healing. Beyond MST offers a menu of features to choose from that can help with a variety of mental and physical challenges.
You can use Beyond MST at any stage of your recovery journey, either on your own or while in treatment. Dr. Chris Skidmore is part of VA’s national MST Support Team. Skidmore wants Veterans and survivors of sexual assault to know that, “VA is committed to helping survivors recover from experiences of MST. We hope the app helps you build on your own strengths and preferences as you continue to heal.”
Please know that MST is never your fault and you are not alone. Healing is possible, and VA stands ready to help any Veteran who has experienced MST and needs additional support. Download Beyond MST today to learn more and continue on your journey of recovery.
To learn how to access VA services, call your local VA medical center and ask to speak with an MST Coordinator or talk with your existing VA health care provider.
For more information on trauma and PTSD recovery, visit: ptsd.va.gov.
If you are in crisis and need immediate assistance, connect with the Veterans Crisis Line 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1, texting to 838255, or chatting online at net/Chat. You will reach a caring, qualified VA responder – many of them Veterans themselves.
The Beyond MST app is a collaboration between the VA National Center for PTSD’s Women’s Health Sciences Division and Dissemination & Training Division, and VA’s National MST Support Team.
Katherine Juhasz, MS, is a health science specialist for the National Center for PTSD, Dissemination & Training Division. She focuses on the development of educational resources for Veterans, VA staff and the general public.