Women, Mental Health, & the Military

“Before the military operations in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom [OEF]) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom [OIF]), reproductive and gynecological issues dominated the medical concerns of most women in uniform. What was important to female soldiers was how to juggle family and career, with the occasional deployment to Korea, Somalia, or Kosovo, for a period of 6 to 12 months. “How do I manage with a baby? How do I figure out breastfeeding when I go to the field? How do I keep clean when the porta potties are all stinky and I’m having my period in the field? How do I deal with that?”

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the world for female soldiers has changed. Women still constitute about 15% of the military. In the US Army, women are not still assigned in technical combat units, such as infantry and artillery. However, they are definitely and clearly in combat. Women are military police and truck drivers, as well as involved in a wide range of other fields where they have to be prepared to defend themselves. In the other military services, they do have technically combat roles. Because there are no safe lines anymore and no rear areas, women are increasingly being wounded and killed, although clearly not as frequently as men.” (Crowley et al., 2011, p.704).

You can read the full chapter here: Women, Mental Health, & the Military (Chapter 44) (Crowley, et al., 2011)

Reference

Crowley, D., Bender, T., Chatigny, A., Trudel, T. & Ritchie, E.C. (2011) Chapter 44: Women, Mental Health, and the Military. Combat and Operational Behavioral Health. Available from World Wide Web: http://aumf.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/CBM-ch44-final.pdf. [Accessed: 07 April, 2018].

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