Traumatic Brain Injuries and Sexual Trauma Study Finds Risk Factors
A new study conducted by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) identifies mental illness and sexual trauma as major factors associated with an increased risk of homelessness among veterans.
According to the study:
About 3.7% of all veterans experienced homelessness in the five years after leaving the military;
Those that experienced homelessness were, on average, younger, and enlisted at a lower pay grade;
Most significantly, mental disorder is the strongest predictor of homelessness among the veterans population;
More than half of all homeless veterans had been diagnosed with a mental disorder before leaving the military, and the rate of diagnosis increased to more than 80% by the end of the study period in 2010, about twice the incidence rate found among non-homeless veterans; and
The majority of those diagnosed with mental disorders were diagnosed before they became homeless.
And among female veterans experiencing homelessness:
Receipt of treatment related to military sexual trauma (MST) was three times higher than among non-homeless veteran females;
Approximately 29% of non-OEF/OIF homeless female veterans and 34% of OEF/OIF homeless female veterans received treatment related to MST from the VA health system; and
Among non-homeless female veterans, only 5% and 9% received MST related care, respectively.
The study used data from the Department of Defense and the VA to estimate the incidence of homelessness among veterans. The study focused on about 300,000 veterans, ages 17 to 64, who accessed the Department of Defense or Veterans Affairs health care system after leaving the military, and who had never experienced homelessness before entering military service.