Mental Health Service Preferences and Utilization Among Women Veterans in Crisis: Perspectives of Veterans Crisis Line Responders

  • Virginia KotziasEmail author
  • Charles C. Engel
  • Rajeev Ramchand
  • Lynsay Ayer
  • Zachary Predmore
  • Patricia Ebener
  • Gretchen L. Haas
  • Janet E. Kemp
  • Elizabeth Karras


Women military veterans are at increased risk of suicide compared to non-veterans, but little is known about the mental health service preferences and needs of women veterans in crisis. This study used qualitative, secondary source key informant interviews to ascertain the experiences of women veterans in crisis from 54 responders working at the Veterans Crisis Line. Responders indicated that women veterans reported different experiences with Veterans Administration (VA) and non-VA care, though drivers of satisfaction or dissatisfaction were similar. Availability of specialty care, sensitivity to veterans’ issues or Military Sexual Trauma, strong provider relationships, and continuity of care contributed to satisfaction; lengthy appointment wait times, limited service options, and insensitivity to veterans’ issues contributed to dissatisfaction. Responders suggested that barriers limiting VA access for women veterans are perceived as similar to non-VA care. Findings suggest that caller experiences with providers drive satisfaction with VA and non-VA mental health services.



The authors wish to acknowledge Kendra Wilsher for her administrative contributions to this project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures were approved by RAND’s Institutional Review Board.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.






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Copyright information

© National Council for Behavioral Health 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RAND CorporationArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.RAND CorporationBostonUSA
  3. 3.RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA
  4. 4.VISN 4 MIRECC, Department of Veterans AffairsPittsburghUSA
  5. 5.VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide PreventionDepartment of Veterans AffairsCanandaiguaUSA

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