Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS)

Wounds of War

The Invisible Wounds of War:
Up to 1/3 of student veterans may be struggling with “invisible wounds” of war: traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, etc. These conditions can impact school performance.  These “invisible wounds” can impact the ability to concentrate and complete assignments.
A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can result from a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. The severity of the injury can vary from mild to severe. With a mild TBI there is a brief change in mental status or consciousness. A severe TBI results in an extended period of unconsciousness and possibly amnesia after the injury. Combat experience is one of the main risk factors for sustaining a TBI.  Combatants are exposed to blasts from explosions and roadside bombs. Improvements have been made to body armor and helmets to prevent the occurrence of a TBI. The likelihood of surviving blasts has increased as a result of sophisticated equipment, unlike in previous wars. TBIs often go undiagnosed because symptoms may not appear until weeks later.  It is especially difficult for strangers to detect changes in a service member’s emotional health and personality. It can often be hard to distinguish and identify between PTSD and a TBI because both share overlapping symptoms.
Military Sexual Trauma (MST)- Includes sexual assault, sexual threats, bullying, and unwanted touching or grabbing that occurred while in the military. Many of these incidences go without reporting due to possible negative ramification ie: ostracized by unit, hurt both parties potential to be promoted, and being discharged out of the military all of which are myths. Both male and females go without proper treatment, whether emotional and/or psychological. As a veteran, there are many ways to get assistance with dealing with MST. One way is through the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Also, through CSU, Chico's Safe Place, Student Health Center, and the Counseling Center. All are staffed with well trained individuals, experts in this matter. CSU Chico is committed in making a stand against sexual trauma and highly recommends to report any and all acts of sexual violence.