In the US military are less likely to become officers and therefore more likely to suffer serious injuries. BIPOC continue to be less likely to attain the highest levels of promotion, with women receiving even fewer slots.
Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)
When navigating the military justice system, BIPOC individuals often face the daunting reality of all-white juries. This prevailing circumstance raises concerns about potential bias and disparities in sentencing. The system has been criticized for its alleged propensity to mete out more severe penalties. Furthermore, the Department of Defense currently lacks a specific category for hate crime charges. As a result, there is a significant gap in our understanding of the prevalence of hate crimes within the military, as well as the actions taken against those found guilty of such offenses.
“In interviews with the Associated Press, current and former enlistees and officers in nearly every branch of the armed services described a deep-rooted culture of racism and discrimination that stubbornly festers, despite repeated efforts to eradicate it.”
After transitioning from military service, BIPOC veterans are disproportionately affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Not only are they more susceptible to this mental health condition, but they also face a myriad of challenges within the VA healthcare system. These veterans frequently lodge complaints about the lack of timely and suitable care available to them.
Recent studies have shown that veterans, in general, are at higher risk of suffering from PTSD compared to the broader population. They also encounter unique barriers when seeking adequate treatment1. Furthermore, research suggests that many veterans with PTSD continue to experience stressful events that may prolong or exacerbate their condition.
Disturbingly, veterans with PTSD are approximately 60% more likely than their counterparts without PTSD to have involvement with the justice system3. This statistic further underscores the vital need for accessible, effective mental health services for our veterans.
The VA does offer resources such as one-to-one mental health assessments, PTSD-specific medication, and psychotherapy4. However, the persistent complaints from BIPOC veterans about the timeliness and appropriateness of these services indicate a significant gap between what is offered and what is effectively delivered.
Ultimately, it's crucial that our healthcare system strives to improve the quality of mental health care for all veterans, particularly those from BIPOC communities who seem to be most adversely affected.