Discover the Importance of Self-Care for Military Survivors and the Benefits of the Safe Helpline App

It is important to prioritize self-care, especially for survivors of sexual assault and their loved ones. Unfortunately, there are many barriers to practicing self-care, particularly for those in the Department of Defense (DoD) community. That is why Safe Helpline is working to make self-care more accessible to military survivors of sexual assault with resources that can help survivors in their wellness journey.

About Self-Care

Self-care is taking deliberate actions and steps to promote mental and physical well-being. Although the effects of self-care are most effective in conjunction with clinical therapy and treatment, there are ways to engage in self-care on your own as well. Some ways to practice self-care include exercising, improving sleep strategies, spending time with friends or family or engaging in hobbies. Though it can sometimes be hard to prioritize these activities among other priorities and duties, for those managing the effects of sexual assault, self-care can be an essential part of their wellness journey.

Barriers to Self-Care

While it can be hard for anyone to find the time and space for self-care, military survivors of sexual assault face unique barriers to practicing self-care, including:

  • Privacy concerns
  • Time and geographic constraints
  • Culture of resiliency and selflessness
  • Structured work schedules
  • Fears of social or career retaliation
  • Deployment creating emotional and physical distance between military survivors and their important friend and family support systems

These barriers can augment feelings of isolation for military survivors of sexual assault and make communicating with a survivor’s support system more difficult. “By recognizing the importance of self-care, we can begin to dismantle any stigma that could prevent military survivors from focusing on their personal needs so they can prioritize their wellness” says Keeli Sorensen, RAINN’s vice president of victim services.

Self-Care Resources

One way in which Safe Helpline is working to increase access to self-care activities for those in the military community affected by sexual assault is through the Safe Helpline app. The Safe Helpline app is a free and secure mobile resource that provides military survivors with access to self-care activities such as:

  • Personalized self-care plans
  • Breathing and relaxation exercises
  • Thoughtful journal prompts
  • A digital coloring book

To learn more about the app, visit SafeHelpline.org/App or download the app for free on the App Store or Google Play.

Safe Helpline is the Department of Defense’s (DoD) sole hotline for members of the DoD community affected by sexual assault. Operated by RAINN on behalf of the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (DoD SAPRO), Safe Helpline is an anonymous, confidential, 24/7 service providing support and access to resources for military survivors of sexual assault worldwide. Members of the DoD community can access one-on-one crisis intervention support anytime via the Telephone Helpline at 877-995-5247 or online at SafeHelpline.org.

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