Citlamina Rios

Branch: USMC

Years Served: 1994–1995

Rank: E1

Military Occupation: 3531

Hometown: Ferndale, MI

Twitter Handle: @CitlalminaRios

Tell us a little about you outside of the military:

  • After my time in the Marine Corps, I worked jobs in retail, telemarketing, and caregiving. Most of my life has been being a wife and stay-at-home mom. It was hard for me to identify as a veteran because of my short time in the Marines.
  • In 2018 I suffered what I believed was a nervous breakdown after a triggering event. I sought help at my local VetCenter and my life has changed greatly since then.
  • Currently, I am a Life Member of the Women Marines Association; with that I am my local chapter’s Chaplain.
  • I have been part of two emerging leader cohorts with Minority Veterans of America. Since accepting my title of veteran I have also put on veterans events.
  • Currently, I am a full-time student at the College for Creative Studies. My goal is to work with veterans and incarcerated youth using art as therapy.

Why are you joining the IAVA Cavalry?

  • I’m going because of my experiences with the VA surrounding my own mental health journey and women’s health issues.

How did your military experience shape you to be the person you are today?

  • It has gotten me where I am and has also taught me to persevere even when my brain is telling me otherwise.

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you believe is the most pressing? Why?

  • Alternative Therapies. There are therapies that need to be explored beyond typical medications and talk therapy. Many VA Hospitals are ill-equipped for veterans who have a hard time with talk therapy and traditional medications.

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you have the strongest personal connection to? Why?

  • See above. As a veteran with 100% service-connected PTSD with a co-morbid diagnosis, life can be hard. My conditions are medication-resistant and I know I would benefit from art therapy and possibly ketamine treatments.


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