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September 12, 2012 06:02 PM

Workshops Help Vets Transition After Deployment

Rapid City, SD

Two upcoming workshops will help teach how everyday people can help make the transition easier for service-members returning from deployment.

A deployment can keep servicemen and women away from home for over a year at a time.  But for many, the challenges don't stop when they get back stateside.

"Thirty-seven percent of them are coming back with signs and symptoms of PTSD or traumatic brain injury, and over 50 percent of them are coming back with a higher level of mental stress. Those are things that these individuals are facing when they get home, and sometimes just being able to talk with a safe person can save their life," Welcoming Them Home workshop presenter Dr. Bill Meirose said.

Those aren't the only issues confronting many returning troops.  Some struggle to find where they fit in with their families and society.

"It's about finding their new normal. Things that may not have bothered them before they deployed may now trigger points for them," Welcoming Them Home workshop presenter Tokie Morgan said.

Thursday's workshop at First Congregational Church in Rapid City will help people realize ways that they can help make the transition easier for troops returning from deployment.

"Understand that they're coming from a very high-anxiety level, their senses are on hyper-awareness all the time, and it takes time to reintegrate," Morgan said.

Along with patience, the workshop will also highlight warning signs that define someone who is struggling.

"If you're real close with an individual, what's different about them? Is there something different?  Are they being quiet about some things?  And do your best to see if you can't get them to open up or get them to some help that's available for them," Meirose said.

They're little things that can make a huge difference in a soldier's life.

The workshop is sponsored by the Association of Christian Churches of South Dakota and is open to the public. It will go from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  There is another workshop scheduled on September 20 in Sioux Falls.

For more information visit the Association of Christian Churches of South Dakota's website.

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