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Sound Off, combat veterans support group at Sanford Bemidji

The Pilot-Independent - 5/3/2017

BEMIDJI - Sanford Bemidji offers a support group, Sound Off, for combat veterans. It is held from 5 to 7 p.m. the first and third Tuesday each month at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center's Conference Room A, located immediately to the right through the hospital's main east entrance. The group will meet next on May 16.

The group is free and open to men and women from all branches of service, regardless of conflict or disaster. It is facilitated by Billy Benso, United StatesMarine Corps (USMC) combat veteran, and Mike Sletta, behavioral health triage therapist at Sanford Bemidji.

The group provides members with a safe and confidential place to openly discuss personal issues and how their combat experience impacts their daily life.

"Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a condition many veterans struggle with after traumatic experiences such as combat or disaster," said Sletta. "What we want our vets to know is that it's real, you are not alone, and help is out there with groups like ours."

The support group can help veterans learn that:

Combat did change them

No matter what they do, they can't change what they've experienced

Drugs, alcohol, isolation and denial don't work as coping behaviors

With support of other combat vets, they can learn to live with PTSD

Any veteran interested in attending can simply show up at the scheduled meeting time.

Call (218) 333-5165 or 333-2582 to learn more.


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