You've just spent 13 months clearing land mines. When you say `I was a SAPPER,' people on base know how dangerous your job was. In the civilian world, they have no idea. You can't tell civilians what you've gone through, sometimes not even family members.
The disconnect spills over into your marriage, too. Your wife may not want to hear about a buddy who was mortally wounded.
And if your spouse at home has made all the major decisions about finances, schools, doctors, dentists while you were deployed, you may feel out of the loop.
If you're a returning soldier, you might be having difficulty adjusting to civilian life. Because the skills that help you survive in combat, don't serve you stateside.
But rest assured: you are not alone.
safeTALK is part of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon (BTYR) program to support service men and women and their families as they adjust to civilian life.
safeTALK is part of a larger nonprofit mental health counseling agency providing telephone counseling services, specializing in crisis counseling, intervention resources and referral, based in the Twin Cities, HSI Crisis Connections, supported by donors, the United Way, Hennepin County and others, in order to provide free hotlines to residents throughout the state of Minnesota. Presenters include Traci Chur of safeTALK, Tim Lindquist, and Craig Mertz.
BEYOND THE YELLOW RIBBON
This initial safeTALK program opened March 22, 2012.
safeTALK is a mental health counseling center which operates a crisis hotline. Insight and information about recognizing and responding to signs of stress and crisis that veterans and their families may experience, as well as resources to crisis hotlines and counseling programs, are available to veterans.
HANDLING MILITARY SEPARATION, MENTAL STRESS
Beyond The Yellow Ribbon offers programs that hope to help soldiers adjust to being back home.
Part of the safeTALK program, Lindquist, a Gulf War vet, was trained as an occupational therapist in the Army, eventually moving into both prevention and restoration of behavioral health. Later as an administrator, he mobilized specialists, psych nurses, and psychologists to go where they were needed in the field to work with enlisted service men and women.
In Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2010), Lindquist was deployed to Iraq several times over a three-year period, where he worked with a combat stress control unit.
When he was first deployed to Iraq in 2003, his wife Amy was eight months pregnant. Dealing with the stress of separation was a challenge.
For Mertz, another member of safeTALK, the pain is in dealing with his veteran son's suicide. David, age 26 when he died, had been deployed twice and had already been stateside, stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. A painful back injury prevented him from regular Army work.
On military bases, soldiers can find each other at the PX or the bowling alley. But in the civilian world, you may feel isolated, as David did.
Beyond the Yellow Ribbon wants to restore service men and women and their families back to stress-free civilian life. Beyond the Yellow Ribbon wants to help, heal, and get you back into your community back home.