Rapid City Journal: By Loran Harris Loran Harris and Timothy Flaskamp, co-facilitators of the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Connections Recovery Support Group of the Northern Hills in Spearfish, would like to encourage a heroes’ welcome for the service members returning from war. “We are glad to have them coming home and want to offer them the best of care. As civilians, we do not know what these people have gone through. The trauma they have seen, the heartaches they have felt, the deeds they have had to do, the absolute devastation of war,” Harris said. “With this in their background, we feel it imperative to give these folks the best opportunity to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder at the earliest possible showing of symptoms. In order to do this, we are offering the following information that is brought to us by the National Institute of Mental Health. If your loved one shows these signs, a conversation and then contact the necessary VA Mental Health people.” Signs of PTSD: •Bad dreams •Flashbacks, or feeling like the scary event is happening again •Scary thoughts you can’t control •Staying away from places and things that remind you of what happened •Feeling worried guilty, or sad •Feeling alone •Trouble sleeping •Feeling on edge •Angry outbursts •Thoughts of hurting yourself or others PTSD can be treated. A doctor or mental health professional who has experience in treating people with PTSD can help. Treatment may include “talk” therapy, medication or both. Treatment might take 6 to 12 weeks. For some people, it takes longer. Treatment is not the same for everyone. What works for you might not work for someone else. Drinking alcohol or using other drugs will not help PTSD go away and may even make it worse. For further information concerning the VA Outreach Programs and other general information, call 1-605-956-ALLY (2559) for Matt Blake, a disabled Navy veteran and volunteer VA disability resource ally.