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Minnesota National Guard
Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Pilot program established to help National Guard Soldiers with reintegration

With Minnesotan National Guard men and women returning from tours abroad, a pilot program to reintegrate those persons into everyday life has taken shape, poised for national implementation

"It is an amazing program," commented Dr Jim Torkildson, Site Director for Lakeland Mental Health Center in Detroit Lakes "We have participated in a variety of specialized training opportunities and have been involved in the 30 and 60 day reintegration programs that took place at Minnesota State University Moorhead ( MSUM)

The program, called "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon," is named as a reminder that the support of Soldiers cannot end when they return from deployment and the yellow ribbons are untied, remarked Torkildson

The pilot program came to be, added Torkildson, as a result of a number of key entities coming together, uniting the Minnesota National Guard, TriWest Healthcare Alliance (a private company that contracts with the Department of Defense to provide health care for Soldiers), and the Veterans' Administration to create a forum to help Soldiers returning from tours abroad reintegrate into their communities

According to a Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health report this past summer, "38 percent of Soldiers and 31 percent of marines report psychological symptoms Among members of the National Guard, the figure rises to 49 percent"

Programs such as "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" are aimed to bridge the gaps identified by the Mental Health Task Force Report through the combined efforts of military and non-military healthcare professionals

To date, about 1,500 Soldiers went through the training between 2005 and 2006, and another 2,600 who returned in July after serving in Iraq are in the process, Minnesota Deputy State Chaplain Lt. Col. John Morris said in a Minnesota National Guard News release

Talking to the Department of Veterans Affairs, mental health experts, Soldiers and missionaries, Chaplain Morris helped coordinate a new program, in which various mental healthcare specialists provide on-site consultation, referrals and training for local guard personnel returning from conflict zones

"There was no research on the reintegration of Soldiers or families "¦ nothing on how to put your life back together," Morris said in the release

A main part of the Minnesota pilot program is to gather Soldiers back together at designated 30-day increments upon demobilization, providing them information on combat stress and trauma treatment as well as available counseling services for parenting, anger management, marriage and divorce with mental health personnel on site to distribute information and explain support services being offered

The next step in "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" will be to embed healthcare specialists into the units themselves, helping them to be better able to treat Soldiers they know and have seen before

"We wanted to be able to aid our troops in getting the help they need to successfully return from their assignments, many of which were combat related, and reintegrate them into the communities from which they came," explained Torkildson, a Vietnam-era veteran himself

Now a pilot program, the VA is looking at rolling out this program across the nation, added Torkildson

Lakeland Mental Health Center (LMHC), is part of Minnesota's unique reintegration programm with Jim Torkildson EdD, LP and Eric Smemo LICSW recently attending the 60-day reintegration gathering held at MSUM on Oct 27 of this year

"We have learned a lot over the years, and this program puts many of those reintegration lessons into practice," said Torkildson "The MSUM gathering was a useful tool in helping our local National Guard successfully re-enter their daily lives"

The next "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" reintegration event, the 90-day installment of the program, will be held at Camp Ripley on Dec 14-16

"I've attended specialized training called Combat-Related Behavioral Health for this program, which was very beneficial," commented Torkildson

Since 1949, LMHC's purpose has been to help clients improve their lives and the lives of those they love In partnership with the communities in which they are located, their experienced staff includes psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family counselors, chemical dependency counselors, clinical nurse specialists and mental health counselors

"We offer traditional therapy services such a marriage counseling, parenting and anger management services through our clinic to help people and Soldiers reduce stress and strengthen personal/family relationships," said Torkildson

LMHC has locations in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Glenwood and Moorhead For more information locally, call 847-1676 The Detroit Lakes Lakeland Mental Health Center is located at 714 Washington Ave

Jackie Jenson
Article source: http://www.dl-online.com/articles/index.cfm?id=32227§ion=news

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Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.

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Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
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Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
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Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

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Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

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