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South Dakota Offers Vets Health Resources

There are 72,000 veterans in South Dakota. (Lance Cheung/U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)
There are 72,000 veterans in South Dakota. (Lance Cheung/U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)
June 30, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – Advocates are encouraging South Dakotans to think about veterans this Independence Day. The state has 66 county and tribal-service officers for vets spread across South Dakota that offer information, assistance, counseling and referrals on subjects such as benefits and veteran programs.

One of the most common health concerns is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, sometimes referred to as Post-Traumatic Stress Injury.

South Dakota Secretary of Veterans Affairs Larry Zimmerman says vets should contact their local service officer or his office directly if they are seeking help.

"PTSD, or PTSI as we call it today, is an invisible injury," he says. "So, I encourage family members and veterans themselves to go in and seek the help. There is nothing but great resources available for you."

According to an annual Wounded Warriors survey from 2016, more than three-quarters of veterans self-reported suffering from PTSD. There are about 72,000 veterans in South Dakota.

Zimmerman says treatment isn't found just in a hospital or doctor's office. He says one of the most useful treatments for veterans is speaking with other veterans. They can stop in at one of the hundreds of American Legion or VFW posts and find other veterans to talk to.

"There's so many tens of thousands of us in the state that there's many, many willing to help at any given moment," he adds.

Zimmerman also encourages families to reach out to his office if they are seeking advice. He says it takes a "brave step" to look for help.

Go to for more information on local resources.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - SD