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August 22, 2013

Local group helps soldiers fight post-war battles

CHICKASHA —

Sometimes the war doesn't end after a soldier comes home. 

Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide in the United States, Marshia Byte, Chief Operating Officer at Byte and Associates Counseling, said.

Byte and Associates Counseling in Chickasha is offering a weekly veteran support group at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays at 117 S. 7th Street in Chickasha. The cost of the group is a sliding scale based on income and ability to pay. 

"We want to make this group available to anyone who needs it," Byte said. 

Soldiers may develop post traumatic stress syndrome from being in battle, but coming home may be a shock all its own. 

A lot may have changed during the years they were serving, Byte said. This could include changes within the family, finding employment and on the job issues, drug and alcohol problems, anxiety as well as transitioning back into normalcy. 

"We decided it was a service that we needed to offer to the community," Byte said. 

Byte said that some veterans may be concerned about the stigma of counseling, but she assured that the support group and counseling is confidential. 

Byte and Associates have other services for veterans including one on one counseling as well as helping veterans get in touch with financial, employment and psychiatric resources. Starting Sept. 27, there will be a psychiatrist available at Byte and Associates as a resource for veterans involved in the support group or counseling. 

One on one counseling is available for veterans who may not be comfortable in a support group setting, Byte said. 

While the veteran's support group is strictly for veterans, Byte said they also want to reach out to at-home survivors, such as people who have lost a spouse during war, to come in for counseling. 

Byte said that Sara Riley has been instrumental in getting the group started as well as finding resources. 

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