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Behavior & Mental Health

Benefit Category: Federal
Veterans Crisis Line

PREVENTS: Presidents Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide


The President's Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) will focus on a holistic public health approach to suicide prevention. PREVENTS seeks to change the culture surrounding mental health and suicide prevention through enhanced community integration, prioritized research activities, and implementation strategies that emphasize improved overall health and well-being.


The goal of PREVENTS is to prevent suicide — among not just Veterans but all Americans. By adopting a holistic public health approach, PREVENTS is acting on the knowledge that suicide prevention is everyone’s business, and that by working together, locally and nationally, we can prevent suicide.


PREVENTS is building on the critical successes of suicide prevention pioneers and agencies working with service members and Veterans. The PREVENTS task force is partnering with stakeholders from multiple sectors, including nonprofits, state and local organizations, Fortune 500 companies, and government leaders, to implement best practices to improve health and prevent suicide.

Learn more at: https://www.va.gov/PREVENTS/

Commissioners Challenge on Suicide Prevention

This challenge involves only 25 minutes of your time viewing a suicide prevention video, which could make a difference in the life of someone you love and adding contact information to your phone. The video was a collaborative effort between the Veterans Administration and PsychArmor Institute, designed to empower viewers with the basic knowledge of what the signs may be for someone who is struggling with the thoughts of suicide and it provides ideas on how to help.  While the video refers to Veterans, the principles are universal, so let's make a difference in North Dakota with S.A.V.E.!!

1. Add this contact information to your phone so you are prepared to help:


PHONE: 800-273-8255 (24 hour suicide lifeline) press 1 for veterans

TEXT: 838-255 to chat

IM: veteranscirsisline.net/chat

WEBSITE: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

2. Register and take the 23 minute online training.  

Military Family Homecoming

MISSION: Our mission is to provide 24/7 confidential, stigma free peer support by veterans to Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve service members, Veterans, Retirees, and their families/caregivers. Share lived experiences to create an environment of trust that demonstrates you are never alone, there is a caring, empathic voice ready to connect and follow up.

The National Guard Bureau announced the initiation of a new and confidential veteran peer support helpline for all Guard and Reserve service members on December 13, 2011. This began in part to recognize the difficulties of returning military into civilian life, the rising number of suicides in that population and a recent New Jersey soldier who took his own life while waiting for services. The death of Sgt. Coleman Bean got the attention and advocacy of the late N.J. Senator Frank Lautenberg and the action of Congressman Rush Holt. Their services help establish the program at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, a center of excellence for 18 years in peer support.

VA FARMS program trains hands, heals minds

According to VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (OMHSP), more than 60,000 Veterans died by suicide in the last decade. For those of us who serve our nation’s Veterans, that number is more than a statistic – it is a reminder that failing to address mental health needs carries real and tragic consequences.

OMHSP highlights that mental health challenges and suicide are affected by many factors, including lower income, unemployment and reduced social connection. Many of these factors are also prominent in rural communities, where Veterans have a 20% higher suicide rate than their urban counterparts.

Pilot pivots to FARMS

To address these and other challenges, in 2018 Congress directed VA to create a pilot program that provides Veterans with agricultural vocational training and mental health care services from licensed providers. In response, VA’s Office of Rural Health (ORH) partnered with several VA program offices to establish the VA Farming and Recovery Mental Health Services (VA FARMS) program at nine designated VA medical centers.

VA FARMS uses agritherapy, an approach that incorporates mental health care and services with agricultural vocational training, to support Veterans’ behavioral and mental health needs. ORH partners with a variety of stakeholders, including non-profit organizations, academic organizations and state governments to offer these services to rural Veterans. By providing occupational skills, social connection and clinical care, VA FARMS addresses several of the factors that impact rural Veterans’ overall well-being.

You can learn more about the VA FARMS program by watching the video below. We also encourage you to visit our website at http://www.ruralhealth.va.gov/ to learn more about how ORH programs support the health of rural Veterans nationwide.

VA FARMS Fact Sheet


For more information on VA FARMS, contact ORH at rural.health.inquiry@va.gov or 202-632-8615.


Community Clergy Training to Support Rural Veterans’ Mental Health educates rural community clergy on available VA health care resources and trains rural clergy to recognize common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma and readjustment issues in Veterans returning to their rural communities upon separation from military service.

Rural Community Clergy Training one-page overview

Rural Community Clergy Training implementation issue brief

Rural Community Clergy Training Webinars

First Link:

Call 211 or 701-235-7335 FirstLink assists people to identify, access, and make effective use of community and volunteer resources 24 hours a day. It’s the first link to connect people to resources.


Established by Governor Jack Dalrymple through executive order 2015-01 which establishes a coalition charged with improving collaboration and coordination on behavioral health services for service members, veterans, and their families and survivors. Updated December 2015 adding Director of the Fargo HA Health Care System by executive order 2015-05

Visit the VA Mental Health website for information and resources.

If you are in crisis, please call 911, go to your nearest Emergency Room, or call the Veterans Crisis Line available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 (Spanish/Español 1-888-628-9454). Veterans press “1” after you call.  You can also chat live online with a crisis counselor 24/7 by visiting the Veterans Crisis Line* website.

Chat online at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/

Local Vet Centers information.

Search for North Dakota resources.

There is no shame in mental illness.  Seeking help is a sign of strength and courage!

Home Base

Home Base is dedicated to healing the invisible wounds for Veterans, Service Members and their Families through world-class clinical care, wellness, education and research. As a National Center of Excellence, Home Base operates the first and largest private-sector clinic in the nation devoted to healing invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, anxiety, depression, co-occurring substance use disorder, military sexual trauma, family relationship challenges and other issues associated with service. Since inception, Home Base has served more than 15,000 Veterans and family members with care and support, trained more than 55,000 clinicians, educators and community members nationally and remains at the forefront of discovering new treatments– ensuring a brighter future for the 21st century warrior and military family.

Intensive Clinical Program: Home Base has launched the country’s first two-week Intensive Clinical Program (ICP) to treat Veterans and Families who are struggling with the Invisible Wounds of War, including Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, Military Sexual Trauma, Depression, Anxiety and co-occurring substance use disorders.

Training for Health Care Professionals, First Responders and Family Members: The Training Institute at Home Base provides healthcare professionals, first responders, military families and community member’s access to brief online, on-demand, free courses on topics such as military culture, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, substance use disorders, complicated grief and supporting suicide survivors. More in depth multi-week online courses currently include military families, traumatic brain injury and motivational interviewing. In addition the Training Institute has provided evidence-based trainings in Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD to almost 200 community providers

Contact: WWW.homebase.org 

(617) 724-5202

Make the Connection

Make the Connection is a public awareness campaign by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that provides personal testimonials and resources to help Veterans discover ways to improve their lives. Many of our Nation’s Veterans—from those who served in World War II to those involved in current conflicts—return not only with physical wounds but also mental health issues they may not recognize.

The Make the Connection campaign encourages Veterans and their families to "make the connection"— with information and resources, with the strength and resilience of Veterans like themselves, with other people, and with available sources of support including mental health treatments.

Central to this campaign is MakeTheConnection.net, a one-stop resource where Veterans and their families and friends can privately explore information about physical and mental health symptoms, challenging life events, and mental health conditions. On this site, Veterans and their families and friends can learn about available resources and support.

Powerful personal stories and testimonials are at the heart of Make the Connection, illustrating how Veterans face and overcome mental health issues and challenges. These stories and testimonials come from Veterans of all service eras, genders, and backgrounds and each of them provides a resounding and compelling example of the positive outcomes for treatment, recovery, and the many paths to more fulfilling lives.

Through Veterans’ own voices, Veterans have the chance to hear from trusted and credible sources—other Veterans like themselves. MakeTheConnection.net helps Veterans recognize that there are people out there like them who are going through similar experiences, overcoming challenges, reaching positive outcomes for treatment and recovery, and finding paths to fulfilling lives.

Moving Forward:  Overcoming Life's Challenges

Are you struggling to adjust to civilian life? Feeling overwhelmed or stressed about recent obstacles in your life? Moving Forward is a free, on-line educational and life coaching program that teaches Problem Solving skills to help you to better handle life’s challenges. It is designed to be especially helpful for Veterans, Military Service Members and their families. However, Moving Forward teaches skills that can be useful to anyone with stressful problems. Are you ready to Move Forward?

Service Dogs For America Grant available for ND Veterans with PTSD

North Dakota Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may now apply for a grant which may provide them with a specially trained Service Dog. These service dogs are trained right here in North Dakota to assist Veterans who suffer from PTSD. The dogs provide the special needs of the veteran they are to serve whether it is calming anxiety attacks, providing comfort and assurance in public settings or waking a veteran from a nightmare. PTSD service dogs have proven to greatly assist Veterans in returning to a more normal life and reintegrating back into their community. Service Dogs for America has several of these highly trained service dogs ready to be placed with a veteran in need.

To meet the minimum qualifications for a PTSD service dog the Veteran must be a North Dakota resident, have a diagnosis of PTSD, be engaged in counseling or therapy and have a doctor’s recommendation for a PTSD Service Dog. All qualified Veterans are urged to apply. The grant is made possible by the 63rd ND Legislative Assembly and private donors.

To learn more or to submit an application, visit Service Dogs for America, download the Preliminary Application, view the brochure, or contact our offices at 701-685-2242 or info@servicedogsforamerica.org

View the press release.

Click on these topics for further information:

Other available resources:

  • Sexual Assault DoD Safe Helpline:  877-995-5247Sexual Assault Support for DoD Community Welcome to the DoD Safe Helpline (www.safehelpline.org), operated by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN “we” or “us”). The DoD Safe Helpline is administered by the Department of Defense (DoD) pursuant to a contract with RAINN. Please note that Safe Helpline is intended for adult Service members in the Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve Component consistent with DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Policy as well as Coast Guard and Transitioning Service members.

    All others should contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected to your nearest sexual assault service provider.

  • DCoE Outreach Center*: The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) runs a resource center that provides information and resources about psychological health (PH), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The center can be contacted 24/7 by phone at 866-966-1020, by e-mail at resources@dcoeoutreach.org, or you can also go to DCoE Outreach Center Live Chat.

  • Military OneSource*: Military OneSource is a free service provided by the Department of Defense to Service Members and their families to help with a broad range of concerns.  It offers two types of short-term, non-medical counseling services to all active-duty, Reserve, and National Guard members and their families: face-to-face counseling and telephonic consultations.  You can access counseling services by contacting a Military OneSource consultant to determine which type would be best for you and your situation.  Call and talk anytime, 24/7 at 1-800-342-9647.

  • National Resource Directory (NRD)*: The NRD is a website for connecting wounded warriors, Service Members, Veterans, and their families with those who support them. It provides access to services and resources at the national, state and local levels to support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration. Visitors can find information on a variety of topics including benefits & compensation, education & training, employment, family & caregiver support, health, homeless assistance, housing, transportation & travel, and other services & resources. The NRD is a partnership among the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs.

  • Coaching Into Care:  Is a national telephone-based support service for family members and others who want to help reluctant Veterans access their VA health care benefits, particularly for mental health issues.  Coaching Into Care is another “door” to VA care. They provide support and problem solving assistance for family members and others concerned about a Veteran, coaching with family members about how to talk to Veterans about seeking VA care, referrals for care for Veterans and family members, and information about available programs or enrolling in VA Care.

  • Troop and Family:  Professional counselors are available 24 hours, year-round. Representatives will assist in establishing 6 free sessions with a counselor of your choice in your community.  Call 1-888-755-9355 to obtain services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • RCS Combat Call Center:  877-927-8387 (877-WAR VETS) An around the clock confidential call center where combat Veterans and their families can call to talk about their military experience or any other issue they are facing in their readjustment to civilian life. The staff is comprised of combat Veterans from several eras as well as families members of combat Veterans. 

  • NDNG Family Support:  Here to establish and facilitate ongoing communication, involvement, support, and recognition between National Guard Families and the National Guard in a partnership that promotes the best in both.  To contact NDNG family support in your area visit the NDNG Service Member & Family Support website.

  • ND Human Services:  Provides leadership for the planning, development, and oversight of a system of care for children, adults, and families with severe emotional disorders, mental illness, and/or substance abuse issues.  Visit the Division of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services website for more information.

Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health. Mental health problems, when untreated, can lead to physical health problems.

News about Behavior & Mental Health

July 7, 2020, 07:23:00 AM

WASHINGTON – The White House and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today launched the REACH national public health campaign aimed at empowering all Americans to play a critical role in preventing suicide. 

Discharge Requests

Most Veteran’s benefits require that applicants provide a copy of their Form DD 214 or discharge record, which is evidence of their veteran status. This is an important document and must be safeguarded. In the State of North Dakota separation documents are considered confidential and privileged NDCC 37-18-11 (13). National Guard members may receive a NGB22 and/or NGB23 upon obtaining 20 years of satisfactory service (20 year letter).