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September is Suicide Prevention Month

What is the Don’t Wait. Reach Out Campaign?

September is Suicide Prevention Month and the VA is reminding Veterans everywhere that suicide is preventable and there is hope. In 2021, the Ad Council and the Department of Veterans Affairs partnered to create the “Don’t Wait. Reach Out.” national campaign. It encourages struggling Veterans to seek help for their life challenges before they reach a crisis point. The campaign is part of the VA’s 10 year strategy to prevent Veteran suicide through a comprehensive, public health approach designed to support Veterans across a wide range of life challenges, before these problems become too overwhelming.

Why is it important to encourage Veterans to reach out before their life challenges become overwhelming?

Suicide is preventable. According to the 2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, the suicide rate among Veterans is 52% higher than non-Veteran adults in the U.S. Although Veterans are trained to endure challenging situations, the crippling effects of stigma make it difficult for Veterans to reach out for help. For Veterans with mental health issues, the social stigma and discrimination they experience can make their problems worse, making it harder to recover. It may cause the Veteran to avoid getting the help they need because of the fear of being stigmatized.

What can I do to help prevent Veteran suicide?

  • Learn the facts about mental illness and share them with family, friends, work colleagues and classmates.
  • Get to know Veterans with personal experiences of mental illness so you learn to see them for who they are rather than their illness.
  • Do not judge, label or discriminate when you meet Veterans with mental illness.
  • Treat all Veterans with respect and dignity.
  • Everyone can be a part of the solution by checking in with Veterans who may be going through a rough time and encouraging them to reach out if they need help.

What resources are available?

1)At you will find social media content on suicide prevention.

2)Visit for more information on how to communicate about suicide.

3)Call. If you or someone you know is having thoughts about suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free confidential support available 24hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 988 then press 1

4)Text 838255 for free confidential support from the Veterans Crisis Line.

5)Chat online at



Q: How will a toxic exposure screening help Veterans?

A: Every enrolled Veteran will receive an initial toxic exposure screening and a follow-up screening every five years. Veterans who are not enrolled, but who are eligible to enroll, will have an opportunity to enroll and receive the screening. Veterans will be asked questions about potential exposure to an open burn pit or other hazards and symptoms commonly associated with military environmental exposure. These questions will help the VA health care providers individualize health care services and improve health outcomes and patient exposure. This will also help the VA identify other potential risks for Veterans and inform them of future policy decisions.

Q: What does toxic exposure include?

A: There are 5 types of possible exposures including:

  1. AIR POLLUTANTS: Burn pits, oil well fires, sulfur fires, sand, dust and particulates.
  2. CHEMICALS: Agent Orange, other herbicides, burn pits, Camp Lejeune water supplies, pesticides, depleted uranium, chromium, and industrial solvents.
  3. RADIATION: Nuclear weapons testing, x-rays, and depleted uranium.
  4. WARFARE AGENTS: Chemical warfare agents, nerve agents, mustard gas, herbicide tests, and storage of these agents.
  5. OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS: Asbestos, lead, fuels, industrial solvents, radiation, vibration, noise, special paint on military vehicles, some coolants, and insulating fluids.

Q: What is the Burn Pit Registry?

A: The VA Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry aims to help the VA better understand potential health effects of exposure and proactively identify any health concerns that Veterans can discuss with their health car providers for follow-up care.  Veterans deployed to Southwest Asia or Egypt after August 2nd 1990 or Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, or Uzbekistan on or after September 11, 2001, are eligible to participate in the Burn Pit Registry. Participation is voluntary and . exposure to specific airborne hazards or having related health concerns is not required to participate in the registry. Veterans can register online at:

Q: How is health care expanding to help Veterans get the VA health care that they need?

A: Health Care Eligibility is expanding to include 3 categories of Veterans who may not have been eligible before.

  1. CATEGORY 1: Veterans who participated in a toxic exposure risk activity (as defined by law) while serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.
  2. CATEGORY 2: Veterans who were assigned to a duty station in (including the air space above) certain locations during specific periods of time:
    1. On or after August 2, 1990, in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, or the United Arab Emirates.
    2. On or after September 11, 2001, in: Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Uzbekistan, or any other country determined relevant by the VA.
  3. CATEGORY 3: Veterans who deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Inherent Resolve, or Resolute Support Mission.

Q: How can a Veteran apply for this expanded VA health care?

A:There are 4 ways to apply for VA health care.

  1. Call the toll-free hotline at 877-222-8387 M-F 8:00am-8:00pm EST
  2. Apply Online at:
  3. Bring a completed, signed VA Form 10-10EZ to the Fargo VA Medical Center
  4. Make an appointment at the Traill County Veterans Service Office 701-430-7059.


Q: How does the PACT Act connect to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?

A: Contained in the PACT Act, Section 804, was a provision entitled the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 which will have a profound effect on our veterans and their dependents who suffered ill effects caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Those who served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in North Carolina, may have had contact with contaminants in the drinking water. Medical evidence has shown an association between exposure to these contaminants during military service and development of certain medical conditions later in life.

Q: What was in the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune?

A: Two of the on-base water wells that were shut down in 1985 were found to contain the following chemicals: Trichloroethylene (TCE), Perchloroethylene (PCE), Benzene, Vinyl Chloride, and other Various Compounds.

Q: What are the medical conditions identified?

A: Aplastic Anemia, Bladder Cancer, Breast Cancer, Esophageal Cancer, Female Infertility, Hepatic Steatosis, Kidney Cancer, Leukemia, Liver Cancer, Lung Cancer, Miscarriage, Multiple Myeloma, Myelodysplastic Syndromes, Neurobehavioral Effects, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Renal toxicity, and Scleroderma

Q: What are the possible dates of exposure?

A: The threshold requirement is the individual(s) had to be exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune for a period of not less than 30 days at any time between August 1,1953 and December 31, 1987.

Q: What documentation is needed?

A:  Documentation proving housing at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for at least 30 days from August 1953 through December 1987 (like utility bills, base housing records, military orders, or tax forms), and medical records with one of the medical conditions listed above (as well as the date the illness was diagnosed and current treatment or treatment in the past for the illness) And any evidence of paid health care expenses for the identified medical condition. Also, a copy of the DD214 showing that the discharge was not a dishonorable discharge.

If you have qualifying service at Camp Lejeune and a current diagnosis of one of the conditions along with the necessary documentation, please contact your local Traill County VSO Office for assistance at 701-430-7059.

Mortgage, Rent & Utilities Assistance for Veterans

1)AIR FORCE AID SOCIETY: Provides emergency assistance and education support. Incorporated in 1942, Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) is an official charity for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force.

P.O. Box 2208
Arlington, VA 22202

Phone: 703-972-2650

2)AMERICAN LEGION: Provides Temporary Financial Assistance to help meet the need for shelter, food, utilities and health expenses.

Phone: (202) 861-2700 & (317) 630-1330

3)ARMY EMERGENCY RELIEF: Provides grants, interest free loans and scholarships to promote readiness and relieve financial distress of soldiers and their families.

2530 Crystal Drive

Suite 13161, 13th Floor

Arlington, VA 22202

Phone: 866-878-6378

4)COMMUNITY ACTION OF NORTH DAKOTA: Provides supportive services for Veteran families.

3233 South University Drive

Fargo, ND 58104

Phone 701-232-2452

Toll-Free 800-726-7960

Fax 701-298-3115

5)NAVY-MARINE CORPS RELIEF SOCIETY: Provides emergency travel interest free loans, quick assist loans, financial assistance and education, visiting nurses, and disaster relief.

875 N. Randolph St. Suite 225
Arlington, VA 22203

Call our headquarters at (800)-654-8364

6)NORTH DAKOTA HOUSING: Provides homeowner and renter assistance.

2624 Vermont Avenue
PO Box 1535
Bismarck, ND 58502-1535

800/366-6888 (TTY)

7)SUPPORTIVE SERVICES FOR VETERAN FAMILIES: Provides housing stability among very low-income veteran families who reside in or are transitioning to permanent housing.

3233 South University Drive

Fargo, ND 58104

Phone 701-232-2452

Toll-Free 800-726-7960

Fax 701-298-3115

8)USA.GOV: Provides rental assistance, unemployment benefits, financial aid for students.

Phone: 1-844-872-4681

9)VA HOME LOANS: Provides home loans to help Veterans, service members, and their survivors to buy, build, improve, or refinance a home. You’ll still need to have the required credit and income for the loan amount you want to borrow. But a Veterans home loan may offer better terms than with a traditional loan from a private bank, mortgage company, or credit union.

Phone: 1-800-698-2411

10)VFW UNMET NEEDS PROGRAM: Provides America’s military families who have run into unexpected financial difficulties as a result of deployment or other military-related activity or injury. The program provides financial aid grants of up to $1,500 to assist with basic life needs in the form of a grant – not a loan – so no repayment is required. To further ease the burden, we pay the creditor directly.

406 W. 34th Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64111
Phone: 816.756.3390

11)WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT: Provides emergency financial assistance to registered and approved warrior households for some, but not all, situations. A warrior household may be eligible for a one-time financial grant only when all other options have been exhausted. Requests for assistance can usually be fulfilled in two business days, and all payments will be made to a third party.

Call the Resource Center at
888.WWP.ALUM (997.2586)
or 904.405.1213

Monday – Friday 9 am – 9 pm EST



Why is the PACT Act important to Veterans?

The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. This law helps provide generations of Veterans—and their survivors—with the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.

What is the full name of the Act?

The full name of the law is The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.

When did the PACT Act pass?

The PACT Act officially passed the U.S. Senate on Tuesday August 2nd, 2022 with a final vote of 86-11. 

What are new locations and dates that are now considered a presumptive exposure to burn pits?

****On or after September 11, 2001, in any of these locations:

  • Afghanistan
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Uzbekistan
  • Yemen
  • The airspace above any of these locations

****On or after August 2, 1990, in any of these locations:

  • Bahrain
  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • The airspace above any of these locations

Who is eligible for the special one year enrollment period for VA health care?

Veterans who were discharged or released between September 11, 2001 and October 1, 2013 and have not enrolled in VA health care before are eligible to receive care and enroll during the special one year enrollment period. Veterans may get free VA health care for conditions related to service for up to 10 years from the date of the most recent discharge or separation. A Veteran may  enroll at any time during this period and get care but  may owe a copay for some care.

When does the special one year enrollment period for the expanded VA health care begin?

The special enrollment period is starts October 1, 2022 and extends through October 1, 2023.

How do I enroll in the VA Health Care System?

Veterans may call 1-800-698-2411 (TTY:711) or go online to:


NEW NUMBER: Dial 988 then press 1

OLD NUMBER: 1-800-273-8255 then press 1

TEXT: 838255


Beginning JULY 16th, 2022, in response to the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act designating the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, the Department of Veterans Affairs has made it more user friendly to access the Veterans Crisis Line.

“During a crisis, every second counts,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “This new, shorter number makes it easier for Veterans and those who care about them to reach lifesaving support without having to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care.”

Reducing Veteran suicide is the top clinical priority for the Department of Veterans Affairs and a top priority for the Biden-Harris administration. Enhancing suicide prevention crisis services is a key component of the White House strategy on reducing Veteran suicide as well as President Biden’s comprehensive strategy to address the country’s national mental health crisis.

VA operates the Veterans Crisis Line through the 988 Lifeline’s national network and thus collaborated to accomplish the successful transition. During two years of preparation, the department has added hundreds of crisis line employees and responder staff, with still more hiring underway, and has strengthened call center infrastructure.

The Veterans Crisis Line is a critical component of the nation’s largest integrated suicide prevention network. It links to more than 500 suicide prevention coordinators across the VA health care system, ensuring coordination into follow-up services as part of a full continuum of care.

Individuals who call the Veterans Crisis Line are five times more likely to have less distress and less suicidal ideation from the beginning to end of the call.

If you or a Veteran you know is experiencing any of the following warning signs, contact the Veterans Crisis Line immediately: Dial 988 then press 1.

  • Appearing sad or depressed most of the time
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings
  • Feeling as if there is no reason to live
  • Feeling excessive guilt, shame, or sense of failure
  • Rage or anger
  • Engaging in risky activities without thinking
  • Increasing alcohol or drug misuse
  • Losing interest in hobbies, work, or school
  • Neglecting personal welfare and appearance
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Showing violent behavior, like punching a hole in the wall or getting into fights
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Getting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, or writing a will.

CLOSED July 18th- 22nd 2022

The Traill County Veteran Service Office will be closed from Monday July 18th- Friday July 22nd 2022

Fargo National Cemetery Open House

The National Cemetery Staff at Fargo National Cemetery and Fort Snelling National Cemetery Complex invite you to attend a Fargo National Cemetery Open House on Thursday, July 28, 2022 from 2:00PM to 4:00PM.

This open house is open to Veterans, Veteran Families, Veterans Service Organizations, Funeral Directors and all other interested stakeholders.

This will be organized as an information booth experience.  Booths will cover subjects such as: eligibility, benefits, services, burial operations, and other information. 

Please forward this invite to all who may be interested.

Who: All interested stakeholders (Veterans, families, VSOs, Funeral Directors, etc)

What: Information on the Fargo National Cemetery

Why: Outreach to the community

When: Thursday, July 28, 2022 from 2:00PM to 4:00PM


Fargo National Cemetery

8709 40th Ave. N, County Road 20

Harwood, ND 58042

We hope you will be able to attend!

Traill County ND 4th of July Parade 2022

4th of July Parade 2022
4th of July Parade 2022 Traill County ND