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Mental Health

FARGO, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs is scheduled to host a dedication ceremony designating the Hwy 281 overpass that crosses I-94 in Jamestown, North Dakota as the Hidden Wounds Veterans Overpass, at the Buffalo Mall, 2800 8th Avenue, at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 16. The ceremony will be held outdoors at the mall entrance in view of the overpass or indoors in case of inclement weather. 

The dedication ceremony is open to the public to attend.

During the 2023 session, the North Dakota Legislature passed H.B.1354 that designated the overpass to call attention to the hidden wounds suffered by the veteran and military communities who died struggling with Post Traumatic Stress, traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, and other unseen ailments due to military service. Some tragically died by suicide carrying the weight of those wounds.

The dedication ceremony is also for those currently struggling with hidden wounds and need assistance. Resource tables of information will be available after the ceremony featuring suicide prevention, Fargo VA Health Care System services, 988 and 211 FirstLink services.

In addition, the ceremony will highlight the family members of those who succumbed to their hidden wounds, or who are helping their loved ones through treatment and recovery. North Dakota acknowledges and understands their grief, anxiety, and hardship. 

The National Guard Survivor Outreach Services Program, North Dakota Suicide Prevention Coalition and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will have postvention resource information available. 

 “We are losing too many to hidden wounds,” said North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Lonnie Wangen. “Veterans who find themselves in suicidal crisis may be eligible for free emergency medical care at any Department of Veterans Affairs facility or any private facility, even for veterans not enrolled in the VA system. This includes up to 30 days of inpatient or crisis residential care and up to 90 days of follow-on outpatient care. Veterans need to know about this and other available services available to help them live free of symptoms.”

Along with the official overpass designation signs, the North Dakota Department of Transportation will install 988 Crisis Line signs on Hwy 281 and I-94 as a reminder there is immediate crisis assistance. The 988 Crisis Line is answered locally by FirstLink.

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