Community leaders from the City of Langdon will officially partner with the North Dakota Cares Coalition (ND Cares) in an effort to broaden support to service members, veterans, families, and survivors.
By Melissa Anderson
Members of the American Legion Post #98 will serve as the community representatives in a statewide network dedicated to educating residents about potential needs and challenges faced by those who have served and to honor current and former military members.
“After hearing about the program, I felt it was something the City of Langdon could be a part of. We have a great support team with the American Legion Post 98 in Langdon, and they were more than happy to help be a part of this program,” Langdon City Auditor RoxAnne Hoffarth said.
Hoffarth first heard about the ND Cares Coalition recently at a League of Cities Conference that was held in Bismarck. The ND Cares was started in May of 2013 after a team from North Dakota attended a policy academy held by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The ND Cares Coalition was officially established to assist North Dakota service members, veterans, families, and survivors in January of 2015, when former North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple signed an executive order. Gov. Dalrymple also included funds in his 2015-2017 executive budget to help expand the coalition’s work and fund its future initiatives. One of its goals is to partner with all communities in North Dakota – both large and small – to ensure that those who have served, their families, and survivors receive the care and assistance they need.
“We have brochures here at city hall and around the community,” Hoffarth said.
The mission of the ND Cares is strengthening an accessible, seamless network of support that includes more than 40 civilian and military professionals dedicated to the care and support of North Dakota service members, veterans, families, and survivors.
“ND Cares is a statewide coalition dedicated to improving understanding of the needs and services required by our heros who should be able to access them close home,” ND Cares said.
In the state of North Dakota, there are 56,770 veterans which makes up 11 percent of the state’s population. The number of North Dakota service members deployed since 9/11 is over 10,000, many of which have families whose lives reflected the unique demands of military life, such as separation, risk of injury or death of the service member, and, of course, military deployments. These facets of life for military members and their families can take a significant toll leading to issues that require assistance.
One priority for ND Cares is behavioral health. Behavioral health is defined as a state of mental/emotional being and/or choices and actions that affect wellness.
“Experts estimate that by 2020, mental health and substance abuse disorders will surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability worldwide,” ND Cares states.
Behavioral health services focus on: promotion of emotional health, preventions of mental health disorders, prevention of mental health disorders, prevention of substance use disorders, and treatment and recovery support.
While behavioral health is a priority for ND Cares, the coalition is also focusing efforts to have more community support events. One of the requirements for cities to join the ND Cares coalition is to host at least one annual activity that supports service members, veterans, families, and survivors. For Langdon, the American Legion Post #98 will be in charge of that aspect.
“The American Legion already has two great events that honors service members, Veterans, families and survivors so this helps us make the requirements for the program. I’m hoping we can put together other events as well,” Hoffarth explained.
The ND Cares committee for Langdon will be composed of American Legion Post #98 members Tony Phillips, Harvey Metzger and Leon Hiltner.
“Tony Phillips has been more than excited about the programs and seems to have many of the American Legion members excited about it, also,” Hoffarth shared.
For more information about the ND Cares Coalition or if you are interested in assisting, please contact Langdon City Hall at 256-2155 or check out the ND Cares website at www.ndcares.org.