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Veterans Affairs secretary lauds Fargo facility's work

To veterans who may be struggling with mental health, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough issued a reminder that the VA crisis line is available by dialing 1-800-273-8255 and pressing "1."

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Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough holds a press conference Thursday, May 19, 2022, at the Fargo VA Medical Center.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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FARGO — Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough visited the Fargo VA Medical Center on Thursday, May 19, and he said he came away impressed by the center's staff and leaders.

"This is one of our really high-functioning facilities," said McDonough, who added that one of the most remarkable numbers he heard during his stop in Fargo was that the health system's trust scores among women veterans in the Fargo area are at 94%, which he called "a very high number."

He said anyone wanting to learn more about the VA's trust scores, which seek to measure patients' trust in the VA, can visit www.va.gov/trust.

McDonough said he was particularly impressed by the work being done at the Fargo VA and the Fargo Vet Center to increase access to mental health care. He said local officials are aggressively recruiting and working to retain health care professionals at a time when all health care providers are struggling to find and keep staff.

He said his message to health care professionals is that if they want to work somewhere that fosters teamwork and mutual respect, they should give the VA a close look.

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"And," McDonough added, "Congress is about to give our people a raise."

To veterans who may be struggling with mental health, McDonough issued a reminder that the VA crisis line is available by dialing 1-800-273-8255 and pressing "1."

He said as of July the VA will be going with a national 988 number that will allow veterans who are in a time of crisis to simply dial "988" for assistance.

"We anticipate the ease of that number will increase the use of the veteran crisis line. We are getting ready for that influx of calls," McDonough said.

He said even if someone is not in a moment of crisis they may still review the VA's crisis services by going to www.va.gov/REACH.

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