BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — North Dakota’s Behavioral Health Division and the North Dakota National Guard have teamed up to offer early intervention programs to help reduce the risk of substance use disorders among active service members.

KX News spoke with the National Guard’s Resilience Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Amy Ruff, who says the program is available to any National Guard service member.

It’s virtual and can be completed at your own pace.

North Dakota is the first state to partner with a military branch on a program like this.

“National Guard service members in North Dakota are citizen soldiers and the experience the same type of life stressors that you and I face on an everyday basis and in addition, they have the extra privilege I would say of serving our state and our nation but along with that comes extra responsibilities and stressors associated with being in the military. We in North Dakota have a culture of alcohol use and it is reflected within our soldiers and they experience difficulties in life just like citizens throughout the state,” said Ruff.

She added there are has been 15 enrollments total and all have completed the course successfully.

If you or someone you know would like to get participate in the program, call Ruff at 701-333-3804.