Fargo, N.D. – The Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) Caring Foundation began the Strike Out the Stigma initiative with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at the Tuesday, July 4, game against the Milwaukee Milkmen. Through July, BCBSND Caring Foundation will donate $50 to The Village Family Service Center for every strikeout thrown by the RedHawks at home games. The public can help by visiting bcbsnd.com/strikeout and making their own contribution.

Strike Out the Stigma donations will go to The Village Family Service Center to address mental health and other behavioral health needs in communities across North Dakota. Their licensed professional counselors provide services for individuals, children and families in person and online to improve accessibility.

“As we look at the rising trend of mental health concerns in North Dakota, we want to take action to increase accessibility and tackle the stigma of seeking help,” said Dan Conrad, BCBSND Caring Foundation Board Chair and BCBSND President and CEO. “Partnering with the RedHawks and The Village is a great way to engage the community in this effort as we work together to get more people involved to help ensure people receive the care they need to thrive.”

According to the BCBSND Caring Foundation’s Social Determinants of Health Study, mental health concerns continue to rise in North Dakota, especially for youth. The 2021 Youth Behavior Risk Survey found that 33% of North Dakota high school students felt so severely sad and hopeless every day for two or more weeks that they stopped doing usual activities. Unfortunately, as these mental health concerns rise there is a shortage of professionals to help address them. Recent tracking statistics show 46% of North Dakotans live in a mental health professional shortage area.

“It is vital for community leaders and organizations to play an active role in addressing the rising mental health concerns,” said Mallary Schaefer, Regional Program Supervisor of The Village Family Service Center. “This collaboration is a great example of how organizations can come together to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals and families struggling. I hope this initiative will inspire others to follow suit and prioritize mental health as an integral part of overall healthcare.”

To join the Strike Out the Stigma team with your donation, visit bcbsnd.com/strikeout. There, you can also learn more about the state of mental health in North Dakota and accessibility to services in the Social Determinants of Health Study. BCBSND Caring Foundation is also teaming up with the Minot Hot Tots and Bismarck Larks and will donate $50 for every one of their home game strikeouts to The Village in July.