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Behavioral Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. North Dakota Health and Human Services is raising awareness about the importance of mental health and sharing resources that can help North Dakotans improve their overall health and well-being. 

About one in five North Dakota adults age 18 and older have experienced mental illness in the past year, 1 and more than one in three North Dakota high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for more than two weeks in a row in the past year.2 

“Mental health is as essential as physical health no matter a person’s age,” said HHS Behavioral Health Executive Policy Director Pamela Sagness. “Normalizing the conversation about mental health empowers people to talk and get the help they need. Mental illness is treatable, and people can and do live fulfilling, productive and happy lives.” 


988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 

North Dakotans can call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org/chat if they are having thoughts of suicide, a mental health or substance use crisis, emotional distress or if they have concerns for a loved one who may need crisis support. Calls and chats are answered 24-hours a day/seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. Learn more at hhs.nd.gov/988.  

To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month, the state is launching a multi-platform digital 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline awareness campaign with the message Here to Listen. Here to Help. The campaign targets multiple audiences and encourages people to call, text or chat anytime for crisis support. 


Mental Health Program Directory 

Last fall, HHS launched a Mental Health Program Directory to better connect North Dakotans to mental health services. The directory lists mental health programs by location, population served, type of mental health specialty and treatment and interventions options. People can also search for programs that are either in-person or offered by telehealth. 

To date, 182 organizations are registered in the directory offering services at 232 locations in the state. Learn more at hhs.nd.gov/behavioral-health/directory


Treatment Options 

The agency’s eight regional human service centers offer community-based behavioral health treatment services, walk-in assessments, crisis services and referrals services. To find services and recovery support, visit hhs.nd.gov/behavioral-health/find-services.  


Economic Assistance Programs  

Having economic stability can support a person’s mental health and is a foundation of well-being.  

HHS has a variety of economic assistance programs to help qualifying North Dakotans who may be struggling to make ends meet. These include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, WIC, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, child care assistance and other programs. To learn more, visit hhs.nd.gov/applyforhelp


Other Support - Open Dialogue 

If a friend or family member is showing signs of a mental health problem, individuals can try asking these questions and actively listen to their responses: 

  • I've been worried about you. Can we talk about what you are experiencing? If not, who are you comfortable talking to? 
  • What can I do to help you to talk about issues with your parents or someone else who cares about you? 
  • What else can I help you with? 
  • I am someone who cares and wants to listen. What do you want me to know about how you are feeling? 
  • Who or what has helped you deal with similar issues in the past? 


For more behavioral health resources, visit hhs.nd.gov/behavioral-health.  


The department’s Behavioral Health Division is responsible for reviewing and identifying service needs and activities in the state's behavioral health system to ensure health and safety, access to services and quality services. It also establishes quality assurance standards for the licensure of substance use disorder program services and facilities and provides policy leadership in partnership with public and private entities.

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