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Behavioral Health

Funds still available for student behavioral health support

The North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) Behavioral Health Division is encouraging eligible North Dakota public, private and tribal elementary and secondary schools to apply for the Behavioral Health School Grant program. Special education units and school districts that billed North Dakota Medicaid during the 2022-2023 school year are eligible to apply and use the funds to enhance their behavioral health services and supports for students. Schools can learn more at www.hhs.nd.gov/education/grant-funding.

The goal of this funding is to identify and address gaps along the behavioral health continuum of care. This includes identifying prevention and early intervention services that have no other funding source, using funds to reimburse clinical or treatment services that are effective, but not currently covered services and filling gaps in service coverage for populations that do not qualify for other forms of reimbursement.

“Behavioral health is an important part of a child’s overall health and well-being, and this grant program offers a great opportunity for schools to foster a holistic environment that nurtures both the academic and emotional success of students," said Laura Anderson, Behavioral Health Division policy director.

Twenty-one school districts received grant funding following the 2021 legislative session that appropriated $3 million in grants to address student behavioral health needs such as direct mental health services from community providers, professional development for staff related to trauma and mental health, targeted case management, sensory equipment and curriculum. Support for this effort continued with the 2023 Legislature appropriating over $9 million as part of Senate Bill 2012.

Eligible schools can apply at: hhs.nd.gov/education/grant-funding

Completed applications can be emailed to kastastny@nd.gov.

To determine if a district or special education unit is eligible to apply or to view more information about the school grant program, visit hhs.nd.gov/education/grant-funding. Deadline to apply is March 31, 2024. Funds must be expended by June 30, 2024.

Questions regarding this funding opportunity can be directed to Kayla Stastny, Behavioral Health and Education Administrator at kastastny@nd.gov.

This behavioral health school grant funding is part of a comprehensive effort to enhance the state’s behavioral health system. It supports recommendations included in a North Dakota Behavioral Health study to invest in prevention and early intervention, expand community-based services and enhance and streamline the system of care for children and youth.

Other behavioral health resources for schools

All private, public and tribal school administrators, teachers and support staff can access Kognito, a free online interactive program that helps enhance their knowledge of recognizing signs of behavioral health concerns among students. Users can also learn effective conversation strategies and find out how to refer to appropriate resources, if necessary.

School professionals can complete the interactive evidence-based modules at their own pace and receive feedback in real-time. To learn more, visit hhs.nd.gov/education/kognito.

There are modules for students in grades six through 12. Students can access these student modules by visiting hhs.nd.gov/education/kognito to build confidence to start more conversations and build a positive school culture that fosters connectedness.

In addition, there are many resources free for schools and community members to support the behavioral health of children and families through the Parents Lead program at parentslead.org.

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

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