Gov. Doug Burgum has proclaimed September as Recovery Month in North Dakota.
This month, North Dakota’s Health and Human Services agency’s Behavioral Health Division wants to raise awareness about programs and services that can support people in recovery, celebrate North Dakotans and their family members in recovery and recognize the dedicated individuals who provide the prevention, treatment and recovery support services that make recovery possible.
“There are many different pathways to recovery,” said James Knopik, addiction and prevention program and policy manager. “It’s important that our state and communities offer support for each person’s individual path to wellness.”
Programs and services that can help
The division works with many community-based agencies to provide services that can help people seeking recovery from behavioral health conditions including mental health and substance use disorders (SUD) and brain injury. Some of these services and supports include Community Connect, the SUD Voucher Program, Recovery Talk and the North Dakota Brain Injury Network.
Another resource is the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, a new three-digit number that connects people who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis to trained crisis counselors. This number was launched nationally in July. As this number continues to roll out, North Dakotans can also call 211 for crisis help. All calls are answered 24-hours a day. FirstLink is the centralized call center that answers both 988 and 211 calls in North Dakota.
The agency’s eight regional human service centers provide community-based behavioral health services to individuals with chronic, serious mental illness and addiction. Crisis response services are also available.
Emma Quinn, chair of the North Dakota Behavioral Health Planning Council, said it’s important for people to remember recovery is possible.
"Often in the behavioral health system, it feels like we only focus on symptoms, but it's important that we remember that there is life after a mental illness. Recovery takes work just like anything else, but with the right tools and coping skills, people can and do live successfully in recovery,” Quinn said.
Another element to recovery is support. Brooklyn Maxon, a social worker and member of the Tribal Opioid Response Network, said support is key to recovery.
“People experiencing mental health and substance use issues need support,” she said. “It's vital that their support system is educated and supported, as this doesn't affect just that one person. It affects everyone that is involved in their lives.”
Information about behavioral health crisis services is online at hhs.nd.gov/mental-health/crisis-services.
The 2022 Recovery Month proclamation can be viewed online at https://www.governor.nd.gov/sites/www/files/documents/proclamations/Recovery Month 2022.pdf.
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.