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ND adopts a new approach to behavioral health | News, sports, jobs

BISMARCK – Major prevention and recovery efforts in North Dakota are being made, with the latest state investment in behavioral health services.

Many of these changes and improvements will be discussed at the Behavioral Health Conference in North Dakota in 2019, scheduled from Wednesday to Thursday in the Bismarck Events Center. A post-conference event will also take place on Friday.

The 2019 Legislature made two-year investments of $ 4 million in community support and $ 300,000 in mental health promotion.

"For the first time, we received funding from the state to develop a program for the prevention of mental illness or promotion of mental health. In North Dakota, the state has never received funding to invest in this type of program. " said Pam Sagness, director of the behavioral health division of the North Dakota Department of Human Services. "We are therefore very happy to develop this right now."

The Legislative Assembly also doubled the funding for the Parent Lead Prevention Program for the previous biennium to $ 200,000, as well as the prevention of behavioral health in schools.

Sagness said the public investments were based on the work done since 2014 to identify three key strategies to address the behavioral health needs of North Dakota.

"The first is that we have to support the whole continuum," she said. "We need prevention services available because every time you can prevent, it's better. We need early intervention services, because if you can intervene before the diagnosis is made or if the person is really sick, that's the best thing. We need treatment available and accessible for people who need it, and finally, we need recovery services. "

The second strategy highlighted the demand for local services.

With respect to community-based care, a change is to be expected with the drafting of a Medicaid Plan Amendment Project, which would provide additional support services to people suffering from addiction or mental illness. Sagness said the amendment would allow for the reimbursement of housing, employment and some transportation aids. The Medicaid dollars could fund a help for the skills of everyday life.

Other legislative actions responded to the third strategy to reduce criminal justice involvement. The Legislature has continued the Free Through Recovery program, which targets community-based treatment services for incarcerated individuals, and has expanded the program to divert people who have not yet been detained. sentenced and prevent others from ending up in the criminal justice system.

The improvement of behavioral health services comes however from increased state investment.

"We have found places where we could actually use the money we already had, but use it to produce better results or reduce barriers," Sagness said. For example, changing licensing requirements every three years instead of both reduces administrative and regulatory costs without compromising quality.

Christopher Jones, director of the state's human services department, and Sagness, along with five lawmakers, will present the changes made to the state's program during the first day of the health conference. behavioral. There will also be breakout sessions during the conference for some programs. Kirsten Baesler, Public Superintendent of Public Education, will discuss the partnership between education and the Division of Behavioral Health on the second day.

The main speakers are:

– Dan Nevins, a highly decorated soldier who was seriously injured during the fighting in Iraq in 2004 – lost both legs below the knee and suffered traumatic brain injury and emotional wounds from the war. He opens the conference with his message of perseverance, resilience and hope. He will lead a yoga class during lunch.

– Kevin Hines, best-selling author, global speaker and award-winning documentary maker, attempted to commit suicide by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in 2000. He will tell his story of hope, healing and recovery while teaching people about the # 39; art of well-being.

– Dr. Melinda Moore, Registered Psychologist and Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Eastern Kentucky University. It will explore national trends in suicide prevention and integrating suicide prevention into clinical practice.

– Ryan Sallans, a renowned transgender speaker and health and workplace author, has an impact on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer / queer communities. It will address the stress of minorities and LGBTQ identity.

– Jeffon Seely, Senior Consultant and Workshop Facilitator, talked about well-being and awareness at work.

The first day will end with a reception where participants will meet Governor Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum, legislators and policy makers from the Department of Human Services.

The conference is open to consumers and the general public. Sagness said the conference would include areas of public interest, such as a workshop on the basics of psychiatric medications and an exhibition of sellers including the anti-opioid Naloxone gift and its training.

"Much of the work we do has an impact on everyone, whether you're a consumer, a peer support specialist or a program administrator," Sagness said.

Those interested in attending the Behavioral Health Conference can register until the time of the event. Registration without an appointment will be accepted. About 500 people were already pre-registered this week, said Sagness.

There are fees for participants who are not employees of the state. For more information or to register, check out or ndhealth on Facebook or NorthDakotaBH on Twitter.

Fees are reduced for peer support specialists, who are the target audience for the conference. The specialists will be able to obtain education credits for the creation of a new certification, which should be put in place by July 1st.

The Behavioral Health Division will hold a public session on Thursday from 5pm to 6pm. in the Bismarck Event Center, Prairie Rose Room 101, to take part in the development of the certification process for state peer support specialists.

Those unable to attend the public information meeting may submit comments until 17:00. November 22 to Nicole Berman of the Department of Social Services, Behavioral Health Division, 1237 W. Divide Ave., Bismarck, ND 58501,, or 328-8949, 711 (TTY). Anyone who needs a disability adaptation to attend the public meeting should also contact Berman.

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