West Fargo Public Schools Working with Local Non-Profits on Increasing Mental Health Awareness

The wellness center will help students battling mental illnesses in West Fargo school

WEST FARGO, ND — The West Fargo Public School District said mental health is a growing issue among its students.

According to the North Dakota Youth Behavior survey, one in four kids in North Dakota are struggling with a mental health issue and nearly one in 10 have attempted suicide.

With the help of the West Fargo Public School District, local nonprofits and other organizations, leaders are hoping to reduce this statistic.

“As we were looking at our student youth risk behavior survey results we knew as a community we had to do more,” said Superintendent Dr. David Flowers.

The desire stemmed from seeing how well Fargo and Moorhead public school districts have done after they added similar programs.

The programs will be based on a model provided by Imagine Thriving, a local mental health non-profit, and will include specially trained social workers who will work with students suffering from depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses.

“This could be an intervention and could be incredibly powerful in order to help our students succeed,” said Kristi Huber, who is president of the United Way of Cass Clay.

The school district saw that for some students, mental illness was left unnoticed.

“Ellie seemed to be the all-American girl. She excelled in academics and sports,” read Abby Tow, who is the executive director of Imagine Thriving,

It wasn’t until the aftermath that these educators saw what was going on.

“She believed she deserved to have the hidden scars that had come from cutting,” said Tow.

“When we look at the needs that are happening in his school district, we started those conversations,” said Huber.

It’s not only for students and families, but it will also help benefit teachers as well.

“We believe we are also able to support them in their work so they can be present and available for all of the children in their classroom,” said Huber.

United Way and Sanford Health both invested $25,000 to help make all of this possible.

“We want to make sure that they have what they need so they can succeed and grow up and be great members of our community,” said Huber.

The West Fargo Public School District will start their hiring process this summer and the new wellness facilitator will begin starting in the fall of

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