Mental Health Counselors Now On-Site at Six Rural School Districts Across ND

It's thanks to the United Way of Cass-Clay, the Burgum Foundation and the school districts

HUNTER, N.D. — Six rural school districts in North Dakota now have mental health experts available on their campuses to assist students.

KVRR’s Danielle Church tells us how the partnership between United Way of Cass-Clay, the Burgum Foundation and the school districts will make a difference.

The expansion of mental health services is meant to accomplish two goals: increase access to students and break down barriers for parents. But the ripple effect is expected to be much greater.

Mental health therapists are available at Northern Cass, Central Cass, Kindred, Hillsboro, Milnor and Wyndmere Public Schools. That means more than 3,300 students can talk to a mental health professional right away and their parents don’t have to set aside time to drive their child to a therapist further away, who would cost more. It’s also addressing what some say is a community problem because it’s not just school supplies kids are putting in their backpacks.

“They bring in the backpack that Joe had that he felt he was the reason for his parents’ divorce, that he was the reason his mom lost her job, that he was the reason they couldn’t feed their family at night. That story isn’t just a Northern Cass story. It’s an every school story,” said Cory Steiner, Northern Cass Superintendent.

“If we can give them supports now and help them fill their backpacks with great things, that’s what turns them into productive adults,” said Ashley Krinke, elementary school counselor at Northern Cass.

First Lady Kathryn Burgum says she will be starting the YES Challenge in partnership with Gov. Doug Burgum and the Recovery Invented. The YES, or Youth Ending Stigma, Challenge which will focus on helping youth leaders eliminate the stigma around mental health and addiction.

Categories: Community, Health, Local News, North Dakota News