Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Mental health a key topic of discussion for policymakers in North Dakota

BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) – Anyone can find themselves facing a mental health crisis. Mental health issues are common and can be caused by the losses people have experienced during the pandemic, fueled by declining physical well-being or exacerbated by substance abuse. The CDC reports that the number of people seeking services for mental health issues has increased over the past two years.

That’s why Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) met with the North Dakota Mental Health Counseling Association on Thursday in an effort to learn how to better provide services to those in our state.

Armstrong says his grandmother was the head of the North Dakota Mental Health Association for 20 years and answered a suicide hotline to help others.

“It’s something that I think, to be honest, I think North Dakota has led the way and I think society in general has moved faster than I would have thought possible in recognizing mental health and addiction as things that can be treated and not only. punished,” said Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND).

While things have changed since his grandmother’s time in terms of destigmatization and care, he says there is more work to do.

The group discussed North Dakota’s lack of access to timely care. Possible solutions included more telehealth opportunities, educational opportunities to create professional staff, and building services in tribal and rural communities.

“It’s not just the cost to the person dealing with it. It’s the spouse, or the mother, or the brother, or the sister and the days lost in the economy and all those different issues. One, if you can identify it earlier, you can treat it. And secondly, you can bring people back to being part of society,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong says more people on both sides of the aisle care about the issue.

The House passed a bipartisan mental health bill this year ( Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Wellness Act) with 402 votes in favor and 20 in favor.

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