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

Bismarck, North Dakota (KFYR) – Anyone can face a mental health crisis. Mental health problems are common and may be due to the losses people experienced during the pandemic, exacerbated by declining physical health or amplified by substance abuse. It reports an increase in the number of people seeking services for mental health issues over the past two years.

As such, Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) met with the North Dakota Mental Health Counseling Association on Thursday to learn how to better serve the people of North Dakota.

Armstrong said his grandmother was president of the North Dakota Mental Health Association for 20 years and responded to suicide hotlines to help others.

“Honestly, I think North Dakota is leading the way, and by recognizing mental health and addiction as something that can be treated, rather than just something that can be treated, society as a whole is doing more than I ever thought possible. I think we’re moving fast. We’ll be punished,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND).

Things have changed since his grandmother’s time in terms of stigma removal and care, he says, but there is still work to be done.

The group discussed North Dakota’s unavailability of timely care. Potential solutions included increasing telemedicine opportunities, educational opportunities to develop professional staff, and building services in tribal and rural communities.

“It’s not just the cost of the person handling it. It’s the spouse, the mother, or the brother or sister, and the days lost in the economy, and the various problems of all of them. If we can find it, we can treat it, and second, we can bring people back into society,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong said more people on both sides of the aisle are paying attention to the issue.

The House passed a bipartisan mental health bill this year ( Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Wellbeing Act) in a vote of 402 to 20.

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