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North Dakota Behavioral Health Division to provide grants for suicide prevention efforts

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 9:49 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The North Dakota Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division announced this week that they are opening grant opportunities to support the implementation of suicide prevention efforts. According to Sanford’s Dr. Jon Ulven, psychologist and dept. chair of adult psychology, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the issue worse.

“We can speak to the national suicide rates and we can speak to the rates here in North Dakota,” said Dr. Ulven. “To say that they’re getting worse over time and there’s some really important things that have happened. Some data that we have now to even say during the course of this pandemic, people thinking about suicide and people making suicide attempts, the rate of that behavior is going up.”

These grants are open for local governments and private organizations, community non-profits and tribal nations. There are 19 grants in total with $750,000 available for these efforts.

“Whenever the state and we got other entities that are trying to increase to care, it’s a potential win for our state,” said Dr. Ulven about the state’s initiative for suicide prevention efforts. “I think that maybe the silver lining is that the stress of the pandemic is really calling on us in the state of North Dakota to increase our I.Q. when it comes to mental health and the need to have access to mental health resources.”

The deadline for the grant application is March 5. FirstLink and the state are planning to have a new suicide prevention call number listed as 9-8-8 by July 2022.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255, and it is operated 24 hours, seven days a week.

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