BISMARK, ND (KFYR) – Most people will face mental health challenges at some point in their lives. But not everyone has access to care when they need it. Rural areas are facing a severe shortage of mental health professionals.
A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that most non-metropolitan counties have no psychiatrists, and almost half have no psychologists. Rural schools in North Dakota have a particular need for mental health counselors, educators say.
“An administrator told me, ‘We could borrow a counselor from the community miles away and work one day a week to serve all of our children.’” Carme, associate dean, Liffrig School of Family Education and Behavioral Sciences, University of Mary “He didn’t sound like enough to help the kids in his building,” said Carmelita Lamb. “
The previous North Dakota legislature required that every public K-12 school have one counselor for every 300 students. But many rural schools fall short of this threshold and have no counselors at all.
To fill this gap, Mary University received a $6 million grant from the Department of Education. Over the next five years, they will use the funding to train graduate students who hope to become mental health counselors in K-12 schools.
The program is online and free to students enrolled in the counseling program. Learn more on the University of Mary’s website.
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