Mental health needs on the rise in North Dakota during return to ‘new normal’

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 7:48 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - As more and more North Dakotans receive the COVID-19 vaccine, life in our state is beginning to settle into a “new normal,” and it might start to seem that many pandemic-related hurdles are behind us.

However, this return to normal activities can cause mental health issues like anxiety. North Dakota therapists say it’s led to an increase in need for their services.

“In the last month, we’ve gotten a lot more referrals for people seeking services,” said Jennie Cornell, Clinical Director at Summit Counseling.

NuVation Health Services Owner and Clinical Therapist Theresa Porter says there’s many reasons people are feeling uneasy.

“Even though there is more information than there was a year ago, there still is a certain level of uncertainty, which increases a person’s anxiety and fears with that,” said Porter.

This, combined with constant schedule changes can cause stress.

“People are struggling to find a new normal, really. They had a normal before the pandemic, and now it’s a completely different new normal and people are adjusting to that,” said Cornell.

While Cornell and Porter say some stress is normal during these uncertain times, it’s important to know when to ask for help.

“When you are not able to have some sort of normalcy, when it’s causing too much difficulty with your ability to sleep, when you’re not eating, if you become even more irritable, if you aren’t able to

focus, if your ability to find some enjoyment is really reduced, those are all signs that you have gone beyond the level of what would be manageable,” said Porter.

Cornell says to be patient with yourself, and return to normal activities at your own pace.

If you feel that you’re suffering from pandemic-related anxiety or depression and need help, you can find more information about NuVation Health Services at, or Summit Counseling Services at

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