Williams County grants $700,000 toward improving behavioral health services

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 11:14 AM CDT
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WILLISTON, N.D. (KUMV) - Williams County commissioners have made another large investment toward improving behavioral health services across the region. It comes as many in the community are finding a shortage of help for those in need.

Using funds received from the gross production tax, Williams County has awarded more than $700,000 to 10 different entities. It’s the second time the county has awarded grant funding, which county leaders say has gone a long way in improving the quality of life.

Receiving behavioral health services in rural places can be difficult, and Williams County is no exception. That can be a problem for young kids who may need help.

“Our local providers are about six to twelve months plus out for waiting lists,” said Allison Stensland, counselor and social worker supervisor for the Williston Basin School District.

Thanks to the behavioral health grant, the Williston Basin School District will be working with North Dakota State University to provide telehealth services. Allison Stensland with the district says this will help students get help quicker while also keeping them in school.

“We need more help. We need more options for our students to be able to get what they need. Hopefully, this will help bridge that gap to get those students seen sooner until they are able to establish with a local provider,” said Stensland.

A majority of the funds will be used by various entities for additional staff training or to help hire more professionals. County Commissioner Steve Kemp said expanding these services helps to improve quality of life, which can grow the workforce.

“We couldn’t look to anybody else to solve our problems, so we really had to look into this,” said Kemp.

The other awardees include Choice Recovery Counseling, ConnectUS Therapy, Milestone Health Partners, Kaleidoscope Behavioral Health, Northwest Therapy Services, Eckert and PlayWorks.

The help is coming soon. Most of the funds must be used by the end of the year unless otherwise agreed upon by the county.

Williams County requires all recipients to provide a six-month and 12-month impact statement on how those funds have been used to improve services.