How To Get Affordable State Sponsored Therapy in North Dakota
If you’re looking for free or low-cost counseling, you might think your only options are counselors in private practice. However, publicly-funded mental health services are available in every state and may be an option for you. While all of the state systems are different, they are all designed to provide affordable care that often includes therapy or counseling services.
While state-based programs are not for everyone, they’re often a great place to start if you face geographic or financial barriers to therapy. Intake specialists at community mental health programs can help you learn whether you qualify for state-funded services. And even if you don’t qualify, they can often refer you to other low-cost local programs that can meet your needs.
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When Should You Go to a State Mental Health Program?
Few private mental health providers are able to immediately serve people in crisis, while most state mental health programs, including North Dakota’s, have crisis response systems that help people get mental health care quickly in an emergency. This usually makes public mental health services the best option if you’re having a mental health crisis and need help right away. The people who answer state crisis lines can provide caring attention and support as they help you determine the best response to a crisis, whether it’s inpatient treatment or an appointment with a counselor.
Publicly-funded outpatient mental health programs in North Dakota are called human service centers (HSCs). In addition to affordable therapy, HSCs provide specialized and intensive services that aren’t available anywhere else or that are hard to find in private clinics, like case management and psychosocial rehabilitation. Consider going to an HSC if you need intensive treatment, live in an area with limited mental health resources, or can’t access mental health care in the private sector due to your diagnosis or financial situation.
Who Is Eligible for Public Mental Health Services in North Dakota?
Like most states’ mental health systems, North Dakota’s mental health system prioritizes people who have serious mental illness and people who have limited incomes. However, the North Dakota mental health department does not state on their official website that services at HSCs are limited to people in these groups.
Instead, most individual HSC sites like this one state that “People with acute, severe symptoms are served right away. Others may be served within one to several days or may be referred to other community behavioral service providers.” The individual HSC sites also state that “No one will be denied access to services due to inability to pay.”
According to official sites, North Dakota HSCs accept both public and private insurance and offer reduced or sliding scale fees to those who qualify. Yet while no one is turned away for inability to pay, if you don’t qualify for financial aid, you will need to pay the full fee for HSC services. This fee may be significantly less than what you’d pay for therapy from a private practitioner, but it’s worth taking the time to compare your options.
The best way to find out if you can get low-cost counseling at a publicly-funded provider in North Dakota is to call a local HSC and ask. As stated on official websites, HSC staff can help with referrals to other community providers if you’re not eligible for their services or if there is currently a long waiting list for people with less severe symptoms. They may even be able to set up an appointment with an alternate provider for you.
How Can You Find Out More About Local Programs in North Dakota?
One way you can find out more about local mental health resources in North Dakota is to call the 2-1-1 helpline or visit their guided search page, where you can search for specific mental health services in your area. If you’re in crisis, calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) from within North Dakota will connect you to FirstLink, where local staff can help you figure out what level of care you need and where you can go locally to get that care.
Public mental health services in North Dakota are managed on the state level by the Behavioral Health Division within the North Dakota Department of Human Services. For general information about the North Dakota mental health system, you can call the Behavioral Health Division at (701) 328-8920.
You can also contact your local HSC directly. Using information from official websites, we’ve compiled and listed numbers for all North Dakota HSCs below. We’ve also included listings for Native American mental health programs using information that we compiled from official tribal pages and the Indian Health Service (IHS) Great Plains Region page.
North Dakota's Clinics and Crisis Lines
- Bismarck Region: West Central Human Service Center
- Serving Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan, and Sioux Counties, the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, and part of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation
- Crisis Line: (701) 328-8899 or (888) 328-2112
- Main Number: (701) 328-8888 or (888) 328-2662
- Office Location: 1237 W. Divide Ave., Suite 5, Bismarck, ND 58501
- Devils Lake Region: Lake Region Human Service Center
- Serving Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner Counties
- Crisis Line: (701) 662-5050 or (888) 607-8610
- Main Office Number: (701) 665-2200 or (888) 607-8610
- Rolla Outreach Office Number: (701) 477-9050
- Office Locations:
- Main Office Location: 200 Hwy 2 W., Devils Lake, ND 58301
- Rolla Outreach Office Location: 1102 Main Ave W., Rolla, ND 58367
- Dickinson Region: Badlands Human Service Center
- Serving Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Hettinger, Slope, and Stark Counties
- Crisis Line: (701) 290-5719
- Main Number: (701) 227-7500 or (888) 227-7525
- Office Location: 1463 I-94 Business Loop East, Dickinson, ND 58601
- Fargo Region: Southeast Human Service Center
- Serving Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele, and Traill Counties
- Crisis Line: (701) 298-4500 or (888) 342-4900 or 2-1-1 Helpline
- Main Number: (701) 298-4500 or (888) 342-4900
- Office Location: 2624 9th Avenue South, Fargo, ND 58103
- Grand Forks Region: Northeast Human Service Center
- Serving Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina, and Walsh Counties
- Crisis Line: (701) 775-0525 or (800) 845-3731
- Main Office Number: (701) 795-3000 or (888) 256-6742
- Grafton Outreach Office Number: (701) 352-4334
- Office Locations:
- Main Office Location: 151 S. 4th Street, Suite 401, Grand Forks, ND 58201
- Grafton Outreach Office Location: 701 W. 6th Street, Grafton ND 58237
- Jamestown Region: South Central Human Service Center
- Serving Barnes, Dickey, Foster, Griggs, LaMoure, Logan, McIntosh, Stutsman, and Wells Counties
- Crisis Line: (701) 253-6304
- Main Office Number: (701) 253-6300 or (800) 260-1310
- Valley City Satellite Office Number: (701) 253-6300
- Office Locations:
- Main Office Location: 520 Third Street NW, Jamestown, ND 58401
- Valley City Satellite Office Location: 415 Second Ave NE, Suite 202, Valley City ND 58072
- Minot Region: North Central Human Service Center
- Serving Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville, and Ward Counties and part of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation
- Crisis Line: (701) 857-8500 or (888) 470-6968
- Main Number: (701) 857-8500 or (888) 470-6968
- Outreach Office Numbers: Use Main Number for Appointments
- New Town Office Number: (701) 628-2877:
- Rugby Office Number: (701) 228-5496:
- Office Locations (Outreach Offices Have Limited Hours and Are Appointment Only:
- Main Office Location: 1015 S. Broadway, Suite 18, Minot, ND 58701
- New Town Outreach Office Location: 228 Eagle Dr., New Town, ND 58763
- Rugby Outreach Office Location: 126 2nd Ave. SW, Rugby, ND 58368
- Stanley Outreach Office Location: 18 2nd Ave. SE, Stanley, ND 58784
- Williston Region: Northwest Human Service Center
- Serving Divide, McKenzie and Williams Counties, the Trenton Indian Service Area, and part of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation
- Crisis Line: (701) 572-9111 or (800) 231-7724
- Main Number: (701) 774-4600 or (800) 231-7724
- Office Location: 316 2nd Avenue West, Williston, ND 58802
Native American Mental Health Resources in North Dakota
- Great Plains Indian Health Service (IHS) Mental Health Programs:
- Independent Tribal and Urban Native American Mental Health Programs:
- Spirit Lake Nation Recovery and Wellness Center (Fort Totten): (701) 766-4285
- Trenton Indian Service Area Community Clinic (Trenton): (701) 774-0416
- Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation Elbowoods Memorial Health Center:
- Elbowoods Memorial Health Center Hotline: (701) 627-4750
- Elbowoods Appointment Desk: (701) 627-7601 or (701) 627-7602
- Elbowoods Behavioral Health Department: (701) 627-7777
- Elbowoods Memorial Health Center Locations:
- Main Clinic (New Town): (701) 627-4750
- Mandaree Field Health Clinic (Mandaree): (701) 759-3422
- White Shield Field Health Clinic (White Shield): (701) 743-4380
- Twin Buttes Field Health Clinic (Twin Buttes): (701) 938-4540
- Parshall Field Health Clinic (Parshall): (701) 862-8220
Federally Qualified Health Centers
Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are another option for public mental health care in North Dakota. These federally-funded programs provide medical and mental health services to people in underserved communities. Their goal is to deliver high-quality coordinated care to people with complex needs and to link behavioral healthcare with primary medical care. Each FQHC accepts Medicaid and Medicare and offers sliding-scale fees to people without insurance. You can search for FQHCs using the online search tool on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.
How Does North Dakota's Public Mental Health System Work?
In the 1960s, Americans started thinking differently about how to treat mental health conditions. New laws required state and local governments to establish community mental health programs as alternatives to institutionalization for people with serious mental illness. Many states’ public mental health programs trace their origins back to this period.
North Dakota is no exception. It established a mental health division in its Health Department in 1961 that was tasked with setting up outpatient mental health services across the state. Before then, public mental health care in North Dakota was primarily provided by the state hospital. Later in the 1960s, North Dakota ramped up the construction of community-based mental health programs using funding created by the 1963 Community Mental Health Centers Act.
Like many states, North Dakota has responded to issues with its state economy and budget by cutting mental health funding. This has made the state’s existing mental health provider shortage even worse. And not only are there not enough mental health providers in North Dakota, many people in this mostly rural state live far from where those few providers practice. This means that many North Dakotans have to travel great distances to get the mental health care they need.
Fortunately, North Dakota is making efforts to address these issues. Federal grants and new laws have increased mental health funding. Officials have used information from a 2018 report to redesign the mental health system and expand community-based mental health care. North Dakota is also using innovation to address the unique demands of serving its rural population. It now leads all other states in the use of telehealth technology in mental health care.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), only 42 percent of people in North Dakota who have mental health conditions get treatment for them. One reason for the care gap is that people aren’t aware of their options for affordable mental health care, including the public mental health system. You can help change these statistics by reaching out and using your local mental health resources to get the care you need.