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North Dakota's Human Services announces new interactive behavioral health training program for educators

The North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division announced a new opportunity for all North Dakota professionals working in schools to help support the behavioral health of their students with emphasis on suicide prevention.

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The North Dakota Department of Human Services’ (NDDHS) Behavioral Health Division has announced a new program for all North Dakota professionals working in schools to help support the behavioral health of their students with emphasis on suicide prevention.

All private, public and tribal school administrators, teachers and support staff can access Kognito, which is a free, online simulation-based learning program that will help enhance their knowledge of identifying signs of behavioral health concerns among students, learn effective conversation strategies and find out how to refer to appropriate resources if necessary, according to a press release. Users can complete the interactive evidence-based modules at their own pace and receive feedback in real-time.

“Suicide prevention efforts are vital for North Dakota as behavioral health needs of students continue to grow,” NDDHS Behavioral Health Division Director Pamela Sagness said in a press release. “This program will equip education professionals beyond recognizing symptoms, so they can engage and continue to support students who may be struggling.”

According to the 2019 North Dakota Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the percentage of high school students in the state who have seriously considered attempting suicide has increased from 12.4% in 2009 to 18.8% in 2019. The survey also showed that 61.2% of high school students reported their mental health was not good on at least one day during the 30 days prior to taking the survey.

The implementation of this program is supported through the Behavioral Health in Education Resources and Opportunities Technical Assistance Center in partnership with the Behavioral Health Division and the Central Regional Education Association. It is the result of Senate Bill 2311 passed by the 2021 North Dakota Legislature.

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For those interested in learning more about Kognito, visit behavioralhealth.nd.gov/education or contact the NDDHS Behavioral Health Division at 701-328-8920, toll-free 800-755-2719, 711 (TTY) or email dhsbhd@nd.gov .

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