North Dakota’s Human Service Department says its eight regional human service centers and four satellite clinics are open to provide on-site and community based behavioral health services, during a time of stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dan Cramer, the director of the South Central Human Services Center in Jamestown, said when the pandemic first started, a lot of services were switched to telehealth. But he said as things went on, they realized some people were really struggling, and those with the greatest amount of illness were struggling the most.
"Maybe that sounds really obvious," Cramer said in an interview. "But the rates of homelessness among those with severe mental illness were going up, and the rates of hospitalization for that group were going up much more so than for anybody else."
Cramer said the staff realized that telehealth was not sufficient for people in that group. So he said they have been working hard to be out in the community, and seeing patients in person.
"More often than not, the in-person contacts really is the most helpful," Cramer said. "We've really ramped that up in the last 3-4 months."
Cramer said they're having people come into the office, or they go out to their homes, or see them out in the community.