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Bismarck school pilot project to study student mental health

October 8, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Bismarck middle school has been selected for a pilot project to identify prevention and early intervention services for students with mental health disorders.

Thirteen schools applied for a $150,000 grant that the Legislature approved last year for the project. Simle Middle School was selected to work in partnership with the state Department of Human Services, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

The project aims to bridge the gap between the behavioral health system and schools, and to pinpoint students who are in need of mental health services. Simle will implement a screening tool to identify students in need and to arrange for services, including a clinical psychologist.

“We thought, how can we do the things we’re doing, but also expand that more in terms of helping families and helping kids that maybe have deeper needs than what traditional schools can provide?” Principal Russ Riehl said.

The school hopes to start the yearlong project within the next month. Results will be used to help other schools, according to Pam Sagness, director of Human Service’s behavioral health division.

“Education is a different world from behavioral health, and yet we need to partner in order to really be able to identify the kids that have the highest needs,” she said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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