Supported through the generosity of Foundation donors, the Behavioral Health Bridge is a free online service created by Sanford Health and the University of North Dakota.

A bridge to wellness

November 19, 2020

The daily challenges of life during the COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming.

For those struggling with anxiety or isolation at this time, or anyone worried about how a neighbor or loved one is coping, there is a new health resource to help.

Supported through the generosity of Foundation donors, the Behavioral Health Bridge is a free online service created by Sanford Health and the University of North Dakota. It is intended, in large part, to help address the growing need for resources in rural communities where there is little or no access to behavioral health care services.

Special thanks in particular to donors Crystal Gilson, Grant Henriksen and Tristan Cartony.

“When I approached Sanford Health Foundation about starting this endowment, we talked about using the funds to break down as many barriers as they could to accessing behavioral health. They built a bridge!” said Gilson, who helped provide funding for the Behavioral Health Bridge through an existing endowment.

“You can go on the internet, right now — for free — not drive miles — and it’s right there,” added Henriksen. “Information and resources all built to help you.”

Even before the pandemic, the need for behavioral health resources was demonstrated by the rising suicide rate in North Dakota. Between 1999 and 2016, suicides increased 57 percent.

“We are excited to get this partnership with UND online and offer much needed behavioral health support to those who either— don’t have proper access or are uncomfortable asking for help,” said Dr. Stephen Wonderlich, vice president of research at Sanford Health in Fargo. It is our hope that having these resources readily available will help individuals who are suffering cope and recover.”

The online COVID-19 behavioral health modules include:

  • Behavioral Health: Impact of COVID-19
  • Stress & Coping: Coping with Stress, Worry, Grief, and Loss
  • Caring: Self-care and Caring for Loved Ones
  • Support & Treatment: Considerations, Need, and Behavioral Health Resources
  • Healthcare Providers: COVID-19 and Behavioral Health

In the months to come, Sanford and UND will continue to update and enhance the service with new resources and screening tools. The addition of a clinician corner in 2021 will also allow patients to speak with mental health clinicians from anywhere.

“Some people think you shouldn’t seek mental health services unless it’s a crisis,” Wonderlich said. “But, the truth is that if there are issues it’s better to seek help early on. Your therapist can help decide if you need help or not.”

If you’re interested in supporting this important initiative, please contact us directly at (701) 234-6246 or email shfoundation.fargo@sanfordhealth.org.

 

100% to care for our communities

Your generosity empowers Sanford to act swiftly and innovatively to meet important and emerging needs of our communities. Every dollar stays local. Every dollar makes a difference.

To give health, healing and hope this holiday season, please visit sanfordhealthfoundation.org/holidays.