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Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota Abound Counseling

Summary 
  • Need: To provide mental health services to rural residents in North Dakota and Minnesota.
  • Intervention: Abound Counseling of LSSND provides in-person counseling services in 8 communities and telehealth counseling services to other areas.
  • Results: In the first year of practice, Abound Counseling has brought greater access to quality mental healthcare for young children.

Description

In many rural areas, issues like geography, cost, and stigma prevent residents from seeking the mental health services they need. To combat these issues, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota (LSSND) implemented a telehealth counseling system.

Each Lutheran Social Services office in the state contains a space for teleconferencing. Since not all North Dakota communities have an LSSND office, teleconferencing spaces can be located in Lutheran churches and other community spaces across the state. The program established its first telehealth portal in a church in the summer of 2016.

Abound Counseling brochure

Most North Dakota communities have churches that are already affiliated with LSSND and can easily house a teleconferencing space. The service is open to all community members regardless of religious affiliation.

In addition, providers can serve via telehealth patients living in Minnesota as long as the provider has a license to practice in that state.

Abound Counseling is funded in part by a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant, to help pay therapy fees and other expenses for crime victims seeking counseling.

Services offered

Clients gain access via telehealth or in person to a network of full-time and part-time mental health providers. While provider specializations vary, Abound Counseling has a strong concentration of providers who work with children as well as a group of therapists who specialize in working with veterans, active duty military members, and their families.

The telehealth counseling program through LSSND is a fee-for-service mental health practice. Abound Counseling is a provider with most health insurances and Medicaid/Medicare. For clients who are unable to pay, LSSND has a limited Charitable Care Fund and other grant funding that can help offset costs of therapy.

LSSND created the Farm-to-Farm Therapy program, which is run by a licensed clinical social worker whose spouse is a farmer. This program provides telehealth and in-person services to farm families. This program was featured in a 2019 Stateline article.

Results

To date, Abound Counseling has brought greater access to quality mental healthcare for young children, especially those engaged with the child welfare system. Abound Counseling has continued to expand their network of licensed therapists throughout the state of North Dakota.

Replication

Identify opportunities to collaborate with people who have a solid base in the local community.

Contact Information

Tina Jacobs, Abound Counseling Clinical Operations Specialist
Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota
701.271.1613
kristinaj@lssnd.org

Topics
Community and faith-based initiatives
Mental health
Telehealth

States served
Minnesota, North Dakota

Date added
December 21, 2016

Date updated or reviewed
December 3, 2020

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2020. Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota Abound Counseling [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/943 [Accessed 14 June 2021]


Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.