You never know when you’ll find yourself in an emergency, where you’ll have to dial 911 or even make a trip to the hospital.

Members of the North Dakota Hospital Association (NDHA) are meeting at a conference in Bismarck to talk about accessibility, workforce shortages, and mental health care.

“When it comes to behavioral health, it’s trying to find those services. For instance, if you have somebody that needs those services, that needs inpatient services getting them transferred to a higher-level care,” NDHA President Tim Blasl said.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health 108,000 adults in North Dakota have a mental health condition ranging from depression to PTSD. That’s about 14 percent of the state’s population, and it’s a sector of healthcare that is easily neglected, but just how do you fix these needs when offering services, especially in our rural areas? The interim health care committee provided education in that area.

“We’re looking at, is trying to make things more efficient in the rural area,” Blasl said.

Addressing the needs also requires a working staff, which is difficult due to the workforce shortage.

“It’s really access, we want to provide access to those rural communities and that can be challenging at times. That’s impacting hospitals in the state is the workforce. That’s not a surprise, it’s probably all industries but now our number one industry is the workforce,” Blasl said.