Grand Forks school system receives $106,000 grant for behavioral health programs

Grant will support services that support initiatives that promote positive mental health

Mark Sanford Center Grand Forks schools logo sign tower.jpg
The Mark Sanford Education Center, headquarters of Grand Forks Public Schools. (Grand Forks Herald photo)

The Grand Forks public school system has received a grant for $106,843 from the state’s Department of Human Services to support behavioral health needs and services throughout the school district.

The grant, awarded by the department's behavioral health division, will fund a number of social-emotional intervention and prevention programs that align with the school system’s strategic plan to develop a comprehensive district-wide mental health system.

Programming will include short-term counseling support services for students and employees, mental health literacy, support for the school system’s comprehensive counseling program, Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) intervention, and funding for the Sources of Strength program.

CBITS is a skills-based, child group intervention that focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and general anxiety among children exposed to multiple forms of trauma.

Sources of Strength is a best-practice youth suicide prevention program aimed at harnessing the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture, with the goal of preventing suicide, bullying and substance abuse. The program is offered in all Grand Forks public schools.


“We are thankful to the North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division for awarding this grant funding to the Grand Forks Public Schools,” Geoff Gaukler, mental health coordinator for the school district, said in a news release.

“Our goal is to support our staff and students’ overall well-being," Gaukler said, "and, while the past couple years have certainly come with challenges, this funding supports a number of programs and initiatives that promote positive mental health.”

The grant application was written by Gaukler and Taunya Schleicher, the school district’s grant writer.

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at or (701) 780-1107.
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