- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota’s Human Services Department has expanded the number of regional centers offering mental health and substance abuse assessments without appointments in an effort aimed at getting people into treatment earlier.

The South Central Human Service Center in Jamestown is the third center to change how it provides mental health and addiction assessments. Residents of the nine-county service region can come in for unscheduled evaluations during certain times on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

“We want to be able to get people when they’re recognizing a need for assistance - that we can get them in and see them right away to avoid any escalation of symptoms,” Human Service Regional Director Dan Cramer told KQDJ radio.

In February, North Central Human Service Center in Minot began offering unscheduled assessments. Northwest Human Service Center in Williston introduced unscheduled assessments last fall.

Human Services hopes to expand the program to the other five regional centers in the state by July 2017, department Chief Clinics Officer Rosalie Etherington said in a statement. Those centers are in Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo and Grand Forks.

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