Help and Hope for North Dakota Residents

25 Feb 2020 News

According to the North Dakota Suicide Prevention Plan 2017-2020, approximately 117 Americans die by suicide daily.  For North Dakota residents ages 15-24, suicide is the second leading cause of death.  Do these statistics scare you?  They should.  Especially given the fact that in North Dakota, the suicide rate is 25% higher than the national average, and information gathered during the 2019 CHNA indicates that residents of Stanley are struggling as well.   As part of the Community Health Implementation Plan, a formal response to the Needs Assessment, Mountrail County Medical Center pledges to place a high priority on mental health, and to assist community members get the help they need. 

Stephanie Everett, MCMC CEO and Foundation Director stated, “We can no longer allow the mental health struggles of our community to go unchecked.  We know, that with mental health, each day, each moment actually counts, and Medical Center staff need to get proactive and build resources to be a part of the solution.”  At MCMC, our ultimate goal is to transform the community by encouraging confident communication about mental health so our residents know how, where, and when to ask for help.  We want to reach people before they enter a state of crisis (mentally), and encourage growth of coping skills as well as decrease stigma. 

As part of this effort, the Mountrail County Health Foundation has invited Kora Dockter and Alison Traynor to speak at the annual Women’s Expo.  This event will take place on March 9th, 2020 at Rosen Place on 8th, from 5-7 PM.  The theme for this year is “Healthy Mind for a Healthy You”, and will focus on achieving health from the inside out.  Guest speakers Alison and Kora will be giving the talk “Reaching Zero Suicide: Defining Your Role and Spreading Hope”, and will draw on their years of experience in the field and personal experience to call attendees to action. 

Kora Dockter, BSN, NDSPC Chair

Kora Dockter has served as the ND Suicide Prevention Coalition Chair for the last 4 years and lead a statewide call for healthcare system-wide improvement, working along-side Governor Burgum. Kora has worked as a pediatric nurse for over 20 years, serving and advocating for individual children and youth with special healthcare needs and their families and later, at the healthcare system level in her pioneering work championing ND’s Asthma Action Plans and the Medical Home model. Kora is a popular public speaker and advocate in North Dakota for her public health perspective on the suicide crises impacting North Dakotans of all ages.

In 2014 Kora Dockter lost her adult son, Steven to suicide. After a long battle with depression, Steven was discharged from a local psychiatric hospital without as much as a brochure or a discharge plan. Upon his discharge, Kora was told “the place is doing him more harm than good”. 

“As a pediatric nurse, I trusted the healthcare system to provide a standard of care. After all, my parents had been hospitalized at the very same hospital and received excellent care and discharge planning, but I discovered that my son was on the wrong floor with the wrong diagnosis”. 

Kora Dockter applies her 20+ years if nursing experience with best practice care coordination practices to shed light on how treating suicide like any other disease can save lives. Kora will also share her very personal walk with God who through it all was able to bring hope back into her life. 

Alison Traynor, LSW

Alison has served North Dakotans for the past eleven years as a licensed social worker, primarily in crisis response, training and coordination for behavioral health, including human trafficking, intimate partner violence and suicide. Through this work, Alison found that, in ND crisis situations, suicide risk was often a part of the picture and that most helping professionals are unprepared when it came to suicide. Alison has since dedicated herself to research in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention (supporting communities left behind after a suicide loss).

For the past five years, Alison has worked to mobilize statewide suicide prevention efforts as the Director of Suicide Prevention and founding member of the non-profit, ND Suicide Prevention Coalition.  Alison specializes in suicide and violence prevention, holds a Master of Public Health, Policy and Administration, a social work license and will graduate in 2020 with a master’s in social work. In 2019, Alison was named 40 under 40 in Public Health by the de Beaumont Foundation. If you are interested in hearing Kora and Alison speak at the annual “Women’s Expo” on March 9th please call the clinic at 701-628-2505 to reserve your spot.  Limited seating is available – deadline to RSVP is March 4th, 2020.