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Published July 20, 2010, 10:32 PM

DL Center Reports More In Need Of Mental Health Help Because Of Flooding

The Lake Region Human Service Center reports an increase in clinical intakes. The center's director attributes some of it to stress brought on by chronic flooding.

Devils Lake has been on a constant rise for more than 15 years and as it shatters another record this summer, nerves are getting frayed. The city of Devils Lake is waiting for a federal task force to come up with a plan of what to do with the waters of Devils Lake.

But with every rainfall there is more worry...more stress.

Although the spots outside this mental health care facility may be empty right now...that's not always the case.

Doug Boknecht/Assistant Regional Director Lake Region Human Service Center. "Lake Region Human Service Center has definitely seen an increase in clinical intakes. Some summers it kind of slows down a bit, this summer it has to, intakes have been high."

Boknecht says there is a sense of unity in the community even after 17 years of a constant flood threat. At meetings people don't yell or show their frustration but that doesn't mean you can't see it.

Doug Boknecht/Assistant Regional Director Lake Region Human Service Center. "You can see that sometimes on the faces of people who are trying to deal with this. It's chronic, is relentless it comes in spurts."

Those faces are waiting for a solution.

Doug Boknecht/Assistant Regional Director Lake Region Human Service Center. "If this federal and state task force ends up back at square one and doesn't come up with some meaning full decisions, we're going to see that change. We're going to see frustrations start to erupt in my opinion much more visibly."

And as far as an after-effect goes...we won't know until the water goes away.

Doug Boknecht/Assistant Regional Director Lake Region Human Service Center. "We are not seeing post traumatic stress, that's not the nature of this stress. This stress is much more like Chinese water torture. It's a little bit at a time over months and over years."

The Lake Region Human Service Center wants people to know they are there if they need to talk about their stress levels.

Boknecht says that some people may not want to come forward because North Dakota is more of a "can-do" state. Some aren't willing to ask for help.

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