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Gov. Dennis Daugaard Declares September as Suicide Prevention Month





South Dakota Department of Social Services
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501
dss.sd.gov

For Immediate Release: Monday, Aug. 27, 2018
Media Contact:  Tia Kafka, 605-773-3165

Gov. Dennis Daugaard Declares September as Suicide Prevention Month 

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed September as Suicide Prevention Month in South Dakota. The Department of Social Services, along with the Department of Health and the Department of Tribal Relations, is encouraging all South Dakotans to take an active role in suicide prevention by getting involved in local prevention activities.

“Suicide does not discriminate, people of all genders, ages and ethnicities are at risk,” said state Department of Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti. “More than half of those who died by suicide did not have a known mental illness. By raising awareness and talking about suicide, we are letting individuals know it’s okay to ask for help.”

South Dakota has resources available to help individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts and support for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Individuals in need of help are encouraged to call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Services are available 24/7. 

Help can also be obtained by contacting any medical provider such as a family physician, psychiatrist or hospital emergency room, as well as a Community Mental Health Center or other mental health provider in your area. If you believe someone is at risk for suicide, contact a professional immediately.

“Suicide deaths are preventable, and we know community specific prevention efforts are effective. We encourage communities in the state to evaluate local data and develop suicide prevention action plans,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health. Resources for communities are located online at sdsuicideprevention.org/toolkits/community/.

In 2017, suicide was the ninth leading cause of death in South Dakota with 192 deaths, and the second leading cause of death for individuals age 10 to 34 with 80 deaths.

“Suicide rates within the state are alarming and have been extremely devasting to the tribes that share our borders,” said SD Tribal Relations Secretary Steve Emery, “If you’re thinking about harming yourself, please reach out for help. To everyone else, please be there to help your children, family and friends.”

To learn more about suicide, the warning signs, how to get help and to find upcoming suicide prevention events, please visit sdsuicideprevention.org/. For those who have lost a loved one to suicide, a list of support groups in South Dakota is also available.

For more information about behavioral health services, or to find a Community Mental Health Center in your area, contact the Department of Social Services’ Division of Behavioral Health at 605-773-3123, toll-free at 1-855-878-6057 or online at dss.sd.gov/behavioralhealth/.

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Media Note: Governor’s Executive Proclamation is attached.