PIERRE – Severe winter storms have impacted South Dakota several times this winter. In December, storms sent temperatures plunging to dangerous lows with extreme heavy snowfall and white out conditions. Additional storms last week dropped heavy snow on significant portions of the state. The impacts and aftermath of these events can be stressful. However, there are resources to help you weather the storm.
For some, the storms delayed or led to cancellation of holiday plans with family and friends due to hazardous travel conditions. Some South Dakotans are left dealing with the loss of income, property damage, physical injury, decreased mental health, or even the loss of loved ones. While normal daily changes in weather have a mild effect on mental health, the effects of extreme weather are more complicated.
During extreme weather conditions, you can become socially isolated. The Department of Social Services wants those who are feeling lonely and out of contact with friends and loved ones to know help is always available. Isolation can lead to depression, anxiety, including increased risk for suicide.
The following behaviors are some signs someone is thinking about suicide:
- Talking about wanting to die, feeling burdensome, guilt or shame.
- Feeling hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live.
- Feeling extremely sad and having unbearable emotional or physical pain.
- Making a plan or researching ways to die.
- Extreme mood swings and eating or sleeping more or less.
- Using drugs or alcohol more often.
If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, don’t try to manage on your own. Reach out as soon as possible.
Some resources include:
- Call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Center. Call or text 988 to for free and confidential support from trained clinicians 24/7. Or chat online at https://988lifeline.org/chat/.
- Veterans, Service Members and their families can call 988 and Press 1 for the Veteran’s Crisis Lifeline 24/7 to receive free and confidential support. You can also text 838255 or chat online at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help-now/chat/.
- The Farm and Rural Stress Hotline at 1.800.691.4336.
- High school students can text “icare” to 898211 to connect with the Helpline Center’s Text4Hope program.
- To find a local mental health provider in your area, visit dss.sd.gov or call the South Dakota Treatment Resource Hotline at 1-800-920-4343. Financial assistance is available.