SIOUX FALLS – The Department of Social Services (DSS) and The Helpline Center are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the start to South Dakota’s 988. 988 is a national three-digit phone number that has been created as a resource for all mental health-related distress, substance use, and suicide crises. People can also call 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need support.
While 988 is available nationally, the network relies on each state to erect its own mental health resource to ensure crisis services are available. 988 exists today in South Dakota because of Governor Noem’s support and because of the Legislature’s appropriation of adequate funding. While calling from a 605 area code, persons are routed to The Helpline Center, a South Dakota-based 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Center, which provides 24/7 access to Master’s-level trained mental health professionals. Text and chat services are also available in English through 988.
Since the launch of 988 in South Dakota, more than 7,500 individuals have called, texted, and chatted with 988 mental health counselors. The counselors have listened to concerns, provided support, and connected the individuals to additional resources and follow-up care.
In this first year, counselors have:
- Connected with persons ranging in age from 12-years-old to 80-years-old.
- Talked with at least one individual from each of South Dakota’s 66 counties.
- Supported individuals struggling with grief, addictions, and thoughts of depression such that they are struggling to get through their day
“988 through its volume and utilization has shown already in its first year that it is a resource being connected to extraordinary needs. DSS is proud to be a part of what we hope South Dakotans see as an asset to our community and a lifeline for those experiencing acute mental health needs,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Matt Althoff. “988 provides a direct connection to compassionate care and support for anyone experiencing mental-health-related distress, suicide crisis, or substance use. We ask for your assistance in helping to make 988 as well-known as 911, 511, and 211 so that South Dakotans who need this resource might be in position to reach out to it.”
For more information about 988 and The Helpline Center, visit https://www.helplinecenter.org/9-8-8/.