A Note to Self: Called to Love
By: Governor Kristi Noem
August 18, 2023
In the Gospel of John, shortly before Jesus is arrested, He says “my command is this: love each other a I have loved you” (John 15:12). Jesus and His disciples teach the significance of love throughout the New Testament. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus gives us what has become known as “the golden rule” – “do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).
We learn these things as children. We learn to be kind to be kind to ourselves so that we can be kind to one another. We learn to treat others how we want to be treated. But as we grow up, those important lessons are too often forgotten.
Forgetting to love ourselves and to love each other as Jesus loves us can have dire consequences. My Department of Social Services has launched a new campaign focused on eliminating the stigma around behavioral health concerns. The campaign is called “Notes to Self,” and it is encouraging folks to take an active role in their own mental health, as well as the mental health of their loved ones.
Through tv, radio, and online ads, as well as billboards and other efforts across the state, the campaign will educate South Dakotans and promote the resources that we have readily available for those in need. These “Notes to Self” reminders focus on behavioral health needs that are common in South Dakota – needs that our communities can resonate with.
The goal of the “Notes to Self” campaign is to provide those struggling with the resources they need. Even if someone does not need these resources now, or isn’t ready to ask for help yet, we want them to know that they’re there for them.
The first “Notes to Self” ad features a farmer who’s family leaves kind notes for him. The ad ends with a surprise meal celebrating 100 days of recovery. This is a very real situation for many families. The “Notes to Self” campaign is a reminder to check in on those around you. A seemingly small act of kindness like a phone call, a homemade meal, or an encouraging note can make a huge difference to someone struggling with their behavioral health.
In the state of South Dakota, we have our Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. When you dial 988 from a 605-area code, you will be connected to the Helpline Center. A group of individuals with advanced degrees and experience in behavioral health will be available to talk you through whatever situation you may be facing. The Helpline Center provides follow-up calls to individuals and helps to end the stigma toward those seeking access to mental health care. Text and chat services are also available through 988 for anyone who does not feel comfortable speaking on the phone about their behavioral health concerns.
The campaign also strives to help folks to feel comfortable starting the conversation. Sometimes for those in need, all it takes is a reminder that they have someone who cares about them. We’ve often called these “buddy checks.” If you notice a change in a loved one, reach out and ask them how they’re doing, then refer them to any resources they may need.
We are called to love. “Notes to Self” serves as a reminder that it doesn’t have to be complicated. By simply checking in with ourselves – and with those we love to let them know that we care about them – we are doing exactly what Jesus commands.