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DSS awarded $1.2 million to help prevent adult suicide

DSS awarded $1.2 million to help prevent adult suicide 

PIERRE – More than 68,000 South Dakotans are expected to be helped over the next three years in the fight against adult suicide, thanks to a $1.2 million federal grant recently awarded to South Dakota’s Department of Social Services (DSS).  The money is intended to help prevent suicide in the 25 and older age group. 

“We are continually working on multiple fronts to save South Dakota lives by preventing suicide,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill.  “Every life counts.  And we are doing everything we can to help provide the resources needed to give people the help they need.  This money will help us reach tens of thousands of people.”   

The grant funds will be used to achieve three main goals: 

Improve follow up care for adults, identified as being at risk for suicide after leaving in-patient behavioral health units. 

  • Increase the number of health care organizations that adopt “Zero Suicide” practices, which is the fundamental belief that suicide is preventable, with a goal of reaching zero suicides. 
  • Additional focus on veterans not already receiving Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Services, by increasingly engaging with and training veterans’ groups, community organizations, and employers to recognize warning signs; and awareness of available resources for veterans and their families. 

 During the three-year life of the grant, the state will receive $400,000 annually from August 31, 2020, through August 30, 2023.  DSS is one of only five applicants in the nation to receive the grant. 

“The increased training, identification, and care of at risk adults will save lives.  These adults could be parents, grandparents, friends, or neighbors,” says Gill. “We cannot put a price on saving lives.  This grant money will help prevent not only suicide, but the heartache of loved ones left behind.” 

The DSS Division of Behavioral Health will lead the project in collaboration with the Helpline Center, health care providers, and other community partners. 

In 2019 Governor Kristi Noem tasked state agencies to develop a statewide suicide prevention strategic plan.  Together, the Departments of Health, Social Services, Education, Tribal Relations and Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, as well as the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board developed South Dakota’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.

To find help in your area, visit dss.sd.gov and click on the Behavioral Health tab or go to www.sdsuicideprevention.org

If you, a family member, or friend are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression or anxiety, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line “Hello” to 741741.