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DSS secures planning grant for 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline

For Immediate Release:  Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Media Contact: Steve Long, steve.long@state.sd.us or 605.773.5465

DSS secures planning grant for 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline

PIERRE – Planning for the launch of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 988 dialing code will get a boost from a grant awarded to the South Dakota Department of Social Services.

The grant, awarded through Vibrant Emotional Health, will be used to develop strategic plans in preparation for the projected infrastructure needs, volume growth, and access to the Lifeline’s new 988 number. In July 2022, 988 will become the national three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline replacing the current 1.800.273.TALK (8255) phone number. South Dakotans needing support should continue to use that number until then.

“Access to behavioral health crisis resources for South Dakotans is a priority for the Department of Social Services,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “We look forward to working toward implementation of 988 in South Dakota in collaboration with our partners.”

DSS, together with the Helpline Center and other stakeholders, will develop clear roadmaps to address coordination, capacity, funding, and communications surrounding the launch of 988. DSS will collaborate with state leadership, suicide prevention experts, people with lived experience, and others to create a 988 implementation plan and support the Lifeline’s operational, clinical, and performance standards that allow access to care. 

“The Helpline Center is pleased to partner with the South Dakota Department of Social Services in the 988 Planning Grant,” said Janet Kittams, Director of the Helpline Center. “Collaborative planning to implement the new 988 phone number will be critical to ensuring that all residents have an easy access point for behavioral health crisis situations beginning in July of 2022. The Helpline Center serves as the only Lifeline crisis center answering the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for the entire state of South Dakota.”

Vibrant Emotional Health believes the new 988 number, once implemented, will ensure the Lifeline will continue to be America’s mental health safety net by providing emotional support for people in distress, reducing suicides and mental health crises, and providing a pathway to well-being for all. 

“Access to mental health and crisis support has never been more critical for Americans,” said Kimberly Williams, president and CEO of Vibrant Emotional Health. “Vibrant is committed to providing the states and territories with some of the resources they'll need to plan for the implementation of 988 and to support their local crisis centers. By working together, we will increase access to care, reduce the stigma around mental health, and, ultimately, save lives.”

For more information, click on the Behavioral Health tab at dss.sd.gov or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

About DSS

The South Dakota Department of Social Services is dedicated to strengthening and supporting individuals and families by promoting cost effective and comprehensive services in connection with our partners that foster independent and healthy families. For more information, please visit dss.sd.gov.

About the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Funded by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by Vibrant Emotional Health, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a leader in suicide prevention and mental health crisis care. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support and crisis counseling to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 180 local crisis centers, uniting local resources with national best practices. Since its inception in 2005, the Lifeline has engaged in innovative public messaging, development of best practices in mental health, creative partnerships, and more to improve crisis services and advance suicide prevention for all. For more information, visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org

About Vibrant Emotional Health 

Vibrant Emotional Health is a non-profit organization that helps individuals and families achieve emotional wellbeing. For over 50 years, our groundbreaking solutions have delivered high-quality services and support, when, where and how people need it. We offer confidential emotional support through our state-of-the-art contact center and crisis hotline services that use leading edge telephone, text and web-based technologies and include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, NFL Life Line and NYC Well. Through our community wellness programs individuals and families obtain supports and skills they need to thrive. Our advocacy and education initiatives promote mental wellbeing as a social responsibility. Each year we help more than 2.5 million people live healthier and more vibrant lives. We’re advancing access, dignity and respect for all and revolutionizing the system for good. Visit vibrant.org. And follow Vibrant on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram