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Substance use has dangerous tie to suicide

Substance use has dangerous tie to suicide

PIERRE – Substance use is associated with an increased risk for suicide, especially for those struggling with a co-occurring mental health problem or previous suicide attempt. Substance use can lead to increased feelings of depression and worthlessness, acting impulsively and impairing the ability to make good choices.  Starting the conversation, listening, and providing support can be positive steps towards recovery.

“A history of alcohol and substance use is one of the greatest risk factors for suicide,” said Department of Social Services (DSS) Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “When substance use is problematic, it can feel like suicide is the only way out, but that is not true. South Dakota has numerous resources to help treat substance use disorders and mental health issues.”

DSS contracts with accredited substance use disorder treatment agencies and community mental health centers across the state to provide services to adults and youth. Services include screenings and assessments, early intervention, detoxification, outpatient and inpatient treatment services. Funding assistance may be available. To find a treatment provider in your area, please visit dss.sd.gov/behavioralhealth/agencycounty.

According to the Department of Health, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in South Dakota. There were 185 suicides in 2020 in South Dakota.

“There are many factors that contribute to suicide and research has shown a strong connection with substance use,” Gill said. “Talking about substance use and thoughts of suicide is important to getting help.”

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, please call 1.800.273.TALK (8255) or send a text to 741741. Visit SDSuicidePrevention.org or BeThe1SD.com to find resources and learn more about suicide prevention.

To get help with substance use issues, please call the South Dakota Resource Hotline at 1.800.920.4343. For more information on substance use disorder treatment options, visit onmeth.com or avoidopioidsd.com.


South Dakota Suicide Prevention is a partnership seeking to end suicide in South Dakota. Partners include the Department of Social Services, Department of Health, Department of Tribal Relations, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Great Plains Tribal Leader’s Health Board. For more information and to read the South Dakota Suicide Prevention state plan, please visit sdsuicideprevention.org.