Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

Governor Noem calls for raising mental health awareness

PIERRE – Governor Kristi Noem has proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month in South Dakota. It is a time to raise awareness of those living with mental health challenges, reduce stigma, and promote the resources available to help.

“Mental health affects all of us whether we are doing well, facing struggles, or somewhere in between,” said Department of Social Services (DSS) Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “Our mental health impacts our physical, emotional, and social wellbeing regardless of age.”

Struggles in life can impact to mental health but help is available. Twenty-nine percent of adults in South Dakota reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in early 2021 and 112,000 adults were dealing with a mental health condition. It’s estimated that 14,000 children in the state have a mental illness.

South Dakotans who received publicly funded mental health services reported increases in their social connectedness, mental health, and wellbeing.

“It’s important to know that with effective treatment, individuals can recover and live happy, healthy, productive lives,” Gill said. “Help is available no matter where you live in South Dakota or what your financial situation is.”   


DSS contracts with 11 Community Mental Health Centers across the state to provide mental health services to children adults with mental health challenges. If locality is a barrier, services can be provided via telehealth. Mental health services are also offered to offenders incarcerated in state correctional facilities. Individuals in need of inpatient psychiatric treatment can receive  services at Human Services Center in Yankton, the only state licensed specialty hospital.

If cost for community-based mental health services is a concern, financial help is available. The Behavioral Health Voucher Program offers funding assistance for behavioral health services for farmers and ranchers, people impacted by the natural disasters or other life-changing events.

To learn more about resource options, visit dss.sd.gov and click on the Behavioral Health tab. You can also visit  www.605strong.com or dial 211 to reach the 211 Helpline Center. Program staff are trained to provide stress relief and handle mental health crises. The Helpline Center can also provide referrals to other resources.

For anyone struggling with a mental health challenge, crisis counseling is available 24/7 by dialing 1.800.273.8255 (TALK) or texting CONNECT to 741741. All calls are completely confidential.

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