State releases updated suicide prevention plan

The South Dakota Department of Health today (Wed.) launched the state’s updated comprehensive plan to reduce suicide deaths.

According to the department, South Dakota’s suicide rate rose by nearly 40% over the past decade and suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15-34.

South Dakota’s comprehensive plan focuses on helping people recognize the signs and symptoms of suicide, empowers communities with data and resources and raises public awareness of the issue.

Suicide is rarely caused by any single factor. According to a recent Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, more than half of people who die by suicide are not known to have a diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Other problems often contribute to suicide, such as those related to relationships, substance use, physical health and job, money, legal or housing stress.

South Dakota has resources available to help individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts and support for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. If you need help call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Services are available 24/7. You can also contact any medical provider such as a family physician, psychiatrist or hospital emergency room, as well as a Community Mental Health Center or tribal mental health provider. Additional information, resources, and support are available at If you believe someone is at risk for suicide, get help immediately. Don’t wait to call.

The plan was developed by the Departments of Health, Social Services, Tribal Relations, Education and Agriculture in partnership with the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board. In addition, nearly 300 South Dakotans provided input as part of the development process. The last update was done in 2013.

Additional information, resources, and support are available on the website

Governor Kristi Noem says this plan addresses many aspects of suicide and includes strategies for suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.

Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says suicide impacts nearly every part of the state and we need to make sure we have a comprehensive plan to help communities tackle suicide head-on. She says everyone has a role in preventing suicide and we need every community, school, healthcare organization, workplace and individual doing their part to help save lives.

Secretary of Social Services Laurie Gill says despite knowing how far reaching suicide is, we too often lean heavily on narrow stereotypes to determine the type of people most likely to be impacted. She says suicidal thoughts can afflict anyone, making it critical to watch out for all of the people in your life.