Department of Health Launches Comprehensive Plan for Suicide Prevention

Department of Health Launches Comprehensive Plan for Suicide Prevention

PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Health today launched South Dakota’s first, comprehensive plan since 2013 to reduce suicide deaths. Over the past decade, South Dakota’s suicide rates rose by nearly 40 percent. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15-34.

“We know all too well that South Dakota is not immune from the devastation brought about by suicide,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “Last year, I asked the Department of Health to lead a joint effort to develop a statewide suicide prevention plan, and I’m proud of the product they have developed. This plan addresses many aspects of suicide and includes strategies for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Every person has value, and help is available.”

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. 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.

“Suicide impacts nearly every part of our state, and we need to make sure we have a comprehensive plan to help communities tackle suicide head-on,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Health. “We all have a role in preventing suicide, and as we implement the plan in the years ahead, we will need every community, school, healthcare organization, workplace, and individuals doing their part to help save lives.”

“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,” said Laurie Gill, Secretary of Social Services.  “Suicidal thoughts can afflict anyone, making it absolutely critical to watch out for the people in your life.”

Suicide is rarely caused by any single factor. According to a recent Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), 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.

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