Governor Kristi Noem has proclaimed May 8-14, as Prevention Week in South Dakota to help promote substance use prevention and positive mental health in the state.
“Prevention Week is a time to re-focus prevention efforts within our schools and communities by raising awareness, reducing stigma, engaging with partners, and promoting resources,” said Department of Social Services Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “South Dakota has a robust prevention network covering every corner of the state that works very hard to help improve people’s lives.”
DSS partners with the 20 contracted coalitions and three Prevention Resource Centers that make up the South Dakota Prevention Network to provide prevention education and services in schools and communities, serving individuals of all ages.
“Substance use prevention places a focus on helping people develop the knowledge, attitude, and skills needed to make good choices and reduce the harmful behaviors of substance misuse or abuse,” Gill said. “Prevention efforts are tailored around the needs of communities, using effective community-based, school-based and individual evidence-based programs.”
School-based programming focuses on classroom presentations, early identification, screening, and referral to services. Community-based programming focuses on establishing or changing community standards, policies, and attitudes towards substance use. Individual-based programming focuses on targeted interventions to high-risk individuals to reduce the likelihood of an individual developing a substance use disorder.
Prevention Week also focuses on helping stop suicides. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in South Dakota. The Department of Social Services in collaboration with the Department of Health, Department of Education, Department of Tribal Relations, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Great Plain Tribal Leader’s Health Board is committed to reducing the incidence of suicide in South Dakota. “Prevention takes a whole community approach, and we all have a part to play,” Gill said. “Sometimes you need the right tools to start the conversation.”
Free toolkits are available for communities and schools to help start the conversation about suicide including step by step guides to engage in suicide prevention. Toolkits are targeted to specific populations like employers, Native Americans, healthcare organizations, seniors, and military members and Veterans. There are also toolkits for high schools and colleges.
For more information, please visit sdsuicideprevention.org/toolkits/community or contact state Prevention Program staff at 605.367.5236. Suicide prevention materials are also available to order at sdsuicideprevention.org/get-help/order-materials.
To learn more about South Dakota’s prevention services, visit https://dss.sd.gov/behavioralhealth/services.aspx