Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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September 5, 2016

Gov. Dennis Daugaard Declares Sept. 5 - 11 as Suicide Prevention Week

PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed Sept. 5 - 11 as Suicide Prevention Week in South Dakota. Suicide occurs across all age, economic, social and ethnic boundaries, and is now the tenth leading cause of all deaths in the United States and the ninth leading cause of all deaths in the state of South Dakota.

Suicides may be prevented when suicidal behaviors are detected early and individuals are referred to services and supports. To promote early detection, the Department of Social Services’ (DSS) Prevention Program has suicide prevention trainings available for teachers, parents, behavioral health professionals, medical personnel and employers. For more information on training opportunities, contact Gib Sudbeck at 605-773-3123 or toll-free at 1-855-878-6057.

“Suicide is a preventable cause of premature death and needs to be addressed by educating and engaging with the public,” said Gib Sudbeck, program manager, for the Department of Social Services’ Prevention Program. “Encouraging family and friends to get involved and refer individuals at risk helps reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, and also encourages those who have mental health concerns to seek help.”

Help can be obtained in South Dakota communities for the assessment and treatment of suicidal behaviors and their underlying causes. If you believe there is a suicide risk, contact a professional immediately. Call the suicide crisis hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a family physician, a psychiatrist, a medical emergency room or a community mental health center in your area. 

For more information about suicide prevention in South Dakota or the South Dakota Strategy for Suicide Prevention, please visit

For more information about behavioral health services in your area, contact the DSS Division of Behavioral Health at 605-773-3123 or online at