South Dakota DSS urges people to seek help in crisis situations

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PIERRE, S.D. (KCAU) – During this period of uncertainty and stress, the South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) is urging people to seek help when they need it. 

Laurie Gill, DSS Cabinet Secretary, said it is important that people take steps for themselves and others to seek help in crisis situations.

“Anxiety about the current health emergency, financial stress, and isolation from friends, family, and support systems can cause major issues for many South Dakotans,” Gill said. “Help with mental health concerns or substance use disorders is readily available for whoever needs it.”

While everyone reacts differently to stressful situations like the COVID-19 outbreak and required social distancing, the DSS said some may have heightened feelings of worry, fear, uncertainty, boredom, frustration, anger, depression, or a desire to use alcohol or drugs to cope.

It is important to recognize those feelings and find healthy coping mechanisms, the DSS said.

To find help in your area, click here.

If a friend, family member or yourself is feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression or anxiety, please reach out to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255) or text “Hello” to 741741.

“While it may feel like you are alone, please know that we are all in this together,” Gill said. “There is help available to listen and provide the support you need.”

Stress can go beyond the individual and have serious impacts on families and communities, the DSS said. Some may turn to drugs and alcohol to cope and the incidence of child abuse and neglect can worsen.

To report child abuse or neglect, call 1.877.244.0864. Intake Specialists will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. If reporting an emergency situation before 8 a.m., after 5 p.m., on the weekends, or during a holiday, please contact your local law enforcement.

For those dealing with substance use issues, call 1.800.920.4343 or text “ONMETH” to 898211 for immediate assistance.

“During these unprecedented times, it can be easy to slip into behaviors that are harmful to yourself or others,” Gill said. “Please reach out to those you know who may be having a difficult time, or if you are experiencing problems yourself, please seek the assistance you need. There is no shame in asking for help.”

For more information, please visit or connect with the DSS on Facebook.

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