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Mental Health

This page offers a collection of resources and information related to mental health that may be of use to educators and the general public.

Project AWARE
The South Dakota Department of Education was awarded an $8.7 million Project AWARE grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grant is a partnership with the South Dakota Department of Social Services – Division of Behavioral Health. The departments are partnering with school districts and community mental health centers to improve access to mental health services, train educational professionals, increase family and community awareness, and help youth develop healthy behavioral skills and mental wellness.
  • Project AWARE
  • No-cost trainings available to all South Dakota schools
    • NAMI Ending the Silence Program
      NAMI-SD (National Alliance on Mental Illness-South Dakota) is a partner in the Project AWARE grant and offers this 50-minute program, which is appropriate for middle and high school students. In the presentation, a young adult living with a mental illness tells their story about mental health challenges, including what hurt and what helped, and how they are living in recovery. A lead presenter also shares information that helps students understand mental health conditions and warning signs, as well as how to talk to caring adults to get help for themselves and their friends. Questions? Contact Mallory Flanigan, South Dakota’s Ending the Silence coordinator, at 605-271-1871.
    • Trauma-informed Communities
      Schools and school districts may request trainings for educators or school communities by contacting the Advocacy and Prevention Program Director at the Children’s Home Society (CHS) to provide the date, time, location, and desired training option. One or all options are available to districts. Virtual options are being developed. Tifanie Petro at Children’s Home Society would be contacted to schedule a session at Tifanie.petro@chssd.org.
    • Youth Mental Health First Aid
      Designed for adults who regularly interact with adolescents (teachers, administrators, coaches), this eight-hour program introduces participants to the risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge. YMHFA meets the suicide awareness and prevention training requirement for educator certification. To request a Youth Mental Health First Aid training for your school, complete this form. Questions? Contact Jana Sprenger at DSS’s Division of Behavioral Health, 605-367-5236.
Suicide Awareness and Prevention
Together, we can prevent suicide. Suicide is a leading cause of preventable death in South Dakota. The state had the 6th highest suicide rate in the nation in 2017. Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have harmful lasting effects on individuals, families, and communities. While its causes are complex and determined by multiple factors, the goal of suicide prevention is simple: reduce factors that increase risk (risk factors) and increase factors that promote resilience (protective factors).
South Dakota Regional Community Mental Health Centers
South Dakota’s Community Mental Health Centers provide mental health services to youth and adults across the state. Services include screenings and assessments, case management, individual therapy, group therapy, and crisis intervention. Youth whose families meet programmatic and financial eligibility guidelines or who have considerable personal circumstances may qualify for state-funded services.

For more information on mental health, please visit the South Dakota Department of Social Services’ Mental Health Services webpage.