Governor Noem has prioritized improving mental health for all South Dakotans. We must focus on expanding prevention programs and enhancing rehabilitation options. Investments in mental and behavioral health go hand in hand with these efforts.
Since taking office, Governor Noem has:
- Issued executive orders expanding flexibility in telehealth so that South Dakotans can access services as quickly as possible – and successfully brought legislation to codify these flexibilities permanently.
- Worked with former South Dakota Chief Justice Gilbertson to create a mental health court in Minnehaha County.
- Created a multiagency state task force to develop a comprehensive plan to prevent suicide in South Dakota, including on our reservations.
Governor Noem is also investing $15 million over the next four years to support the development and expansion of regional behavioral health centers statewide. This will build on previous investments in short-term mental health services in Yankton, Watertown, and Pennington County.
Without comprehensive regional supports in place, individuals in crisis are often intercepted by law enforcement or emergency departments. These new, integrated regional behavioral health centers will include crisis stabilization, residential substance use disorder treatment services, and transitional housing.
In South Dakota, we pride ourselves on being strong and handling whatever comes at us. But too often, we forget that even the strong need help sometimes. We must end the stigma around mental health – and our policies must reflect this.