SD Welcomes the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Posted 7/21/22 (Thu)

Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics is excited to welcome 988 to South Dakota. We received the following information from the South Dakota Helpline Center regarding this service. We hope that it is read, shared and (most importantly) used by those who need it.

On July 16, 2022, we in South Dakota joined the rest of the United States in beginning to use the 988-dialing code. 988 will be the new three-digit number for call (multiple languages), text or chat (English only) that connects people to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, where compassionate, accessible care and support are available for anyone experiencing mental health–related distress. In South Dakota, the 988 Lifeline will be answered by the Helpline Center.

People can use 988 if they are having thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crises, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

The Lifeline works! Since the Helpline Center began answering the Lifeline in 2005, it has served as an invaluable resource, helping thousands of people overcome suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress every day. With the transition to 988, these life-saving services will be even easier to reach.

In preparation for the transition of the Lifeline to 988, the Helpline Center, the South Dakota Department of Social Services and partners from across the state in the public and private sectors are working together to provide guidance and resources to make the 988 transition easier.


  • The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and its messaging task force developed the 988 Messaging Framework to provide guidance on developing 988-related messaging. We encourage you to closely review these guidelines. The framework provides strategies related to the timing of messaging before and after the transition to 988 in July. It also discusses the importance of understanding how 988 works locally, following communication best practices, and tailoring 988-related messages for specific audiences.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in co-sponsorship with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) has worked with partners across several critical industries to create a holistic view of readiness for the implementation of 988 for states, territories, tribes, crisis contact centers, public safety answering points (PSAPs) and behavioral health providers. Through these collaborative efforts, 988 Implementation Guidance Playbooks were created for these critical groups to support implementation of 988.

988 in South Dakota

  • 988 will be answered by the Helpline Center and staffed by individuals with advanced degrees and experience in behavioral health.
  • 988 in South Dakota is a partnership between SD Department of Social Services, Division of Behavioral Health and Helpline Center. DSS has provided the planning support, development of the 988 plan and initial funding.
  • 988 Implementation Plan for South Dakota was finalized in January 2022 with the Behavioral Health Crisis Response Stakeholder Coalition. The Stakeholder group has key members from behavioral health crisis response and prevention services across the state.
  • Ramp up and first year funding needs (March 2022 – June 2023) will be provided using currently available one-time crisis funds and a SAMHSA Grant. Future funding options are being reviewed based on findings from an independent consultant report contracted to review the funding needs of 988.
  • 988 will have the ability to support follow-up calls to callers and can include follow-up calls from mobile crisis team referrals, discharges from inpatient units or other programs to support care coordination.
  • 988 will Partner with 911 Public Safety Access Points to work together on seamlessly transferring calls to each other.
  • For additional information please visit

In South Dakota, because of the hard work and partnership between the Helpline Center and the Department of Social Services, we are poised to be ready for an increased call volume in South Dakota. Through great partnerships with entities such as 911 call centers, Community Mental Health Centers, psychiatric acute hospitals, individuals with lived experience, law enforcement, substance use disorder treatment agencies and a host of many more stakeholders we are ready to share the message of 988 and hope.

While this is an exciting time to reimagine how we provide crisis services in the South Dakota, the full vision of a transformed crisis care system with 988 at its core will not be built overnight. Transformation of this scale will take time, and we must all work together to make it happen. It is important that we speak with one voice about 988 to ensure clear understanding about what it is and how it will work. We look forward to working with all of you to bring these critical services to our community.