DSS provides help for the holiday blues



PIERRE – The holiday season can be full of joy, brightness, and happiness, but for many people it can also be a stressful, sad, or lonely time. The Department of Social Services (DSS) has help available to deal with the holiday blues.

“The traditions and celebrations with family and friends can make the season almost magical,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “But we know the hustle and bustle, the prospect of being alone, or missing lost loved ones can take a toll on our mental health. Finding healthy ways to cope with the stress is more important than ever.”

Through the 605 Strong program, the 211 Helpline Center, and publicly funded community mental health centers across South Dakota, help is ready and waiting.

This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be fewer large gatherings and more people than normal may miss far away loved ones they typically gather with for the holidays. Through technology, one option is to gather virtually to see the smiles, hear the voices, and share the cheer of the season.

When it comes to the financial stress of buying gifts, it is helpful to remember it’s the thought that counts. Making gifts by hand or creating a reasonable gift budget and sticking to it are a couple of ways to help reduce the strain.

“We hope that every South Dakotan can experience joy this holiday season,” said Gill. “I encourage anyone who needs support to use the resources DSS has available. If that’s you, please know you’re not alone and there are caring professionals waiting to provide support.”

DSS contracts with 11 community mental health centers across the state offering services to both children and adults. Financial assistance for services at those centers is available for eligible families. You can find the closest community mental health center by going to dss.sd.gov and clicking on the Behavioral Health tab.

For more information please visit 605Strong.com, text ‘605Strong’ to 89811, or simply dial 211 to reach the 211 Helpline Center. 605 Strong program staff are trained to provide stress relief and handle mental health crises. The Helpline Center can also provide referrals to other resources.

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