605 Strong program off to solid start

PIERRE, S.D. (Press Release) – More than 1,875 South Dakotans have found COVID-19 support and resources since the launch of the 605 Strong program, the South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) announced.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every one of us in South Dakota and it is important to remember there is help available when you don’t know where else to turn,” said Laurie Gill, DSS cabinet secretary. “We are here to help connect you with the programs and resources that you need.”

The 605 Strong program was launched in the spring to help people struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program specifically offers resources and support including crisis intervention and access to the COVID-19 Call Center by calling 211 or visiting 605Strong.com. South Dakotans are able to get the resources they need for stressful topics such as unemployment, housing, health concerns, and financial needs.

“People don’t always want to burden their friends and families with their worries and fears, that’s why the 211 Helpline Center exists. We’re here to listen,” said Helpline Center CEO Janet Kittams. “The 605 Strong program staff are trained to handle mental health crises, provide stress relief, and promote resilience during the pandemic. It’s anonymous, confidential, and free.”

Grant dollars are funding 605 Strong in order to support outreach related to COVID-19. This outreach includes a follow-up program for individuals in acute distress and those in need of supportive contacts, stress management skills, or connection to additional services.