Mental Illness Awareness Week was this past week

PIERRE, S.D.(DRGNews)- This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Janet Kittams, CEO of South Dakota’s Helpline Center, says it can be difficult to start a conversation about someone’s– including your own– mental health.

She says people may not be aware of how long a mental health issue has been disrupting them.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Helpline was activated across the US about three months ago. Since them, Kittams says use of the helpline service has increased.

Kittams says 988 operates through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 1-800 number (1.800.273.8255)– much like 911 for emergencies. She says people can access assistance through 988 by chatting online, calling or texting.