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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at

Department of Social Services looks to expand behavioral health services

Part of the proposed South Dakota Public Safety Improvement Act is providing more treatment options for drug and alcohol abuse offenders. Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon with the Department of Social Services spoke to members of the Senate Health and Human Services committee Wednesday morning about expanding the state’s behavioral health services. Malsam-Rysdon says the department will play a big role if the proposed initiative is passed, as it will mean more funding for substance abuse treatment. She says providing mental health care to those in need can help keep citizens healthy.

“It’s relatively well acknowledged that behavioral health services have been underfunded historically. Obviously, when people have behavioral health needs and if they can get care early and take care of those needs and continue to work, continue to go to school, continue to be at home in their communities, we just know people do better when they can get the services to do that,” Malsam-Rysdon says.

Malsam-Rysdon says the department will take a regional approach to expanding behavioral services and will also look at increasing the amount of crisis intervention centers.