Suicide

In The Moment ... October 24, 2019 Show 686 Hour 2

"Suicide and Depression: Let's Talk" is the topic of Thursday's On Call with the Prairie Doc.

Dr. Rick Holm joins In The Moment from the Jeanine Baysinger Studio at SDSU in Brookings to preview the new episode on SDPB-TV at 7:00 p.m Central.

  Education and healthcare reporting on SDPB is supported by Regional Health, helping patients and communities live well

News: Sep 7 - 13

Sep 13, 2019
SDPB

This week you will hear about the tornado and flood damage that struck South Dakota this week. In addition, South Dakota has joined more than 30 other states in seeing vaping-related acute respiratory illness, and new research shows that the suicide rate in the ag industry is five times higher than the national average. This and more on the In the Moment News Podcast.

Suicide Memorial Planned For Rapid City

Sep 12, 2019

This week is National Suicide Awareness week. South Dakota ranks 6 in the nation for suicide. The Front Porch Coalition in Rapid City offers services for people effected by suicide. They’re marking awareness week with a memorial butterfly release and film screening. 

Suicide Prevention

Sep 10, 2019
SDSP

In the Moment ... September 10, 2019 Show 655 Hour 2

Research shows that the suicide rate in the ag industry is five times higher than the national average. Among the reasons: worries about income, social isolation, and the ever-present stigma related to seeking mental health services. 

In The Moment ... August 9, 2018 Show 397 Hour 2 

Suicide rates continue to rise throughout the country, and here in South Dakota. How can we help our neighbors--and ourselves--as many begin to consider the state to be in a mental health crisis.

SDPB's Jackie Hendry joins In The Moment host Lori Walsh to discuss the most recent numbers, and how two communities are responding to the growing need.

Helene Duhamel

As suicide rates continue to rise across the state, many local volunteer groups are stretched thin. Lack of funding can be a challenge as they work to prevent future loss and bring some peace to those left behind. For one Rapid City group, that’s where the flamingos come in. 

The Front Porch Coalition is flocking lawns with plastic flamingos as one of its fundraisers ahead of suicide awareness month in September.

South Dakota Breaks Record for Suicide Deaths in 2017

Jul 24, 2018
South Dakota Department of Health

In 2017, South Dakota saw the highest number of suicides in state history. This is the second time the state has broken its own suicide record in less than five years.

The state Department of Health reports 192 South Dakotans died by suicide in 2017. State epidemiologist Dr. Josh Clayton says the last time the state broke this record was in 2015 with 173 suicide deaths.

“In 2017 we did see about 80% of the suicides from male individuals," he says. "The highest rate of suicides did come among the population of 20 to 24 year-olds.”

South Dakota Suicide Rates Increasing

Jun 8, 2018
NBC News

Suicide numbers in South Dakota have increased substantially in recent years. According to a recent report from the Centers For Disease Control, the state's suicide rates have increased 44.5 percent between 1999 and 2016. Experts say there are a number of factors responsible. 

Suicide rates have been climbing nationally for a number of years but even higher rates have been seen throughout the Midwest. Doctor Randy Quevillon is the USD department chair of Psychology. He says rural areas see the highest density of suicides.

Jackie Hendry

South Dakota has the third highest suicide rate for young people in the country, and overall suicide rates in the state are on the rise.

One woman from Presho has seen the impact of suicide on small communities first hand. As a student at the University of South Dakota, Chesney Garnos researched suicide and bullying. Now, she speaks to students in schools around the state. 

At the beginning of her presentation, Chesney Garnos asks students to imagine this scenario:

Crazy Horse School is receiving a federal grant worth $107,631 to help students cope with suicide on the Pine Ridge Reservation. This is the third grant from the US Department of Education to Pine Ridge schools after tribal leaders declared a state of emergency following a string of suicides.

Project SERV grants target schools where kids experience significant violent or traumatic events. The latest funding adds two counselors at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee to help restore the learning environment.

Secretary John King leads the US Department of Education.

Photo by Jim Kent

In spite of losing their lands to settlers and the federal government, being displaced to reservations, having their ceremonies banned for nearly a century, and enduring the frequent persecutions of life in Christian and government boarding schools, the Lakota people have managed to retain much of their culture.  

SDPB’s Jim Kent recently visited the Pine Ridge Reservation to observe an eagle feather ceremony and spoke with 2 Lakota men about the tradition’s significance and its importance in today’s world.

Chynna Lockett

In 2015 tribal officials declared a state of emergency on Pine Ridge following a sharp increase in the number of suicides. Officials say last year there were more than 20 young people who took their own lives on Pine Ridge.

The Bear Program is a grassroots group on the front lines of the suicide epidemic.   The volunteer group takes part in both direct crisis intervention and in powerful staged performances that address suicide head on.  

Courtesy The Center for Mind-Body Medicine

As parents, teachers, school administrators and tribal officials continue to seek solutions to the youth suicide epidemic that’s plagued the Pine Ridge Reservation for years, health organizations from off the reservation are also offering their help.

SDPB’s Jim Kent visited with representatives of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine and workers at the Pine Ridge Boarding School to discuss how the suicide issue has impacted students and “supervisors” and what’s being done to address the problem.

Congressional Officials Meet With Pine Ridge Youth On Suicide

Nov 20, 2015
Chynna Lockett

Congresswoman Kristi Noem spent a day on Pine Ridge listening to the concerns of Lakota youth who are dealing with the tribes suicide epidemic.  Twelve Pine Ridge students have committed suicide this year.
 
Tribal officials are concerned that one key effort in combating suicide,  The Sweet Grass Program, is about to run out of funding.  
 
Tribal leaders praise Noem for her efforts to help the youth of Pine Ridge, but they say more much needs to be done.

The Indian Health Service is giving nearly $1 million to prevent methamphetamine use and suicide in South Dakota. The funds are part of more than $13 million awarded nationwide.

 

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Investigators are trying to piece together factors that left a family of six dead in a murder-suicide. Fire engulfed a home near Platte one week ago, and responders found six bodies inside. Preliminary autopsy results show Nicole Westerhuis and four children died of shotgun wounds. Authorities suspect husband and father Scott Westerhuis killed them before shooting himself.

Scott Westerhuis was business manager for an organization called Mid Central Education Cooperative. Recent audits reveal financial issues with grant money that funnels to the group.

South Dakota authorities say four children and their mother found dead in a house fire last week are homicide victims. Attorney General Marty Jackley says preliminary autopsy results show Nicole, Kailey, Jaeci, Connor, and Michael Westerhuis died of shotgun wounds.

Officials say the sixth person dead is husband and father Scott Westerhuis. He also died of a shotgun wound, and authorities suspect suicide.

On September 17th flames engulfed a home just south of Platte, South Dakota. After first responders put out the fire, officials found a family of six dead.

One of South Dakota’s US Senators says he wants provisions in a new education bill that help address suicide among Native American populations. Senator John Thune says he’s introduced two amendments to the Every Child Achieves Act. 

US Senator John Thune says suicide on American Indian Reservations is an epidemic. He says the death rate for Native American youth is four times the national average. 

Purple Heart Veterans Hold Annual Conference

Jun 21, 2015

The military order of the Purple Heart chapter of Sioux Falls held its 6th annual conference on Saturday. The 30 some purple heart Veterans were all wounded in combat from WWII to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

From their bright purple shirts, to their wheelchairs, canes, and service dogs, Purple Heart veterans share a bond. Department Commander Mark T. Williamson says the experience of being wounded in action lasts long after the conflict stops. 

The federal government has awarded a $218,000 grant to the Pine Ridge School for suicide prevention.
Bill Mendoza is with the U.S. Department of Education.  He says the grant money will help restore a learning environment at the school.

Dakota Midday: BEAR Project Founder 'Tiny' DeCory

May 26, 2015
Chynna Lockett SDPB

The Pine Ridge Reservation is struggling with a rash of youth suicides. There have been at least 10 since December. And according to the federal Indian Health Service, there have been 103 attempts by people ages 12 to 24 this past December through March. In February, Oglala Sioux Tribe president John Yellow Bird Steele declared an emergency on the reservation in response to the suicides.

Rapid City Draws Awareness For Suicide Prevention Week

May 22, 2015
Chynna Lockett

It is national suicide prevention week.

About a dozen groups held an event in Rapid City to draw attention to suicide prevention and mental health.

Click play bellow to hear more.

 

Preventing Suicide

Sep 11, 2014
Dakota Wesleyan University

This is National Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of all deaths in the United States and the ninth leading cause in South Dakota. Dakota Wesleyan University psychology professor Anne Kelly is conducting research on suicide with the aim of improving prevention efforts and its contributing causes.

"Coming Back With Wes Moore"

May 12, 2014

SDPB-TV airs "Coming Back with Wes Moore" for three consecutive Tuesdays beginning May 13 at 7:00 p.m.

Lakota Voice Project/BEAR Program

Dec 12, 2012

The BEAR Project is a theater group at Pine Ridge that performs graphic and moving skits that work to reach youth.  The group is made up of a number of young suicide survivors.  The group has been performing as part of the Lakota Photo Project.  They'll perform in Rapid City at the Dahl Arts Center on Friday, December 14.  Jason Alley joined Dakota Midday to talk about the Lakota Voice Project and the BEAR Project.