2023 Annual Report: HB1079: New S.D. law supports suicide prevention programs

After a concerted effort by many people and organizations, including Lost&Found, a bill funding suicide prevention programs was signed into law by Gov. Kristi Noem on March 23, 2023, after passing through the House Health & Human Services Committee, the Joint Appropriations Committee, the House, and the Senate over the course of the 2023 legislative session.

The text of HB1079. Open a PDF here.

“This is a fundamental shift in how South Dakota approaches suicide prevention and loss survivor support for our next generation,” said Lost&Found CEO/Executive Director Erik Muckey. “At a time when suicide is the leading cause of death for South Dakotans under the age of 29, the S.D. Legislature and Noem Administration overwhelmingly supported, passed, and signed a bill into law that directs state general funds to youth and young adult suicide prevention programs for the first time. This is groundbreaking and will change—and save—lives.”

HB1079 set aside $2 million for the South Dakota Department of Health to use for youth and young adult suicide prevention support programs. The funds are being used for mental health and suicide prevention peer support training in high schools and colleges, for community mental health and suicide prevention data services, and for suicide loss response planning and support services—all of which address strategies outlined in the 2020-2025 SD Suicide Prevention Plan.

The Department of Health selected vendors to support these objectives in August. Lost&Found is one of three organizations (along with Helpline Center and Mountain Plains Evaluation Services) that went through an application process and are now doing the work outlined in the new law.

The law addresses a funding need. The funding for some programs currently fulfilling the peer support objective was set to expire by June 2024. Before this law, there was no state funding source for data services or suicide loss response services for schools in South Dakota.



After receiving funding from the Department of Health in August 2023, Lost&Found went to work immediately to meet statewide mental health and suicide prevention needs. As an organization that supports any and all students, as well as providing tools to administration, staff, and faculty, we focused on three things:

  • Peer2Peer Mentorship: 1-on-1, non-clinical, peer mental health support designed to meet local needs
  • Campus Resilience Index: Dashboards and recommendations built on aggregated suicide prevention data for colleges and universities
  • Suicide Loss Response Plans and Policies: Guidance and consulting provided to campus administrators on best practices and policies for suicide loss response.

Since the passage of HB 1079, 14 institutions of higher education are adopting one or more of these programs with additional efforts in progress going into the 2024-25 academic year.



Read more in the 2023 annual report.

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