Watertown Area Community Foundation awards grant to tackle rise in suicides  (Audio)

March 21, 2022
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–The Watertown Area Community Foundation recently awarded a $14,000 grant to the Glacial Lakes Suicide Awareness For Everyone, or SAFE Coalition, to implement a public health campaign in Watertown.

It’s being done in conjunction with the South Dakota Department of Social Services, Division of Behavioral Health, and comes as suicide numbers in the city are showing a disturbing trend.

Kelli Rumpza is a Prevention Specialist with the Human Service Agency in Watertown, and was a guest on KWAT ‘s “What’s Up” program this morning. She talked about the rising number of suicides….

Rumpza says statistics show that people suffering from poor mental health often wait years to seek help…..

Rumpza says help is available, whether it be self-help, or the assistance of a professional….

Rumpza says suicides are a problem that won’t go away on their own. She says surveys conducted among teenagers confirmed the rising concern, with an increase among Watertown students in grades 7-12 reporting they’ve had serious thoughts of suicide, or have made a plan to die by suicide.

She says educating, reducing stigma, and giving people more tools to improve their own mental health are steps in the right direction.