Mental health visits have tripled at South Dakota Urban Indian Health

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Compared to this time last year, South Dakota Urban Indian Health has seen behavioral health visits triple.

From isolation anxieties to substance abuse, there’s a variety of reasons why South Dakota Urban Indian Health is seeing an increase in mental health visits.

“You know, obviously COVID, you know, exasperated a lot of things including people’s, you know, mental health,” SDUIH counselor Josh Reinfeld said. “So, we see people that come in with, you know, stress disorders and then just stuff that they’re dealing with, grieve and loss.”

There’s also more accessibility now for help.

“A year ago, with the shutdown, it made it harder to get the services, so now people are actually trying to get them and are reaching out, calling around, and a lot of times we have walk-ins,” SDUIH counselor Brandi Knife said.

When clients do come into Urban Indian Health, the staff makes sure they feel welcome and comfortable.

“One of the things that we always try to do is to make it like a good relative and to be a good relative,” Knife said. “So, when someone comes to the door, we like to offer them some, you know, coffee or some cookies or some snacks of some sort to come sit down and visit and just talk.”

Sometimes just talking is the most important step.

“Whatever you’re feeling and whatever you’re dealing with is normal, you know, grief is normal, anxiety, stress that comes with dealing with a pandemic or whatever you’re dealing with in your life is absolutely normal,” Reinfeld said. “Sometimes we just need a little help getting through those.”

To learn ways of coping with stress, click here for tips from the CDC.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health or having suicidal thoughts, you can call the suicide prevention lifeline at 800-273-8255. You can also call the South Dakota Helpline Center at 211.

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