PIERRE, S.D. – Considering the many negative effects of senior isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for individuals to know how to reach out for help and what services are available through the South Dakota Department of Human Services (DHS) and the South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS).

Elders who are homebound may feel anxious and uncertain about how they will get their medications, meals, and other necessary services.

DHS Secretary Shawnie Rechtenbaugh said, “Losing in-person contact with the health care system and the opportunity for social interaction puts homebound elders in the state at risk for getting progressively more ill, lonely, and depressed.”

Information on companion services, nutrition assistance, resources, and options counseling are available by calling Dakota at Home at 1-833-663-9671.

Help is available for those who are struggling with mental health issues during the pandemic.

“These are incredibly stressful times for everyone, but it can hit especially hard for seniors and have a dramatic effect on their mental health,” said DSS Secretary Laurie Gill. “Assistance is available for anyone struggling to cope and there is no shame in asking for help.”

It is vitally important if an individual, friend, or family member is feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, or anxiety, to call 1.800-273-TALK (8255) or text “Hello” to 741741.

Additional resources, including access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment options, are available at dss.sd.gov, by calling 605-367-5236 or via email to DSSbh@state.sd.us.

Source: SD>GOV

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