Rapid City, S.D. (March 13, 2017) – Leaders of three West River organizations – two public, and one private – have formed an alliance to begin a community conversation about identifying appropriate resources and developing solutions to address the increasing mental health needs of western South Dakota.
The alliance is a collaborative effort by Regional Health, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Rapid City Police Department. Regional Health Chief Operating Officer Paulette Davidson, Rapid City Regional Hospital President of Medical Services Mark Harlow, M.D., Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris, and Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom are the founding members of the West River Mental Health Alliance.
“The purpose of this alliance is to bring local, city, county, state, tribal, and private organizations together to explore the need for additional mental health services to serve the residents of West River,” the leaders said in a joint statement. “This is the beginning of an important dialogue to drive opportunities for collaboration with all stakeholders who are profoundly aware of the gaps, and are serious about identifying solutions and the necessary resources to begin addressing these gaps.”
The West River Mental Health Alliance has extended invitations to a kick-off meeting to mental health stakeholders across the community. The meeting, the first of which will be by invitation only, is scheduled for March 22 in Rapid City, S.D. As discussions progress, the alliance will strive to add more stakeholders to ensure that input from the broader mental health community is considered.
Regional Health, the Rapid City Police Department, and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office have been working closely to identify immediate and long-term care solutions for those who are in need of mental health services. The West River Mental Health Alliance will further examine the broader mental health needs within the region.
(Members of the media are invited to interview the founding members prior to the start time of the March 22 meeting. A meeting location and time will be forthcoming.)
Regional Health is an integrated health care system with the purpose of helping patients and communities live well. The organization, with headquarters in Rapid City, S.D., provides community-based health care in more than 20 communities in two states and 32 specialty areas of medicine. As the largest private employer in western South Dakota, Regional Health is comprised of five hospitals, 24 clinic locations and employs nearly 5,000 physicians and caregivers. Regional Health is committed to the future of medicine, with medical training partnerships, a medical residency program, and more than 130 active research studies. For more information, visit regionalhealth.org.
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