South Dakota Behavioral Health Needs Assessment & Gap Analysis

Examining South Dakota’s behavioral health system

South Dakota is working to develop a complete picture of its entire behavioral health system to help guide improvement efforts. Overseen by South Dakota’s Department of Social Services, Division of Behavioral Health, HSRI is undertaking a thorough study of the system and will provide guidance to move it in the right direction.


The study’s findings and recommendations will help guide the state’s planning efforts to improve outcomes for people in South Dakota.

  • Evaluation
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Systems Change

Conducting a full and inclusive assessment

Our study team—which includes members from our partner Burns & Associates—is looking at both publicly and privately funded services in the state with a special emphasis on disparities related to access as well as impacts and recommendations related to COVID-19 and potential future pandemics. We’ll be reviewing previous work on the system, and reaching out to interview people with experience of the system at all levels—including state staff, directors and staff of provider organizations, local advocacy groups, and people who’ve used the services themselves. We began conducting our series of interviews, listening sessions, and focus groups in September 2020. 

Identifying needs and gaps

We’ll also be identifying the number of people with behavioral health conditions in the state, the number using existing services and the locations of those services, populations that may be having a harder time accessing services, and workforce issues or shortages that are affecting service delivery.

Turning findings into action

After we produce the final report in December 2020, we’ll work alongside the Division of Behavioral Health to develop an implementation plan. The plan will lay out the chosen actions to address the system’s needs and gaps. It will include short- and long-range strategies for moving the system in the right direction, and it will identify the people and groups responsible for overseeing the plan and overseeing specific actions, the feasibility and costs of the different actions, and the measures the state can use to track its progress.


South Dakota’s Department of Social Services, Division of Behavioral Health

Project Partner(s):

Burns & Associates

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