Helpline Center, Avera partner for Project 437 to raise awareness about suicide prevention

With a mission to boost both physical and mental well-being, an inaugural event, The 437 Project, consists of a team of 12 runners who will run 437 relay-style miles across the state of South Dakota, raising funds and awareness for suicide prevention. Each year, more than 48,000 people in the United States die by suicide, leaving behind thousands of loved ones to endure this life-changing loss.

Janet Kittams, Executive Director of the Helpline Center, is advocating for this partnership on behalf of everyone in South Dakota. “Connecting people to mental health support and hope is at the heart of the Helpline Center’s mission. We are proud to be part of Project 437 to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention throughout South Dakota.

Tomorrow (September 22, 2022), the team of 12 community leaders will begin the 437-mile race from Belle Fourche to Sioux Falls. The race will end on Sunday. The team of 12 community leaders includes:

  • Kristen DeBerg | Cardiovascular Genetic Counselor, Sanford Health
  • Lesley Fite Boltjes | Registered Nurse, Sanford Hospital
  • ryan flogstad | Sergeant, Sioux Falls Police Department
  • Wendy Johnson | Director of Client Services, Electric Paste
  • Greg Koch | Owner and Founder, 605 Running Co.
  • Benson Langat | Therapist, Family Service, Inc.
  • Dr. Whitney Lucas Molitor | Assistant Professor, University of South Dakota
  • Kelly Marshall | Account Risk Manager, Risk Administration Services
  • Alex Pool | Integration Manager, The Helpline Center
  • Matt Smith | Market President, Dacotah Bank in Sioux Falls
  • Paul Ten Haken | Mayor of Sioux Falls
  • Allison Weber | Relationship Manager, Fiserv

As the presenting sponsor of Project 437, Avera continues to lead efforts to educate about the warning signs and raise awareness about suicide prevention in South Dakota. Avera provides inpatient and outpatient services, in addition to other mental health resources, to those who need it most. Matthew Stanley, DO, Avera’s Clinical Vice President for Behavioral Health said, “We thank the 437 Project for this important outreach effort. Avera asks the public to learn the warning signs of suicide and help us save lives through kind and compassionate conversations with loved ones. We have a great new prevention resource at 988. People can call or text anytime to be connected with suicide prevention experts.

For more information about the 437 Project, visit the437project.org.

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