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Helping With Mental Health Needs Also Part of Recovery After Canton Flooding

CANTON, S.D. — Along the streets of this southeast South Dakota community, piles of carpeting, plywood and house furnishings pinpoint where recent heavy rains overwhelmed sump pumps, storm sewers and basements.

Inside the Canton United Methodist Church, where the state of South Dakota has set up a volunteer service center, actual pinpoints on maps show the widespread nature of the damage in Canton and throughout Lincoln County.

But for the Department of Public Safety’s Cari Leidholt who is coordinating the volunteer effort, those pinpoints mean real people with real needs—and not just the need to muck out muddy basements.

“We’ve had a high demand, this disaster, especially for emotional and spiritual needs,” Leidholt said. “That entails having the right kind of people going out and just talking to those folks. It might be that just show up and ask, ‘So, I see you’ve had a lot of damage here.’”

Lt. Gov. Matt Michaels, a veteran of the 2011 flood fight on the Missouri River, says there is help available if the cleanup becomes overwhelming. “It is not a sign of weakness to reach out for help. It’s a sign of strength,” Michels said. “We all have challenges. And if we have behavioral health needs, we may not know it.”

Michels and Leidholt emphasize that residents impacted by the flood call the Help Line at 211. People or groups or interested in assisting in the cleanup can also call the same number.

Michels and Leidholt briefed reporters on the cleanup progress in Lincoln and Union Counties Thursday.

1140 KSOO-AM

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