Mission: Our mission is to be dedicated to helping those people who have tragically lost someone to suicide while working to reduce the incidence of suicide within our community, through available education, awareness, and prevention services.
Goal: Expand the services and programs provided by the Front Porch Coalition throughout the counties in the Black Hills (Pennington, Meade, Lawrence, Butte, Custer, Fall River) within the next two-three years and throughout Western South Dakota and Eastern Wyoming within the next five years.
Values: The Front Porch Coalition provides services in a manner which are confidential and professional without any form of stigma that still surrounds suicide and mental health.
The Front Porch Coalition started back in 2002 after many conversations took place around this kitchen table in the home of a suicide loss survivor. Suicide survivors in the community came together to find support for themselves and other survivors while also working to figure out how to prevent additional suicides from continuing to occur. As those conversations took place for many months, the number of people joining the efforts increased.
Eventually this kitchen table became too small for this growing group of concerned and devoted community members. The group knew it needed to formalize and found another location to meet, so they moved into an office at the Lutheran Social Services facility in Rapid City. The group formalized into a 501©(3) nonprofit organization in 2002, hired a staff member to direct day-to-day operations, and grew into the only suicide prevention agency in South Dakota whose sole mission is to support suicide survivors while providing suicide prevention and education trainings and awareness programs.
Those involved with the organization have always maintained the focus that we need to go back to being a community of neighbors who used to sit on our ‘Front Porch’ and talk to our neighbors about our life struggles; where we would help each other try to solve our problems; and gather to support each other through difficult times. That is how the Front Porch Coalition became what it is today; a place where we help and support each other through difficult times.
Gradually the organization grew in staff size, service area, and programming. In 2006, the L.O.S.S. (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors) Team was introduced as a new service provided in partnership with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. This unique all volunteer first response team goes directly to the scene of a suicide with law enforcement to help support survivors affected by the traumatic loss to suicide. This L.O.S.S. Team is now likely the longest running L.O.S.S. Team in the world. These three ladies were three of the original founders of the Front Porch Coalition who sat around this table. They started the L.O.S.S. Team and are still active on the Team. L.O.S.S. Team members facilitate suicide survivor support groups. The L.O.S.S. Team now responds in Meade and Lawrence Counties.
Today the organization works in collaboration with law enforcement, along with many other service providers in the community to work to prevent the incidence of suicide, providing suicide prevention trainings throughout South Dakota. Over the years, funding has increased, with federal, state, and local sources changing. Unfortunately, most recently funding from local government sources and even the United Way has ended. The organization will continue its efforts, with the help of those who know and understand its importance in the community.
Suicide prevention seeks to reduce the factors that increase suicide risk while increasing the protective factors from suicide.
1) Provide education at every level about suicide prevention and its causes.
2) Improve services to survivors of suicide (people who have lost a loved one to suicide).
3) Facilitate collaboration among caregivers who work in mental health and suicide prevention and treatment to reduce suicide and the impact of its causes.
4) Create public awareness of the incidence of suicide to prevent suicide, reduce the impact of its causes, and improve the support to survivors of suicide.
5) Create public awareness on the need for mental health care that will effectively create appropriate help-seeking behaviors that will reduce the incidence of suicide.