Editor’s note: In the second half of 2019, Lost&Found is expanding its effort to end suicide for young adults in the United States through four significant actions: Adding new campus chapters, refocusing its programming on resilience, expanding its mental health research efforts, and seeking new sources of financial support. This is the second in a four-part series looking at those efforts.

Lost&Found’s chapters, advisers, and campus leaders will begin the school year with a new focus on resilience as they implement new programming on South Dakota’s college campuses.

The new framework has three parts: Resilience for Self, Resilience for Others, and Resilience for Community.

  • The Resilience for Self program brings 90-minute, face-to-face seminars to Lost&Found partnering campuses. These seminars are designed to provide practical skill development to improve everyday resilience, ranging from meditation and yoga nidra practices to stress management tools to writing as a tool for mindfulness to personal strengths tests and more.
  • The Resilience for Others program is a comprehensive, peer advising training designed for any college student to provide support to friends and peers. The program connects students with a variety of training from Lost&Found’s off-campus partners—such as the Helpline Center or American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)—and peer advising training developed by Lost&Found to help others in their time of need.
  • The Resilience for Community program encompasses Lost&Found’s long-time efforts on college campuses: creating community for students to connect on the issue of mental health and advocate for student needs. Chapters lead and develop programs that drive community advocacy, increase awareness of student needs, improve policy, and bring together students across different needs and backgrounds.

Lost&Found’s mission hasn’t changed. The organization is still focused on its vision of ending suicide for young adults in the United States. But, a newfound focus on resilience allows the prevention efforts to start far earlier, long before an individual suicide is a consideration.

Those working to prevent suicide know that treatment can help. But it can’t help if people don’t access it, and many people won’t seek treatment because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, including depression. This programming’s focus on resilience is in part an effort to work around that stigma—because there’s no stigma in seeking to be resilient in the face of life’s challenges.

And, beyond reaching those who need treatment but wouldn’t otherwise seek it, this focus on resilience also provides all participants with more tools for maintaining good mental health or improving it.  

Over the course of the summer, student leaders have been trained on the framework, how to lead and operate a L&F chapter, how to collaborate with institutional partners such as student affairs, and how to tailor programs to meet student mental health needs.

“The town halls this summer really helped me expand my knowledge on how to be a leader and to help others,” says Ashley Fuerst, University of South Dakota Chapter Vice President. “Being able to video chat with students from different campuses and Lost&Found staff was beneficial, because we got to bounce ideas off each other and really get to know one another. This is my first time being in an [student organization] executive role, and after this summer, I feel prepared to represent what Lost&Found is genuinely about.”

We’re ready to launch, and so are our new programs. We’re hosting a Lost&Found Launch Event from 5 to 7 pm Thursday, September 12, 2019, at the Fernson Tap Room in Sioux Falls.

Come hear more about the way Lost&Found is ramping up its efforts this fall and the years to come!