Month: April 2020

Building resilience, even from a distance.

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In a time of social distancing, when Lost&Found’s staff and chapter members are keeping to our own corners for a while to slow the spread of COVID-19, we’ve ramped up our social media efforts to keep serving young adults and our community at a time when mental health needs are as important as ever.

We’re providing content that’s relevant to this moment: 

  • #Resilience101: Through Instagram, we’re sharing daily tips and helpful ways to remain resilient amidst COVID-19 and every day. Following the American Psychological Association’s definition of “resilience,” we regularly share stories that capture what it means to be resilient today (that’s our handle!) in a variety of ways: physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, and so on. Our favorites will be curated into weekly resilience tips sent to your email in the near future!
  • #CreateCommunity: We are working to create community wherever we may be, whether we are “lost,” “found,” or anywhere in the short distance between. Right now, our focus is on creating community in a world mostly operating online. We’re inviting engagement through our channels, helping people understand what online community means to them and creating opportunities to connect. These community opportunities are driven through our Instagram posts and stories, but also through Facebook live sessions hosted each week on our page with community mental health partners. If you want to access these sessions later, you can find the videos posted on Facebook and YouTube.
  • #Sources4Support: Social distancing doesn’t mean we’re all alone, even if we’re apart. We’re sharing resources to help with needs both related to mental health and otherwise. At a time when our mental health ecosystem partners are banding together to address the rising needs of community members and students around the country, we’re compiling information to create a “one-stop” location to ensure resources are immediately available and accessible to those who need them. These resources are made available through the link in our Instagram bio and soon to be shifted onto our website.
  • #SundayStories: These stories highlight what’s going on in the Lost&Found community. Yes, even in the midst of COVID-19, we have some good and exciting news to share! Keep tabs on our Instagram story on Sunday nights to hear the latest from our board, staff, and chapters, and we’ll also post the videos to Facebook and YouTube on Monday mornings. Start your week with Lost&Found! You won’t be disappointed.
  • #MindfulMinute: Lost&Found’s staff members are sharing their own experience navigating COVID-19 and finding ways to be mindful for a minute in these weekly messages. Every Wednesday morning, our team will share out a practice that helps us stay mindful (and motivated!) and go live for one minute on Instagram to share how we apply that practice in our lives. Videos will be posted to Facebook and YouTube by Wednesday afternoon. Our goal is to make mindfulness approachable and give followers a chance to see our team’s work in action. We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday mornings!

If you haven’t yet connected with Lost&Found on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and YouTube, now would be a great time to do so. If you find the content helpful, please comment and share it with someone in your life who may find it useful right now.

We’re building resilience, even from a distance. More importantly, we want to stay tuned into your needs as you navigate a world flipped upside down from COVID-19. If there is any way we can be helpful to you right now, do not hesitate to reach out to me or our staff. We are here to serve students as they have been displaced, but we recognize our responsibility to serve the greater community facing mental health challenges today and throughout the pandemic.

We are here for you when you need us.

Stay tuned for more updates to come, and we hope we’ll see you online. Thank you for your support and partnership with Lost&Found! It means the world right now.

In service,

Erik Muckey
CEO/Executive Director


T. Denny Sanford commits to $300k gift to support Lost&Found’s mental health education and research efforts

SIOUX FALLS, SD — South Dakota businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has committed to a three-year, $300,000 gift to support Lost&Found, a 501(c)3 nonprofit mental health education and research organization based in Sioux Falls. The gift will be distributed in three $100,000 annual increments, starting in April 2020.

Sanford’s commitment will allow Lost&Found to connect over 25,000 college-age adults with resilience education by 2022, establish groundbreaking student mental health research efforts statewide and regionally, and strengthen partnerships across the mental health ecosystem to improve access to preventative mental health resources for the region’s young adults (ages 14-35).

“We thank Denny Sanford for his generous contribution to Lost&Found,” said Dr. Anne Kelly, Lost&Found’s board chair and tenured professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Psychology at Dakota Wesleyan University. “The gift is especially meaningful at this time as we cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. While sudden, significant change and uncertainty have the potential to increase vulnerability to mental health challenges, they also allow us to focus on positive examples of collective caring and connectedness so important to fostering resilience. This gift will allow us to strengthen programs to build resilience through adversity and improve the well-being of our state’s young adults and, particularly, college students.”

Lost&Found’s goals align with one of Sanford’s philanthropic priorities: seeking a scientific understanding of empathy and compassion, including how empathy and compassion can be increased to change people and the world. Through Sanford’s commitment, Lost&Found will build skills in a similar trait—resilience—as part of its efforts to put an end to suicide for young adults in South Dakota, the surrounding region, and the United States.

The first year of Sanford’s funding commitment will allow Lost&Found to hire top-tier talent in Sioux Falls and the surrounding region to advise student leaders and campus administrators, refine and deliver new mental health programs, and implement a five-year mental health research strategy with college campuses in South Dakota and surrounding states.

The remaining two years of the commitment will allow Lost&Found to partner with student leaders, campus administrators, and community mental health resources to pilot, test, and evaluate innovative programs that meet rising campus needs. Ultimately, Lost&Found seeks to match Sanford’s commitment with a variety of funding sources to meet its goal of reaching 25,000 students with resilience education resources by 2022.

“Mr. Sanford’s commitment to Lost&Found and our work to meet rising, unprecedented mental health needs for young adults will forever change our organization and the region’s mental health ecosystem for the better,” says Lost&Found Executive Director & CEO Erik Muckey. “Lost&Found is proud to partner with incredible mental health organizations in Sioux Falls and around the country, and we are ready to match Mr. Sanford’s catalytic generosity with additional support from the community. A new era of mental health is rising for young adults in our region, and in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are more than hopeful than ever that this new commitment will create a major impact.”


Lost&Found delivers resilience education and mental health resources through student-led campus chapters at the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University, University of Sioux Falls, Dakota Wesleyan University, and Augustana University. Founded in 2010, Lost&Found takes a data-driven, strengths-based approach to suicide prevention efforts, delivering research tools that allow campus administrators to quickly understand and respond to student mental health needs with programs, policies, and people.


Heidi Marttila-Losure
Communications Director