Month: October 2020

Lost&Found’s Panel Discussion on the Future of Mental Health: VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT

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This is a transcript of a conversation with four mental health leaders from around the state of South Dakota discussing the future of mental health and suicide prevention efforts for young adults 14-35. In the conversation are Sheri Nelson, Helpline Center; Tosa Two heart, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board; Angela Drake, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – South Dakota Chapter; and Amber Reints, Avera Behavioral Health. It was moderated by Nathan Hofer.

The event started with the playing of a video about Lost&Found’s chapters, which hadn’t played correctly in the day’s previous live session.

This has been auto-generated, so there might be some transcription errors. 

 

Wendy Mamer  00:02

I got involved with Lost&Found when we as administrators and faculty were having a lot of conversations surrounding student mental health. We really noticed a need for a student led mental health group.

 

Brooke Poppe  00:14

Executive leadership are all students. And so it really is students run by the students. Every semester, there is something new. So they do a great job of being innovative and supportive.

 

Hailey Nold  00:26

I think the chapter acts as sort of a liaison between the students and the faculty and other mental health resources.

 

Michaela Ahrenholtz  00:33

It’s becoming a place where I’ve been able to connect with other people across different campuses, within the campus.

 

Dallas Doane  00:42

So what we do is we have, you know, our meetings where it’s an open session for students to you know, talk about what’s going on what’s going on in their lives, what’s going on, on campus or in the nation as well. But also, then we host some fun events to really build, you know, our resilience for self, resilience for others, resilience for community.

 

Nathan Hofer  00:58

Our campus chapters are an important part of what we do, because they focus in on creating a community and a culture where we can advocate and be more aware of our mental health needs. We’re talking about things. We’re doing fundraisers, we’re connecting with administration and faculty, students, staff. We’re trying to be engaged in the day to day aspects of the students’ lives.

 

Kayden Hoeke  01:18

We’ll teach you, we will help you in your role to be an advocate. And you could have come in with zero skills and still come out the best advocate that we’ve ever had.

 

Nathan Hofer  02:24

Hello, everyone, and still Thursday, Happy Thursday, everyone, happy Lost&Found Day. I’ll say that all day because it’s true. If you’re in Sioux Falls it’s happy Lost&Found day, but you can celebrate wherever you’re at, too. So I’m so excited to be able to be here with you all for Voices of Resilience, our special edition of Voices of Resilience, as we are bringing in for our first ever panel of folks here to talk about the future of mental health in our region. So my name is Nathan Hofer. And I work for the Lost&Found Association as the Director of Campus Operations. So if you don’t know who Lost&Found is and what we’re about, we are focused on preventative mental health we’re focused on, we’re focused on being on the front side and building resilience in people so that when life throws them, the series of hardships that we’re, we’re in a series of hardships right now. But we are prepared to deal with that. And we get to work with some awesome partners. And we have those folks here with us today. Not all of our partners, but some of our great partners that we that we work with, and I’m going to bring them up in just a second.  But I do want to give a shout out here really quick to our sponsors who are sponsoring Voices of Resilience, the Astrup Family Foundation, and American Bank and Trust. We are really grateful for your generosity, and your willingness to, you know, give back to the work that we’re doing in our communities. So enough from me. But, you know, we can talk about Lost&Found all day. In fact, I do that often. But more importantly, I’m going to bring up our guests.  So we have Angela Drake with AFSP. We have Sheri Nelson, with the Helpline Center. We have Tosa Two Heart with Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Health Board, and we have Amber Reints with Avera Behavioral Health. And I probably said your last names wrong. I’m so sorry. I remember I said your last name wrong. I can tell

 

Amber Reints  04:22

you did good.

 

Nathan Hofer  04:25

Awesome. Well, I gave your your names here. But why don’t you all just tell us a little bit more about yourself and the organizations you work for then we’ll dive into the conversation after that. And we’ll just go down the line that I introduced you all in.

 

Angela Drake  04:41

I am Angela Drake with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or AFSP, a tongue-twister. We are a national organization made up of chapters. So what we do is we need to raise funds to help fund research education, advocacy and support of loss survivors. So we work to spread hope to all of those affected by suicide and mental health, all across the all across the country. But most importantly, my work is done here in South Dakota, supporting our communities here.

 

Sheri Nelson  05:29

Hi, my name is Sheri Nelson. I am the Suicide Prevention Director at the Helpline Center. And so we have 211, which is statewide. So we have a database full of resources for individuals. We also answer the Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. And we are the only accredited crisis line in the State of South Dakota. We’re accredited by a AAS and so American Association of Suicidology. And so if anyone calls the 1-800-273-8255 number, you will reach someone actually in South Dakota. And we also do we do prevention, intervention and postvention work. So prevention work, we do a lot of trainings, suicide prevention trainings, we do mental health, first aid trainings, and a variety of other things. We also work with survivors, so people who have lost a loved one to suicide. We have survivor groups that are held on a monthly basis, both in person in virtually with the pandemic. And we have survivor classes that are held four times a year and there is one starting September 15 as well. So we do a variety of things. So thank you.

 

Nathan Hofer  07:06

Awesome, thank you. Tosa. Let’s hear from you.

 

Tosa Two Heart  07:09

(Greeting) I’m Tosa Two Heart and I am the Community Behavioral Health Director at Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board. Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board is an organization dedicated to serving the health and wellness needs of the tribal members it represents which includes 18 tribes and tribal communities across South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa. Great Plains addresses health necessities, we bring health promotion and education, and various other programs for these tribal communities. And so our service area is about 170,000 individuals. We also operate the Yachty Health Center in Rapid City. And our service area is about 14,000 Native Americans who reside and the Rapid City area. So I’m our community behavioral health department, which I am, I manage a few projects and support our other projects. So we have a couple of youth native suicide prevention programs, connecting with our youth that supports Native youth in the Black Hills area. The project provides a project prevention postvention or post intervention and postvention services to youth and community in Rapid City. We also have a Native suicide prevention program with the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. And that project primarily does prevention education and provides other resources to support youth. We’re starting to do support groups and building capacity for crisis response. And, and other programs. We have our tribal opioid response where we’re working currently with three tribes to two tribes and the Rapid City area to enhance resources for substance use, prevention, education, treatment and recovery.

 

Nathan Hofer  09:31

Awesome and Amber, let’s hear from you.

 

Amber Reints  09:35

I’m Amber Reints ,and I’m a clinical program manager at Avera Behavioral Health. Avera continues to work to do what we can to help meet the mental health needs throughout our community and region. We have a inpatient services that does treat patients, children, adolescents, adults and then we do have a senior program as well. We do also have a lot of outpatient services, some of them in person and some of them are via telemedicine, we do have a 24/7 assessment program, which again, does allow people who are in crisis to walk in at any time and receive a free and confidential assessment. We do also have the farm and rural stress hotline, that’s a partnership with the state in the community mental health centers throughout the state to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of the rural population. And then we also do have a very active suicide Zero Suicide committee, and that committee does partner with other organizations throughout the state to continue to do what we can to reduce suicide throughout the state of South Dakota.

 

Nathan Hofer  10:53

Awesome. Well, first off, thank you all for first the work you do and to for being here with me today. I’m so excited to spend some time with you. And before I dive into some questions, I want to say anyone watching I see, I see we have people watching right now, if you have any comments or questions that you’d like to ask these wonderful folks, please put it in the Facebook comments, and we will bring it up on screen. And we will make sure to get your question asked, we want to make sure, as I say every week on Voices of Resilience, you probably get tired of hearing from me, I don’t blame you. But so let’s hear from you if you have questions, so feel free to engage with this panel as this is a unique opportunity to work and connect with some people doing some really awesome things in our community.  Which speaking of our community, you know, before we started this thing, we shared a little video clip of, you know, one of the communities that we work with this is our, you know, young adult population, specifically in post secondary. And as we look at that, you know, we know some of the mental health needs for that community. So I’d like to hear from all of you: What are some of the mental health needs that you see in the communities you serve? What are the things that are really on the rise right now? What are the things that you’re just, you know, that you’re dealing with? More More, more often than not, I would say. And you can just whoever wants to hop in, we’ll let it be free flow.

 

Angela Drake  12:22

I think our biggest need is, you know, making sure that our teachers are getting the education that they need to help our kids. Even more so now. Um, you know, we don’t know what that looks like for them. They don’t know what that looks like for them. You know, and then as isolated as people are either choosing to be or needing to be, or that they still have some sort of connection, you know, we may have to be socially, socially distancing. But making sure that we’re not completely isolated.

 

Amber Reints  13:02

I went on a lot of what Angela just said, and what I would say from the specifically the inpatient side, right now, what we see is there’s a lot more people that are struggling. And that’s really not just within our community. If you look nationally right now, on the impact of COVID-19, we continue to see a lot of mental health concerns, because of the things that Angela has talked about. There’s a lot more isolation, there’s a lot more anxiety, there’s a lot more unknowns. And so with that we really see, for example, within the child and adolescent population, where we see a lot of kids struggling, but we also see a lot of parents and family members struggling sometimes because of the financial concerns that they’ve had to experience as a result of COVID-19. So we are just certainly seeing a need for meet more people needing more mental health services.

 

Sheri Nelson  13:50

Yes, absolutely. I agree with both amber and Angela. I know that our calls here at the helpline center have greatly increased since COVID. Started. A lot of people who maybe not even in the past, have had mental health issues are struggling with that stress and anxiety and depression right now due to everything surrounding the pandemic. but also those people that are dealing with mental health existing mental health issues, it’s really important to keep them connected. And I think that we do have a lot of good resources here in our community to get those people the help that they need.

 

Tosa Two Heart  14:38

I you know, I agree with everyone was saying and specifically with our native population, there is definitely a need for more capacity for our Native programs to reach more Native youth but some of the challenges right now are, A lot of people don’t know, what are the resources for behavioral health, mental health. And not just in terms of counseling, but where can they go to, who could they talk to when after, after counseling. With our connecting with our youth program, we have navigators who are like mentors resource refers basically helping youth navigate what are the resources out there for them? And how do they get signed up? How do they get to those resources, because a lot of times, you have to meet the community where they’re at, it’s not always easy or comfortable to go seeking out resources and done having more resources out there are culturally, that have cultural humility. A lot of times, that cultural humility or understanding where Native American people are coming from, and their current situations that they have to face on a daily basis really helps with that. That can care and being able to understand what their needs are.

 

Nathan Hofer  16:22

Awesome. Now, I have a I have a question come in. But before I pull that one up here, I wanted to ask, I guess kind of, I would say bluntly, but kind of kind of bluntly, you’ve talked about, you all kind of touched on isolation and anxiety in this time. So I’m curious, you know, specifically within the young adult population that we’re serving, have you seen a significant rise in requests for services or connection as we started the school this academic year for for, you know, higher education, but also, you know, just general, you know, secondary education, things like that, have you? Have you seen an increase in anything there? And if so, what’s that look like?

 

Angela Drake  17:02

Um, yeah, actually, some of your Lost&Found chapters have reached out to me directly, just asking, you know, what, what does it look like? What, what programs do you have, that we can work with you? To get our get our people together? How can we keep them connected? How can we, you know, how can we keep people good? reaching out to each other? So they’re, they’re not just by themselves? How can we, How can we work this? You know, some, some middle school and high school teachers have also reached out, you know, what, what does this look like? And how do we best help help our students, you know, which ones that are doing their virtual learning? versus, you know, in person learning, you know, how do we keep everyone still connected? And, and do that best for them? And, you know, we’re learning alongside them. Um, but, I mean, the best answer is, you know, keep in touch with them. And, um, you know, other communities that I work work with is, you know, just kind of like sports communities. What I say is, you know, when you have that kid out on the injury, do you forget about them the whole time that they’re out? No, you’re still kind of touching base with them periodically. So kind of treat this the same. It’s kind of what I what I’ve been recommending, you know, when when you’re when you’re, you know, hockey kids out with a broken arm, you’re not just leaving them on the sidelines the whole time, you’re still somewhat including them, still checking in with them. So let’s, let’s keep that kind of mentality. That’s, that’s kind of how I’ve been approaching it. You know, still touch base with them, make sure they’re okay from time to time check in.

 

Nathan Hofer  18:55

Good job Lost&Found chapters anyway, like,

 

19:02

it says amber and I get I would echo a lot of what Angela would did say, I would say from here at Avera, we have seen an increase, like I said, as compared to typical number of people who are reaching out seeking either outpatient or inpatient services. What I would also say, though, is that when we look at national trends, I’m concerned by the number of people who are struggling who haven’t reached out for help. I think there’s a lot of people that right now, when they begin to talk about some of the anxiety that they’re feeling or some of the isolation that they’re feeling. A lot of times those feelings are being minimized by saying that, again, everybody’s anxious right now or a lot of us are struggling. But I think there’s definitely people out there that it’s gone beyond just the discomfort of this and really gotten to a point where it’s affecting their ability to function, and they’re struggling with relationships or they’re struggling academically. And that’s what concerns me is that in this pandemic, in some ways, because we’ve all experienced a sense of loss or certainly change. I’m concerned by the number of people who maybe feel like their issue hasn’t reached a level where they need to reach out for help. And I would just really encourage people that, especially if it seems that you’re struggling with sleeping, struggling academically struggling with relationships, that this is the time to reach out, because there is help available.

 

Sheri Nelson  20:24

Yes, absolutely. I agree with that. And yeah, knowing that there are still people out there that need that assistance, who are not reaching out, just letting them know that there is that help available? And I think especially with students, kind of that uncertainty of, do we have to go online? do online learning? Or are we going to be in person and get that the risk of exposure to COVID-19? There’s a lot of concern surrounding that. And some people have a difficult time learning, just online. And so there’s issues with grade with with their grades with depression, anxiety, all of that, that we’ve we’ve talked about.

 

Angela Drake  21:16

Hey, Sheri, it’s one of the biggest questions I get when I talk to people, is if I call 211, what happens? And are they just gonna send people to come in with me away? And that’s their biggest fear, right? I, they just gonna come and take me for my family because they think I’m crazy or whatever. So what happens when somebody calls 211, because they’re having a rough time, or they’re scared, or they’re just really anxious? And so what happens when, if I call to unwind? I’m just having a really rough day? And I don’t know if I’m okay. But I know I’m not okay. But what happens when I call?

 

Sheri Nelson  21:57

Yeah, that is a great question, Angela, I’m glad you brought that up. Because there is that concern, if someone were to call and be in crisis that we automatically call the police. We do not do that. We — 74% of the calls that people make, who are struggling with suicide, we handle that, we work with that person to make sure that they’re safe, we’ll do a suicide risk assessment with them and a safety plan with them. And then we also follow up with them within 24 hours to make sure that they are still doing okay, we also give them referrals to Avera or whatever is the most convenient for them at that time. Also of people, we get a lot of people that are just in general just need to talk. So we have a lot of people call in where we have listening and support. And we just are here for them to listen to them. And sometimes it’s easier to talk about things if it’s someone that you don’t know, but also know that there is we have professional staff on the phones 24 hours a day, seven days a week that anyone can call.

 

Angela Drake  23:20

Thank you.

 

Nathan Hofer  23:22

Awesome. And then and then Tosa, What is that? What have you seen as this as the start of the academic year has has happened with the different job because you’re serving a ton of people?

 

Tosa Two Heart  23:35

Yeah, and it’s hard because I am not directly connected to the schools. I know some schools are just now starting. What I can tell you is that since especially this summer, are Connecting with Our Youth project with our Support Navigators program has had a lot of they’re busy, very busy meeting with youth, helping them and they serve youth who are at risk for suicide. So their youth that they serve run, or those who have already are already in that harder place to be in. With several of our communities, we’ve seen an increase in crises and the communities with youth and adults. Whether this is related directly with academic year starting I’m not sure. One thing that we’re trying to do in Rapid City are what we are starting is a native community response team so that we can better able to, we can be there when there is crisis in the community, whether it’s suicide or other behavioral crises. There’s definitely a lot of concerns that we are working to respond to. But again, I’m not. I’m not in the space of like, trends with the school, school starting. So I hope I hope that’s an okay answer.

 

Nathan Hofer  25:11

Oh, that’s a great answer. No, it’s, you know, it’s it’s awesome to hear from all of you and your different perspectives. And it really fits in with this question that came in. So this is from Thad, Thad Giedd. He also is one of the folks who helped put together that super cool video at the front end. So good job, Thad and PINStudios, but he that asks, you know, what, what have been some of the best or most valuable collaborations that you’ve experienced? And I know an aspect like mental health, perseverance and suicide prevention is a group effort effort with a diversity of services, we’re have rewarding collaborations taking place, and where’s there an opportunity for more. So I will pull this down, because it’s taken up a lot of our screen Thad, how insensitive, and then I’ll add you all, you all start answering.

 

Sheri Nelson  26:01

I can start, um, I think we have wonderful collaboration with the colleges in South Dakota and working with, you know, just all of us on this panel colleges are working with and so that’s great to make sure that they have those resources available to them. Another thing and of course, like I said, we have a database full of information. So we oftentimes are referring people to get the help that they need. And so and vice versa. So, you know, having that collaboration and surrounding people with the support that they need is vital. When we’re talking about mental illness and suicide. It’s just not not one person can do this alone. It takes a team of people, and we have a suicide prevention task form our task force. And in that task force it we have a lot of different members throughout the community that we come together and we work on suicide prevention in our community. Just last week, we went out to visit the gun shops to educate them on suicide prevention and what to look out for. Angela can speak to this she is a part of the task force. So we have a lot of mental health aspects to the task force, mental health, collaborators, law enforcement, churches, and colleges to help with looking at suicide prevention and mental health. I’ll let someone else talk.

 

Tosa Two Heart  27:58

With Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board. I think collaboration is just our nature, working with the tribes of Great Plains, but with our native suicide prevention programs. We have these huge community collaborative efforts with each one. And I’ve just seen that work in so many ways, like with our connecting with our youth program, we have like He Sapa collaborative, where agencies and stakeholders across Rapid City come together once a month and all of them help support the work connecting with our youth is doing. And then with our Connect Native Connections program and with the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. We’re working closely with the Crow Creek, Sioux tribal schools and the Fort Thompson IHS to constantly see where are the gaps and resources and what can we do to support that, for example, learning from Fort Thompson IHS, our youth who have behavioral health appointments have a high no show rate. So one of the things that we’re able to do is provide transportation to youth or help them get connected to their telehealth appointments. So we are trying to do what we can to reduce those barriers to get services. And so, oh, and then we’re continuing to collaborate with other community partners in how we can enhance the services that are already available.

 

Amber Reints  29:50

I would echo very similar to what has already been shared. I do think within mental health, what we all realize as respective organizations is not one of us can do this alone. So I think there’s lots of great opportunities that we’ve all been a part of where we’ve been able to work with other organizations. Here at a Vera, for example, when patients discharged, we have a collaboration with the helpline, that where they do some of our follow up calls. There’s just many examples, Zero Suicide, we recently did an opiod grant with the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen group as well. So there’s countless examples that we could give, what I would say, and I think it’s important for people to understand is that organizations I believe in, especially in South Dakota, work really well together to continue to try to make sure that we’re filling the gaps, where we still see within the mental health spectrum.

 

Angela Drake  30:49

So yeah, you know, being part of, you know, the coalition with the helpline, and with the VA, also, and then I’m able to, as part of the national organization with AFSP, tap into different communities throughout the country, and what they’re doing and what’s working there, as well. So getting different ideas from everywhere, of different opportunities to bring into our communities as well. Just just picking up things, you know, our hope signs that we’re putting in everybody’s yards, if you’ve, if you’ve not seen them yet, and you want one, let me know. But they’ve been super powerful to have around, just reminding people how to reach out, you know, just little things that we can do is just to keep suicide prevention, and, and hope everywhere. So, you know, being able to collaborate, gets everybody somewhere. It’s not one person’s job, it’s all of our jobs, to keep people safe, and to keep spreading help everywhere we can go.

 

Nathan Hofer  31:58

I agree. And, you know, I, I love being able to collaborate with with all your organizations as well, it’s been, you know, I feel like as I say, often lost in power we we are oftentimes where there’s the connectors were the bridge, and we get to get people from one point to another, to where they get the help they need. And working with all of you is definitely a blessing. And I’m not the only one who thinks that. And Kelly here says this is a wonderful group doing great work. And I think that’s awesome. And also, Nick, Nick has a kind of a follow up question for you, Sheri, you know, where the gun when you were visiting gun shops, were they receptive to learning and advocating to their customers about about that? That’s it? That’s a wonderful question. Thanks for asking that.

 

Sheri Nelson  32:45

Yeah, that’s a great question. I felt for the most part that people were receptive, and asked us lots of questions, and we really engaged in that conversation. And, you know, wanted to learn more and wanted to, to help any way that they can. And so we’re going to also do follow up with them to even to give everyone at their gun shops, all of the employees there to give them additional training, and working with them in that way as well.

 

Nathan Hofer  33:25

Love that. that is excellent. Um, you know, moving moving right along, though, you know, we Gosh, I wish we had known watch a three hour video, but man was just keep it going, you know, rest of the day, till six o’clock, there’s just going to be us in here. Sorry, Heidi in the background, you got to hang out. But, you know, I do, I do want to know, what are some of the challenges that you and your organization are really facing, internally that you’re seeing moving forward? But also, what are those challenges that you’re seeing in the community? And and do you have ways to, to meet some of those that are new or different, or, you know, the same, but we want to learn more about them.

 

Amber Reints  34:14

This is Amber and I can start, what I would say that I see is a big struggle still is just helping people to understand what resources are available. I think so often people hear that there’s a shortage of mental health providers, and certainly in some some areas, I don’t want to minimize some of the concern with that. But what I would say is with telemedicine, and just again, from what you can see on this call, the efforts and work that’s being done, there’s a lot of different ways that people can connect. And I love what AFSP is doing with sending that message of hope. Because to me, my biggest concern is that people are not aware of the resources. And secondly, that at times, they’re not aware that hope still exists and that they can fight through this. And I think those are the struggles that we continue to see and the message that needs to continue to be shared.

 

Sheri Nelson  35:08

Yeah, I agree with Amber with that point. You know, we often say 211 is the starting point, because we can then refer people to get that help that they need. And, you know, sometimes there are those people that feel like, you know, they’re so down, that they feel like that they can’t be helped, but they still reach out. And so that does show that hope. But I think all of us do a really good job of letting people know that there is help available, they just need to, you know, dial that number and get connected with that. And, you know, as, as part of our trainings, we also let people know that, you know, anyone can help someone who is in crisis, or dealing with mental health issues or suicide, it’s just having that conversation with them, knowing those warning signs, and letting them know that there is hope. And there is help out there and available for them.

 

Angela Drake  36:24

You know, often when I’m teaching a class or giving a presentation, I asked the question, you know, raise your hand, if you would take a friend to get help. Right. And everyone in the room raises their hand, if they would feel comfortable to take a friend, and to get mental health care. No problem. They’ll march their friend right in and not think twice. And then I asked them to keep their hand up if they would feel comfortable, to go in themselves to get help. And I think that’s, that’s the hardest part, how do we give ourselves the grace to take ourselves in? We have no problem and we wouldn’t judge our friend. But we judge ourselves, and we’re worried about others judging us. So we just have to get over that. And so I think that’s, that’s the number one problem. Number two is we have to learn that, you know, as my grandmother told me, you know, the good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. We have to learn that when, when we’re listening, when somebody has a story to tell, we’re there to listen, we’re not there to give them advice, or judge them or tell them what to do. We’re just there to listen. And we need to hear their story. And we’re not professionals. We’re not there to fix them. We can take them to professionals if they need it. But we’re just there to listen. And let them know that they’re not alone. And just as we wouldn’t be there to put a cast on their broken arm. We’ll take them to professional to get them the help they need. But we can sure listen. So those are the things that we need to remember when somebody somebody needs us. Two ears. We’re not professionals, we’re not there to fix them. especially young college kids, especially high school kids, they listen to their friend that may be struggling and they feel like it’s their job to fix them. And then they’re carrying this heavy burden, that they may already be struggling as well. And they feel like it’s their job to fix the friend. And that’s a lot. That’s a lot to hang on to and to carry. Just now look at my face right now. It is not your job to fix your friend. You don’t have those kinds of skills, and it’s not your job. They need professional help. They need somebody that can truly help them. So listen, understand, but it’s not your job to fix them. Take them to get the help that they need. It’s not your job.

 

Tosa Two Heart  39:10

There’s a few challenges right now. One of the biggest challenges that comes to mind is social distancing, well being being able to provide programming and direct services. Um, I think one thing we’ve seen is the virtual, the virtual connections aren’t always going to be the best connection for those who are struggling. A lot of times they need that face to face and it’s hard, it’s hard because as you know, there’s a lot of cultural practices that usually go on during the summer and there there are cultural practices as well as a means of prevention, healing. And it’s hard to continue to do that when we can’t gather, when we have to practice social distancing for safety. And so I think that’s been really hard for a lot of people because they use those. They use culture as prevention and as a protective factor.  Um, another thing that’s been hard for our I mean, just in the work that I’m doing is that we’re as a profession professionals, and nonprofit, and even with those unsung heroes in the community, everyone’s always stretched so thin. It’s, there’s so much to do, and not enough time and not enough people or resources. But I think that’s the constant. And then I guess socially, it’s the continue continuing to try to get to those roots of historical trauma and changing the perceptions of and dialogue I noticed in the past. Like, recently, there’s been a lot of mis, I mean, there’s a lot of mistrust of different resources and trying to get people to understand that, there are resources that the resources are there to help you and to, again, like what Angela said, is, you don’t have to be alone, you don’t have to carry this burden, but that there is help out there. And then I think the another hard part is that those who live very, in a very rural area, how do we get them professional help when they’re going through crises? Sometimes those resources are really hard to find, or it’s hard to get connected. I mean, thankfully, we have the Helpline and those resources, but again, having that personal face to face, someone to make sure that you’re okay, and understand how to help, and not judge is really important. So just getting more education, and resources out there to bridge those gaps.

 

Nathan Hofer  42:24

Yeah, that’s a that’s the thing, isn’t it right now to this, you know, my, my wife and I were talking not just the other day about, you know, like, Can you imagine going through a global pandemic, you know, like, 15 years ago, even, you know, just how, how isolating that would be, but still, how isolating it is to just, this is the depth of most of our interactions right here, and and how hard that is. So, it’s just a, it’s a 2020 is a weird year. We’ll just say that and leave it at that.  But as we talked about, yes, Angela, as we talked about, you know, these issues that we’re facing, I don’t really see them going away, per se, and definitely not anytime soon. So, you know, our whole theme of today is talking about the future of mental health in our region. So what are your thoughts about what’s coming, coming down the pipeline? What are some things that we that you think we should be preparing for as a general community to support others, but also, what are maybe some cool things that you have coming up or initiatives or events or activities that are coming up that we should all be looking out for as well?

 

Angela Drake  43:39

Well, it is Suicide Prevention Month. So I think we all probably have a lot going on. Suicide Prevention Week is coming up next week. Um, so we have a lot of social media stuff happening. We You know, a lot of activity is going on there. I know I have some stuff planned with Lost&Found groups. Yay. We also have our walks here in South Dakota, we have two of them happening actually social distancing in person and also with some virtual components. So whatever your comfort level is, they’re here on and Sioux Falls are happening in-person with virtual components, Aberdeen will be just virtual. So watch for that this year. So here on is on the 12th Sioux Falls is on the 26th We’re excited to to have those happening. Many people reached out and just really wanted some in person events happening. And we were able to come up with some ways to do them social distancing with with some big virtual components, so we’re excited to have those. We’ve got our hope signs. If you’re interested in having one in your yard, we have them for pickup and/or delivery. So feel free to reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you know all the things that way, we can get you hooked up with those. We also have our day at the barrel house on the 21st. So come see us there. And we will have pickup for your walk t shirts and beads, then, as well, you know, and just really, you know, stay on top of us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all the things that way. And you know, Nathan’s helping us out with some virtual stuff for our walks. So I’m making him

 

Nathan Hofer  45:32

Sorry about that.

 

Angela Drake  45:34

Yeah, making him work for it, and then Lost&Found is coming to join us at the Sioux Falls walk as well, they’re bringing a team. And then I’m going to go visit Lost&Found, I believe, at SDSU in October, we’re going to do some stuff there. So and then some other groups, some other schools are rushing out to set up some other things as well. So I’m excited. You got some great kids. Because, you know, they could be my kids. So, um, you know, and just working with any communities that we can so. Tosa, I’d love to come on your way too, let me now.

 

Sheri Nelson  46:24

Well, the Helpline Center has a lot of different things going on for Suicide Prevention Week. And I know Lost&Found is reached out to us as well, we have we are going to be talking messages of hope downtown on Philips Avenue. And we have some college kids joining us which will be great. We are going to social distance and and write those messages of hope for Suicide Prevention Week. We also have a online presentation with our speaker Desiree Stage. And that presentation will be on World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, from seven to eight and it is a free event. But we do need people to register for that. Desiree has lived experience that she will be talking about. So she also has opened up what she calls Live Through This. And so what she does is she works with art. She is a photographer and helps to share the story of people who have attempted suicide and gives them a voice and so she is going to be talking about that it’s going to be a great event. So you can go to Helpline Center website and register for that so we have space available for everyone since it is online. We will also be having hope stickers that a lot of different businesses throughout Sioux Falls area especially such as Flyboy Donuts, Scooters, Avera pharmacy, Lewis pharmacy, so there are going to put those stickers on their cups of coffee or on merchandise on their bags just to make people aware that it is Suicide Prevention Week and there is hope out there and available to them. So we encourage you go and get a cup of coffee. Go ahead and send us a snapshot with the whole sticker and include Helpline Center in that so.

 

Nathan Hofer  49:06

And just real quick. First off, Sheri, You shouldn’t have Why do you like Wendy have a computer? I just

 

Sheri Nelson  49:12

Oh yeah. And there you go.

 

Nathan Hofer  49:18

Share the event link in there and I also tossed in the link to your event helpline center.org slash live through this so Wendy, I know you’re out there you Okay, I’m sorry. Thank you.

 

Amber Reints  49:32

This is Amber at Avera a couple of different initiatives that we’re focusing a lot on I mentioned this our concern for children and adolescents right now so and the teachers in the school system so starting October, we’ll be launching our Friday Forum series again, which is actually educational series throughout the that we offer throughout the region for people to be able to log in, of course this year with a pandemic it will all be virtually which we’re actually excited about because we feel like hopefully it will be able to bring in more people as well. The second thing that we’ll be also doing is last year, we collaborated with Children’s Home Society and developed a book, A New Norm. And we went into about 100 different schools throughout the region last year and then had to go on pause because a pandemic, but we’re, now we’re going to go out and begin that tour again. So Tom and Tammy Roberts have done a phone, done an amazing job of going out and sharing that book. But the reason why we really want to make sure that we’re out right now is we think that book is a really good tie into just what some of the kids are maybe experiencing with COVID-19. So we’ll be starting though the tour with that book, again, here, starting in October.

 

Tosa Two Heart  50:45

With Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, we are doing a campaign for the month of September, staff have volunteered to make yard signs of hope. So personalized messages of encouraging words, and those of the staff houses here in Rapid City, I’m hoping, Well, it’s kind of like injecting those personal messages so that people driving around can see them. We’re also creating some videos with messages of love to those out there. And those are being created by or those are being filmed by community members and our staff. And then we’re also going to be posting some resources on our Facebook, please follow our Facebook as we have another virtual workshop regarding trauma and equine therapy coming up. And then later on in a month, we’re gonna be doing a film workshop for primarily that youth in Crow Creek, but all are invited to attend, so that they’ll be able to create their own PSAs and messages to their community. And in the Crow Creek community, we’re also doing a couple of virtual walks as well, one in remembrance of those who are lost, and then one to see the yard signs made in that community words of encouragement.

 

Nathan Hofer  52:23

That is awesome. Obviously, you saw if you didn’t see Angela, she got real pumped about that, the messages for hope.  You know, I want to we’re kind of nearing the end of our time together here. But I wanted to say, you know, for Lost&Found, we’re going to share some of our vision for the future tonight at six. But I will say one thing very bluntly, and that I see the future of mental health as being very collaborative. And this panel in and of itself shows that we’re not alone in that and that you if you’re watching on that you are not alone, either. So we want to make sure that we’re you know, we are we are working together we are in this space. This is a problem, this is a an issue that we all are invested in, in the mental health and well-being of others and focusing in on suicide prevention and mitigating self-harm. So this is one thing I can say is that I think we are definitely moving towards more collaboration, more teamwork, more things that are moving forward together. And with that note, that that’s something I’m excited about. I look forward to it. So as we end up end our time here, I want to ask you a one last question to share. Well, it’s a two-parter. So it’s a one, two questions, seven questions. So I’d love for you to just share something that you’re really that’s giving you a lot of hope and optimism for the future. But also, you know, we talked about resilience here. So maybe at anything that you have to say to someone to give them some, some tips or tricks to be more resilient. As, like I said, we’re in a we’re in a weird time of being but we’re all experiencing it together. And we all need to learn how to be even more resilient than we ever imagined. So those are my two questions, hope, resilience. Whoever wants to start.

 

Sheri Nelson  54:16

I’ll start. I think that there is the thing that gives me hope is knowing through this panel, you can see that there is a lot of help available to people, and especially with kids with students, they’re gonna, if they’re struggling, they’re going to reach out to their friend versus another adult. And so I know that we have gone into the colleges and help them as well as Angela and everyone here. Help them to recognize those warning signs and how to help someone in a crisis, and where to get that help and take them for help. So just knowing that there is that help available out there for everyone gives me hope. And knowing that recovery is possible for people dealing with mental health, even if they feel like they’re at their lowest point right now, things can get better. And I think a lot of people may be feeling that right now with a pandemic, and everything that’s going on. But we still need to stay connected. You know, and become creative with that. Through virtual trainings, virtual things like this, I’ve had seen people, you know, just connecting outside and keeping their social distance, you know, just inspiring other people. And so that gives me hope. And just the fact that all of us are here and willing to help and that we can’t do this alone. And we’re doing this all together. I don’t know if I answered both your questions, but that’s all I got.

 

Nathan Hofer  56:17

I feel good about it.

 

Amber Reints  56:22

To answer your questions. What gives me hope is just that there’s a lot of passionate people out there that want to continue to work together to save lives. And to me, that is what is going to allow us to continue to meet the needs fill the gaps so that everybody can get the mental health that they need. My recommendation for resiliency right now is if I could pass out scrips for self care for everyone, and they fill their scrip, just like they fill their antibiotics, that would be my recommendation. And with that, right now, a lot of our schedules have been disrupted. So this is our time to start putting into our schedule our new routines, how am I going to take care of myself. And for some of us, that might be five minutes of meditation. For others, how I’m going to take care of myself today is to make the appointment for the therapist that I’ve been delaying for a long time. So my hope is just that everybody who is listening would pause and ask themselves, how can I best take care of myself today, and then act on that.

 

Tosa Two Heart  57:33

I think what is always really inspiring and what makes me hopeful is just everywhere, I think everywhere, there are those passionate people who will dedicate their lives to this work, especially those grassroots leaders. And so knowing that there are individuals out there who will, you know, answer a call at 3am and sit with you through the pain. I think that is amazing. In terms of like words of encouragement, you know, I would, I’d want to tell all of those Native youth out there and even native adults struggling so that you don’t walk alone. And like Sheri said, this time is not going to last forever, you’re not going to feel the way you do forever. Just keep fighting and moving forward. And don’t stop until you get the hope you need. Don’t give up.

 

Angela Drake  58:44

Um, my message of hope is, you know, no matter where you’re at, no matter where you’re sitting today, doesn’t mean that that’s where you are forever. Um, there’s always help. No matter how little it is today. It can grow. It always grows. It’s, it’s like a seed and you know, manure on the farm is real. And no matter how much of that manure you’re going through today, that little seed of hope that you’re planting is gonna get bigger. We come from a community of a lot of farmers a lot of doesn’t mean you have to put your boots on everyday and doesn’t mean you have to pull them up harder. But the “s” we’re going through, is gonna is going to fertilize that seed and that helps going to grow. So we’re going to come out of this a lot stronger. And like Amber said, we’re going to rebuild out of this and so the habits that we’re putting in to take care of ourselves need to start now. Few of us break promises to everyone else. They’re, how many promises to ourselves do we break? That’s something that I started is to take a look at the promises I make myself. And how many of those do I break. I broke a lot of promises to myself, but I rarely break promises to anyone else. So I took a step back and started looking at the promises I make myself to take care of myself too. So I’m careful about the promises I make myself now. And I put those, those are pretty serious promises too. So make sure you’re taking care of yourself, because we put our oxygen mask on first. So thank you, thank you all for the work that you do. I appreciate each and every one of you.

 

Nathan Hofer  1:00:59

This is a great group. And I am so thankful to be able to, you know, just be here with you today. And not only just today to know that we’ll be working together and connecting in the future. It’s, it truly is an honor. And, you know, as we’re closing on our time, I just want to say, I have posted links to every one of these places, their websites, their Facebook pages in the comments. So those can be found out that’s a B, if I run away, don’t be disturbed. But I’ve put all those in the Facebook comments. So if you want to connect with these folks, feel free to do so using using those links. And then if you’re looking to connect with us a little bit more with Lost&Found, follow us on Instagram or Facebook, @resilienttoday. And if you want to go to our website, it’s just that, resilienttoday and then put a “.org” on the end. But get rid of that outside that @ won’t get you anywhere. And then lastly, one more time, I do want to thank our sponsor for voices of resilience on the Astrup Family Foundation and American Bank and Trust. We’re really thankful that you’ve chosen to invest in this and that we’ve we get to have some wonderful conversations with people doing great things as we learn together how to be more resilient.  And once again, I want to thank you for for being here and I hope that the rest of you out there will be checking in today at six and then next week we have it’s it is National Suicide Prevention Week and we have speaker coming on our Voices of Resilience at 2pm on next Thursday, Tammy Joy Lane who’s going to be talking about her experience with with suicide prevention and that in her life, so, excited for it excited to be here with you all and that’s all I have. So thank you again everyone, and we’ll see you around.

 

Amber Reints  1:02:40

Thank you

 

Sheri Nelson  1:02:42

Thanks Nathan and I love you guys. You guys do great work and I enjoy working with you.

 

1:02:50

Back at all ya. Bye now.

 

Angela Drake  1:02:53

Appreciate ya.

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Lost&Found’s Founders Discussion: VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT

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This is a transcript of a conversation with Lost&Found’s founders: DJ Smith, Deni Etriheim, Anna Hyronimus, and Elliott Breukelman. It has been auto-generated, so there might be some transcription errors. 

 

Nathan Hofer  00:46

Well, good morning again everyone and welcome back to our second stream of the day second stream. Second coffee. No questions need to be asked. So my name is Nathan Hofer and I am the Director of Campus Operations here for Lost&Found and this nine o’clock session I’m super excited for, we’re going to spend some time talking to some of the some of the folks who were really instrumental in the formation and founding of Lost&Found so I’m gonna bring them into the stream here. First off, we have DJ Smith, who was the founding president of the board of directors for Lost&Found from 2010 to 2014. Then we have Deni, Deni I can’t I’m not sure I’m ashamed. I should ask you your last name how to pronounce it right? Because I don’t know you as Miring. And I’m embarrassed. But Deni is the one who founded the SDSU chapter back in 2012 2014. Then we have Elliot, Elliot is the founder of the DSU chapter and current chief tech officer for Lost&Found, and he also gets a lot of messages from me saying, Elliott, I broke it, fix it. Then, lastly, we have Anna Hyronimus, who is a current board member. And she’s been on the board since 2015. So welcome, everyone. It’s so good to have you all here.

 

Elliott Breukelman  01:56

Good morning.

 

Anna Hyronimus  01:58

It’s great to be here.

 

Nathan Hofer  02:00

So, you know, I gave a quick little, little intro to you fine folks about who, who you are and what your or your experiences here. So why don’t you just take a second and tell us you know, what some of your journey has been with Lost&Found what what made you get involved? And then we’ll go into some questions. And before we do that, anyone watching now, if you have any questions or comments, post them in the Facebook comments, we’ll bring them up into the stream. And we’ll ask these wonderful people these questions. So DJ, what sorry, why don’t you tell us about your journey with Lost&Found briefly.

 

DJ Smith  02:33

Goodness. So my journey with Lost&Found started a little bit — about two years before it became an official nonprofit. It was 2008. And every year, there’s an organization called To Write Love on Her Arms, and they work with suicide prevention down in Florida. And every year they have a write love on your arm to show you support people who are struggling with mental health and suicide ideology. And they made an event on Facebook talking about doing this. And of course, I had said I was attending and there were naysayers in the chat going, Oh, this does nothing. If you really want to make a difference, you’ll do more than write love on your arm and myself and a gal named Kayla are arguing with them as we know arguing with strangers on the internet gets you so very far.

 

Nathan Hofer  03:27

Works really well.

 

DJ Smith  03:28

Of course, why wouldn’t it.

And so the two of us decided that you know, we there is more that can be done to really make an impact here in the in the Midwest. So we started another Facebook group that was really dedicated to the micro level doing things daily or weekly or monthly that make an impact on someone’s mental health and their self esteem and their well being. And two years later, this small Facebook group had kind of exploded from a couple hundred people that I knew locally and that Kayla knew in Michigan, up to 1100 people just seemingly overnight, so we made it into a I guess I made it into a school project that won a national award. And from there that’s really when I brought together Erik Muckey and a few other people to create Lost&Found

 

Nathan Hofer  04:34

Awesome. Erik Muckey, I’ve heard that name before.

 

DJ Smith  04:37

Yeah, wonder where.

 

Nathan Hofer  04:40

I’m sure we’ll see him in about 20 videos today. It’s fine. Next, Deni, why don’t you share a little bit about your your experience, your journey with Lost&Found?

 

Deni Etriheim  04:50

Yeah, it’s kind of hard to think of the exact details of how everything panned out but I was talking to Erik, we’ve been friends you know since high school, and even junior high actually think. And so it’s been quite a while and quite a journey for us. But as I entered into my freshman year at South Dakota State, I was just noting, noticing a lot of students struggling with mental health and not feeling like they had adequate resources. And so as I was talking to Erik, we decided to go ahead and establish a chapter at SDSU. And it’s just been a beautiful journey to see kind of how that’s blossomed and how we’ve been able to support that university and be a resource for students, especially as I started to work with Residential Life to see an even bigger need and how we can impact some of those students, and how we can help be an opportunity for students who maybe are struggling with mental health themselves, but they want to help those that are. And so we started our SDSU chapter. And it’s just been incredible to see how it’s grown and all the different activities. And it’s kind of bittersweet to to be able to see some of the events that we started from the ground up are still happening today.

 

Nathan Hofer  06:02

Eliott, why don’t you, why don’t you share some of your journey?

 

Elliott Breukelman  06:06

Yeah, so I mean, I started with Lost&Found I had met DJ through Student Senate. You know, just like you know, many campus leaders, we are all wearing multiple hats and trying to do multiple things. But I was also one of the the target audiences for Lost&Found right. In in late high school and early college, I struggled a lot with depression and anxiety. And I hid that a lot from everybody else, you know, we we kind of put on this, this different face, especially when you’re trying to be a campus leader and be a role model for students. A lot of times you just, you know, you put all of your personal struggles to the back. And that’s, you know, really kind of what pushed me to get into Lost&Found even more. You know, DJ is a great guy. And I knew him and Erik through through Student Senate. And like I said, and and I was like, this is a great organization to get involved with, and and maybe it’ll help me along the way. And it certainly did, you know, that’s, I owe a lot to Lost&Found and to where the organization has come.

 

Nathan Hofer  07:10

Awesome. Thank you, Anna, you’re my, you’re my last introducer, you’re the last one to go here. But you’ll be first for the next one. So be wary.

 

Anna Hyronimus  07:21

And I’m just looking at this group. And I think I’ve been a part of Lost&Found for the least amount of time, I’m talking amongst a group of complete like, OG, you know, the original group, who took part and really established a lot of the foundational elements of Lost&Found back in college, I picked up kind of Lost&Found in 2015. And so I’ve been out of college, Erik and I had been for a year. And so I think, you know, I loved your point, Elliott about being the target audience, because I wasn’t involved in Lost&Found in college, and I probably should have been. I was, you know, the overachiever in many extracurricular activities. And I think I really could have used Lost&Found as a conduit in a safe space for me to kind of have that just self assessment and self kind of identity. I feel like college students when they’re overextended in extracurricular activities derive a lot of fulfillment, from the activities that they’re in. And they don’t take a lot of space for themselves, or I certainly didn’t to just to sit and assess my mental health and how I can best put my best foot forward. So that was why, you know, I was a year out of college, Erik calls me up and he’s like, hey, I’ve got this Lost&Found thing, you know, we’re kind of young kids green behind the ears, right out of college. How can we take this and make this a scalable, legitimate nonprofit, where we can continue even if we’ve left the college? sphere? How can we continue to make impact on those collegiate, collegiate communities?

 

Nathan Hofer  08:46

That’s awesome. And I do want to say if anyone, anyone who’s watching right now, if you haven’t picked up on it, Lost&Found started with a bunch of, you know, as you would set you just said, Anna, wet behind the ears, college students, but you know, people who have passion people who wanted to make a difference. And I think back to, you know, myself at age 18, and that was probably not the case for me. In fact, I feel superduper old with this group, because three of you, I know for sure, were students at universities I worked at. I laughed yesterday because I hired Deni as a tutor once upon a time. That’s a whole nother story. I’m ancient, it’s fine.

 

Deni Etriheim  09:25

Full circle for sure.

 

Nathan Hofer  09:26

Full circle. Yes. You know, it’s a it’s very interesting, though. And I think that’s just one of the things that makes makes the impact of Lost&Found so, so great is because it’s started from a space of need it started from a space with people in that in that, you know, they’re in the midst of it, they under you understood what those needs were for young adults, because you all were you all still are, but you were very much in the that realm of like, Hey, we’re in the we’re in the mix here. How do we, how do we help others there so, you know, Anna I’m going to bounce it right back to you here. But, you know, you, you are being the, as you said, the the newest to the crew here, what are some of those milestones that you’ve experienced that you’ve seen achieved during your time with Lost&Found and that’ll be the same for all of you just, you know, coming back?

 

Deni Etriheim  10:16

Definitely. So I actually went back in our Google Drive with the board of directors folders, and I went back to 2015, when I started, and my first board meeting, I’m not, I’m not here to embarrass anybody, but I just love seeing how far truly the organization has come. So some of our two dues from 2015 was to buy T-shirts, I see Elliott with that fancy logo that we worked very hard on to talk through. We were tasked with creating a Lost&Found tree at the time, we wanted a chapter retreat for our communities in at SDSU, SDSU and DSU. So we put that on, it was Kelsey, Eliott, Erik Muckey, and myself. And we worked with the current college members to do a retreat in January of 2016. Also, in 2016, we had done a huge fundraiser, which we were very excited about. And a lot of work had been put into that that was the Ugly Sweaters for Survivors party. And fundraiser event, it was a joint collaboration with the Survivors Joining for Hope organization. And it was on the west side of Sioux Falls. And we worked very hard for it, it was this, you know, it was in December, and it was a terrible winter storm. I mean, just like ice storm, it was so bad, we worked so hard. We were responsible for recruiting like six volunteers each and we had these goals set. And then the storm came and it was just did not go as well as we had planned. But the effort was there.

 

Anna Hyronimus  11:46

Also, within from 2015, we had just some discussions about a 5-501(c)3 renewal, where we were working to get that renewed so that we could look towards funding. And then also on the programming side, we were just in a lot of discussion about maybe that switch from Yes, we want it to be within the foundational part of the organization, we wanted to be suicide and depression awareness. And so we were trying to kind of expand that programming so that it was both proactive, and, you know, kind of that reactive nature. So we wanted to really get into the proactive side of how do we also create a safe space for people to focus on their mental health before it should get to suicidal ideation and thoughts of depression? And how can we focus on positive programming so that it’s not always like a heavy kind of area. And that’s where I think that true switch recently, I forget the year, but it was kind of that switch to resilience. And that focus on resiliency for self, community, and others That to me was just a really great kind of segue into a lot of the programming and the research that we’ve been doing in the past few years.  I also had to text Erik on this, another big milestone was our first hire, we had, you know, a first like paid and unpaid hire, Erik, is the first hire. And I think that’s so cool that you know, he’s the executive director now. And that just is a huge full circle for him, I’m sure. But then we also had, you know, Nick Bradfold, who was our, I think, vice president or president, he was kind of our, like, unofficial first hire. And I just think it’s so cool. In 2015, you know, Erik was just always talking about the vision. And we’re gonna have this hierarchy, we’re gonna have these, you know, the structure of development. We have this director, he had the whole vision always. And I was just overwhelmed. Because I’m like, Erik, I haven’t even posted this week on social media channels. Like, I don’t even know what we’re doing. How many members do we have? I mean, I feel like I was kind of the black hat. And Erik always just had the vision. And I’m looking at 2020. And I’m like, Erik, like, this is happening. Kudos, you know, kudos team. So I’ll stop talking. I’ll let others go. But just a few milestones, and points of reflection that I want to share.

 

Nathan Hofer  14:04

That’s awesome. Elliott, why don’t you we’ll just go around the circle. And then then we’re gonna throw next question, I’m just gonna let it be free range, and we’re not going to whatever.

 

Elliott Breukelman  14:15

So I’ll expand a little bit on Anna’s, because you and I were there for a lot of that. I think, obviously, the one of the biggest milestones for the organization was college graduation, right? Like all of us were in college. And that makes that made it hard to do and focus on the organization. You’re trying to just graduate and get a job. But let me clarify, a job that actually pays the bills. So you know that I it’s an important aspect. So we had a graduation and then once we were no longer, my myself included, part of the chapter, you know, the university chapter. Then it was a natural transition to kind of move towards the the board. And we did that. We started meeting in Sioux Falls. We were joking yesterday, I think some of the funniest milestones is the progression of our meetings. They, you know, they kind of started at my apartment on South Side Sioux Falls, and then they moved to my apartment on North Side Sioux Falls. And then they moved to The Bakery, when they’re, you know, there was a place for us where we actually had an office, we were so excited about an office in Sioux Falls, and then the bakery closed, and then they move to Southside Sioux Falls again. And it’s just been this, this nice big cycle. And, you know, now with COVID, of course, all of our meetings are virtual. So, you know, one way or another, I think that was that was a kind of a funny milestone, throughout the time.  But then another big big component that Anna kind of pointed to was this progression, right? The organization was, was really focused on suicide prevention, which I definitely think is a valiant cause, and one that’s near and dear to my heart. But a lot of the board kind of came up and said, you know, we should be taking a more proactive approach, we should be looking at holistic mental health, and not so much a reactive approach, like Anna mentioned. And that’s really when the organization started to shift. You know, the — again, we were joking yesterday, we talked about how we went through the mission vision values. And we did that almost every single year. And there was a very cyclical concept, right, where we kept kind of spinning our wheels, where we felt a little stuck. And then when the when that holistic mental health shift happened, that’s when the organization can really, you know, took off, you know, we realize, okay, there’s so much more that we can do with a holistic mental health approach, and being proactive than always trying to be reactive. So I think those were some of the largest milestones from when I was involved in the org.

 

Nathan Hofer  17:08

Awesome. Thank you, Elliot, Deni, what about you?

 

Deni Etriheim  17:14

I have like five, so I’ll try to be selective as best I can. I don’t take up the whole time. One of the biggest things that my BP and I wanted us do, Kelsey Betke, we really wanted to try and–not showcase Lost&Found, but do something to get people’s attention. When we first started as an organization, we were very small, but just a little group of warriors that we have that we’re trying to do as big of an impact as we could. And it was coming up on Suicide Awareness Day. And so I wanted to do something on campus visually, that would really impact students. And so I was talking with my mom, and we’re racking around ideas as best we could. And we decided we wanted to put flags in an area on campus to represent the number of students that die by suicide every year.  And I remember Kelsey and I going from Harbor Storage to like Bongard’s and Menard’s, we were asking for white flags, and people thought we were nuts. But we worked really hard. We found all the flags we could, and work with the university, and it was a very odd request, okay, we put hundreds of flags in the ground, like, we won’t ruin anything. And it was very odd request, what we explain the why and the intention to like, yep, you go for it, do what you got to do. I could have sat there all day outside of the Student Union at SDSU. And just watch people’s faces as that person–what is this, construction going on? and then they sit and read and you can just see the impact it had for them to really take in, like every single one of those flags represents a human life.  And that just instilled such a passion in Kelsey and I. Like, if our efforts can just remove even one of those flags next year, it’s all worth it, right? And it’s so amazing and incredible to see that that is still a thing they do on campus, they still have the same white flags. I’m sure some of them have no idea who I even AM, which is the whole purpose, right? It’s about awareness. And it’s about doing something as an organization not doing something as a person. I didn’t want to leave campus with a, “oh that flag project that was Deni’s” like, no, that’s not the point. The point is what can we do to reduce the number of those flags that are there and to help people have resources and that kind of thing. So for me, that was just such a vivid memory and I still have that picture in my phone that we took and our little picket signs that we put in there of Lost&Found and we had so many people coming up and asking us about our organization after that and how they could help with an article in The Collegian. And so I think it just really got us going as an organization and as a student chapter mostly honestly, but it’s great to be able to have those kind of memories and to hopefully make a difference using some things like that.

 

Nathan Hofer  19:55

That’s awesome. And DJ, you know, you’ve been, well you you are the, to use Anna’s words, the original OG of this. So you’ve seen lots of stuff, you know, yeah, this is a vision that you helped develop. So I’d love to hear — Yeah, I’d love to hear your take, what are some things that you’ve seen, achieved over the years here?

 

DJ Smith  20:17

Every time someone spoke as I need to, I need to go back to that now I just, I’m lost, because there’s just been so much change really, from really what Elliot and Anna were talking about, from that micro level to that macro level, really going towards resilience rather than focusing on suicide prevention after the fact, all the way to what Danny was saying, where this is just so much bigger than us. And we really want this impact to be not what we did, but what the organization did. And I think all of that is incredibly important. Big. It, it’s really hard for me to think about, like what the large achievements were, because when we first started, I don’t even know if that school project counts as Lost&Found, necessarily, but as soon as that happened, I, I had spoken with Erik Muckey and a few other people, I was like, Okay, this happened, I want to do something more with this project. And that, really, with Erik and a few other people, is what started last and found you we go back and talk about creating the mission and the values and rethinking about it every single year. I knew a name that would fit was also a challenge. And I am grateful that we did settle on Lost&Found in the name Lost&Found for me really creates the spectrum of mental health well-being that we can probably discuss a little bit later.  The inception of the USD chapter was really cool. Just seeing so many people come together in that first meeting and say, Okay, we’re here, we want to make a difference. What do we do? Because let’s be real when you are 18 years old, and you’re like, Hey, I have an idea. And we can do something great. Okay, now, how do we, how do we take that idea, and we make something sustainable out of it. And there’s a gal named Morgan, who really led USD’s Lost&Found chapter, and she did amazing stuff with every year a battle of the bands that raised money for Lost&Found with a local band who was impacted by a suicide. Another big thing was working with Elliott. Again, student leaders run in small circles and finding out Elliott was doing stuff that wanted to have an impact with Lost&Found was awesome. Working with Elliott and student government, even outside of Lost&Found to impact policies to help students with their mental health was, I would argue a milestone that would not have happened, had we not had the passion from Lost&Found.

 

Nathan Hofer  23:17

That’s awesome. And I think it’s important to note that, you know, we, unfortunately, I think we can all, I know all of you, but I think anyone watching this, the unfortunate thing is, I think we all know someone or have been connected to someone who’s committed suicide, and we know that. That’s, that’s the reality. You know, that’s, that’s an unfortunate, that’s an unfortunate reality, let’s be honest. But we all understand that sense of loss, and we all understand the space that we’re in. And so as you were talking, you know, Anna and Elliot, and it was specifically about that shift from into resiliency on that shift into preventative, I think that’s, that’s a huge piece. Because you all have the vision, I want to also just congratulate you all again, you know, being 18. And kicking that off, you have passion and fire and energy that a lot of folks, you know, lose in life. And you you took it, harnessed it and and roped it into creating this organization, which I obviously think is pretty, pretty darn neat. Because I you know, where I’m working, obviously, I know, it’s a part of the mission. It’s this, this passion, and it’s all developed from the work that all of you have helped lay.  But I think it’s important to know that we shared some awesome milestones, but it’s kind of maybe, let’s, let’s get into it a little bit here. And just, you know, let’s be honest about what were some of the things that were that were hard, what were some of the challenges that you all faced, because I’m sure people want to know what some of the like we can talk about our successes all the time. But, you know, the journey comes in the hardships sometimes. So I think it’d be great to hear some of those and Elliot, I saw you unmute yourself real quick, but so Deni, so I’m just gonna I’m gonna shut up and let you do it.

 

DJ Smith  24:58

Who’s starting?

 

Elliott Breukelman  25:03

Yeah, well, DJ, why don’t you lead us off.

 

DJ Smith  25:06

I think we had a really good conversation about this. The Nathan, Deni, Elliott and I, really recently because you, you don’t start an organization like Lost&Found without having issues of your own. And a big thing for me and I wrote a blog post about this, I haven’t shared it yet. I wrote a very personal blog post about struggling with mental health myself, and espousing these values that we need to really reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. Where at the same time, I was unwilling to talk about my own struggles. And, like, I felt like a hypocrite, I felt like a fraud. And I think it really drove a wedge between myself and the organization. And for several years, I carried around this feeling of what could I have done differently, and I don’t know that I could have. And I know that because of the conversation we had just two days ago, that just, you know, were young kids, and we have feelings, and our feelings are valid, and we want to make a difference. But it’s so hard when you have all of that going on at the same time. And it’s really easy when you are struggling with things like depression and things that you are struggling with, through anxiety and being able to trust other people, when you are leading an organization with your peers and your friends. And your mentors. And I wish I could have asked for help a lot more often than I did. And I’m very thankful for the people who are still working with Lost&Found that I’ve really been able to take this vision and bring it to life and build upon it. But one of the issues I think being in college, not having someone full-time dedicated to Lost&Found and, and struggling with your own mental health and learning about resilience. Not not even considering resilience. When you’re you’re thinking about the mission until years after the inception of the organization. I thought was a challenge that I held on my own. And it was humbling, and it was, um, it made me think twice to hear that I wasn’t the only person who, who had these thoughts and had these struggles.

 

Elliott Breukelman  27:56

I mean, I think it’s important to note too, that depression, anxiety, mental health looks different for every person, right. And every person reacts to those stressors in different ways. Myself, I sacrificed friendships and relationships, and put everything into work, work as a student leader, work in Lost&Found, work with my employer, and, and put everything else on the back burner. Until I got help and recognized what was going on in my life. You know, that — that was that was my life. And I just think that no one person is that is that blame or at fault for anything that happens in any organization, when especially there’s so many contributing factors. Our age and inexperience was was a large one. Right? So I am so proud of where the organization is today. But we all know that without the vision of multiple 18 to 20 year olds, you know, it wouldn’t be.

 

Deni Etriheim  29:06

Yeah, absolutely. I think where we were at are different points in life. And even throughout the years of, you know, this organization developing, we’ve all had to take kind of a setback at times and that kind of thing. And not just for mental health struggles ourselves, but maybe even just life. You know, all of us dealing with college and trying to find jobs and that kind of thing. We’ve all had to kind of have each other’s back, take different turns at trying to lead this organization. So it’s wonderful to see that we have dedicated resources and people now to continue that and to help support that. I think one of the biggest struggles for me was kind of the stigma of getting people to participate in this organization. That’s kind of twofold. I think they felt they either needed to be really well versed in mental health issues and be almost a professional on that side of things or on the flip side of things. They need to have everything all together to be able to help a loss of bound. And that’s the most beautiful thing I’ve seen is that that’s completely untrue. We have such a wide spectrum of people participating with people who maybe have never really had an honest conversation about mental health struggles with anyone before, but they want to help regardless. And we have people who are in the thick of it, and are really struggling with various issues of their family members or their friends are. And they just need resources and support and someone to talk to. And it’s been wonderful to see how we can support such a wide spectrum of people and where they’re at in life. And so it’s good to see us overcoming that. But I do think that’s a stigma we’re going to continue to face as an organization is just that transparency with where people are at and, and that you’re all welcome, regardless of where you are at in those struggles.

 

Elliott Breukelman  30:48

I remember, and Anna might feed off of this, but I mean, I remember right before, kind of this organizational shift happened. I mean, just procedural stuff was a struggle for us, right, the the National 501c3, we filed that three different times. The first time it got sent back for changes. And you know, that was like a, it was our first time we’ll try again, it’ll be okay. We found it the second time. And when it came back the second time, it was like, Ah, you know, it’s it’s just it was a struggle. And it was, it was hard to feel defeated, when all you’re trying to do is is help. And, you know, if you don’t, you know, dot the right i or cross the right t procedurally, it just sets you back. So you know, file the third time. And that third time got accepted. But, you know, just just things like that, that are always just kind of the world pushing back.

 

DJ Smith  31:52

So not only that, the first one that we were given the wrong paperwork. That was months of, Okay, we’ve got all the stuff. Oh, no, we don’t. Yeah.

 

Deni Etriheim  32:08

Yeah, I would definitely agree with that procedurally, and I guess, to the heart of what you guys are saying to it was this protection of personal boundaries. And I think in college, I had no ability to derive my own personal boundaries, because I always like just felt this impetus to want to push my efforts to the limit, you know, I wanted to just do my best in a lot of different avenues. And so as we kind of migrated from the collegiate space to board members, and we’re still like Elliott mentioned, procedurally, we’re trying to support our current chapter members. And because we’re no longer in college, but they are we’re trying to support them the way you guys were collegiate members, and you were leading this Lost&Found organization. And so it was like, how do we pass the torch, while also respecting their personal boundaries, while also respecting mine, when you know, I’m a board member, but we all have full-time jobs, and we’re trying to meet, you know, weekly, bi weekly, and monthly, and we’re still trying to at the time, I was operations and marketing. So I worked with Kelsey with some of the programming. She worked directly with the different chapters, just with reporting and to see how they were doing. But it was like, how do we become the umbrella organization? And how do we create this protocol while also supporting the other chapters? I think it just goes down to boundaries. And that was probably the biggest challenge is, you know, up until we could have enough funds to hire staff to really move forward with the vision and the mission. It was like, how do we make this float? Then it’s just yeah, it’s just amazing to kind of reflect five years later and just see this happening. It’s just incredible.

 

Elliott Breukelman  33:42

I think that Anna brought up a really good point, you know, one of the biggest struggles for this organization, especially as a young org, was the almost the the chicken-and-egg scenario, right? We knew that we needed to fundraise to get money, but we needed money to be able to put on programming and fundraising. And the, you know, I just have to send a huge shout out to any of our donors that might be watching this morning. Because, you know, seriously without our donors, our corporate sponsors, we would not be anywhere where we are today. Right? The gifts that have been given to Lost&Found over time, have really enabled us to actually do our vision and our mission, you know, hiring Nathan, hiring Erik, having full-time staff. That is the biggest thing, I think, from a from a milestone perspective, because without full time staff, I mean, Anna, you moved, I moved, right? Like life happens, our personal lives and our employment happen. And so a lot of us that started in Sioux Falls and started with this core group. no longer live in Sioux Falls and support the organization remotely.

 

Deni Etriheim  34:58

Remember, one of our very first fundraisers that we did at SDSU was the 5K with the Helpline Center. And that just led to a really great partnership. But we got done with the first one. And we had like, raised almost $8,000. And we were so excited. And then Kelsey and I looked each other went crap, what are we supposed to do is like, what? Something but we can’t just say thanks for your money, but we don’t know what to do, right. And so it’s really wonderful to be able to give back not only to the Helpline Center, but to SD State and to be able to see those dollars used. And some of the funding we were able to use early on helped us to bring in the Helpline Center and give our team members some training on some suicide prevention tactics and some capabilities to spot mental health struggles early on, I think I just gave our groups of confidence, we need him to, you know, understand that, no, we’re not going to be professionals. We’re not psychiatrists, like, we’re not medical professionals in the mental health industry, but we have the tools, we will help from a student perspective, from a friend perspective. And we can actually, you know, be a bridge between just an average Joe student or someone who is struggling and the mental health professionals. And so those dollars were used so wonderfully, and to be able to also help, you know, the foundation get up and running, as well as some of those dollars. So yeah, we absolutely appreciate every donor that has come through our doors, whether it’s $1, or you know, X number of dollars, they’re all being put towards good use. And we’ll continue to do so throughout the future.

 

DJ Smith  36:30

Just rewinding here a lot, both to the milestones and the obviously, thank you so much for the donors that have kept Lost&Found a fall for so many years. One of the big things we used to do would, at one point, we were making braceletes out of beads, like I’m not even kidding you we had Lost&Found bracelets that we were giving away to people. I did a lot of public speaking or Lost&Found early on, the farthest I went I think was St. Louis, for is anyone familiar with FCCLA? So I was Yeah, um, if you’re from the Midwest, you probably have heard of FCCLA. But I would speak at FCCLA events from in St. Louis and South Dakota and Sioux Falls. I would go to high schools. Our first big donation was when Erik Muckey and I went to speak at Sam ? another student leader and someone who was involved with with Lost&Found we went to her high school and they gave us I think it was $500. And, you know, we’ve had some significant donations. And even now, the organization has seen some pretty significant donations, and I’m sure more will continue to come. But at that time, it’s like, okay, we have $500. Kind of like what Deni said, that right, like, what do we do now? It’s always been, I think we’ve done a good job, whether that’s making making shirts for the website or doing marketing campaigns. Every dollar makes a huge difference, and it always has.

 

Nathan Hofer  38:18

Yeah, and I just want to echo what you all have said here, just briefly and give a shout out to all the people who’ve walked alongside this organization. You know, we, we work with some great organizations in our community, you know, we have some of those folks coming on at noon here to noon, that’s a different one to today. But you know, you mentioned the helpline center, they’ve been around with our crew for a long time. And, you know, we were in the space together. And so I want to give a shout out to all those people who partnered with us in the past. And, you know, once again, like you said to our donors, because we’re nonprofit, yeah, you don’t, we don’t, we don’t move forward without, without support without funding. And, you know, we’re, we try to do everything we can to make our programming accessible and free, you know, as best we can.  And I’d feel remiss if I didn’t take a quick second here to just toss this up. We are in the midst of our 10-year campaign here our $10,000 for 10 years, 10K for 10. And we have some great matching donation. So if you’re interested, you know, you’re watching this, you know, when you’re you want to donate $1, or, you know, more than that, as you know, you don’t take I’ll take $1 I’ll take you know, whatever we can bring in but at the end of the day, this is going to go back to our chapters in our programming initiative. So then you touched on something really important, I think there that we we don’t, we can’t do I like that chicken or the egg statement like yeah, we want to do these programs. And we need to fundraise to that but we don’t have money to do the fundraising to do the program to do so. You know, there’s it’s a it’s a crazy cycle. But we’ve we’ve been very blessed to have a lot of people walk alongside this organization. We’re very grateful for that. As a, you know, as I, you know, segue off of that, I’d love to hear something. Well, anything from any of you, really. But you know, what, what are some things that, you know, maybe surprised you about your time with Lost&Found, or you know, maybe you have something that you didn’t expect to get out of this organization. But you did.

 

Elliott Breukelman  40:25

I guess I’ll go first. And I think I think everybody can, can pretty much echo the sentiment, right? Again, I started with Lost&Found when I was having my own struggles with with mental health. And Anna kind of mentioned this, this almost like, self insight and self realization that, you know, I’m not walking this path alone, there are other people. And that feeling that, you know, nobody should feel like they’re alone on that walk. So for me, it was really just that, that almost like, awakening that, you know, I’m not alone, I do have people that that can help. Other people are going through the same things as me. And really taking those and focusing that effort it back into Lost&Found.

 

Deni Etriheim  41:19

Yeah, I definitely agree with that. I think, like, humans at any, and many times in our lives, there’s like a sense and a feeling of brokenness, and that we are connected in kind of that brokenness. You know, it’s like no one has to go at it alone has been a really important realization for me. And I guess the other one is just the one thing that surprised me that Lost&Found has given me after talking amongst ourselves with just all of the ebbs and flows of this journey is just how, how much of a stable piece, it’s been in my life, since 2015, you know, I married a guy in the military, and we have moved like three or four times. So every year, I feel like we’re in a different place. And so the fact that I can always kind of come come back to board meetings into the same community, and just to see how far we’ve progressed, it’s been like, one of the most stable things in my life, which is just funny to admit that, happy to be here, very grateful for the organization. And

 

DJ Smith  42:15

I feel like there’s been a very smooth transition so far with this with this conversation. But I think stability is an incredibly important thing that we’ve all gotten out of this. And, you know, if you would have told me in 2012, that a lot of the people that I was working with, I would still have a connection to eight years later, I suppose I wouldn’t have been incredibly shocked. But the the way we are connected is much different than I would have thought. We all grew up with the stereotypes and the stigmas of this is how you are supposed to be if you are xy and z, and growing up as a male person in the Midwest who is not straight, to be frank, you know, you hear you don’t have feelings. You know, you have to keep this to yourself, you have to keep this bottle, then, you know, you’re not allowed to show how you feel and Lost&Found has always been a place where it is OK to, you know, open up a little bit, even though that’s something I struggled with. Without that struggle in my life early on without Lost&Found having an impact on me, I would not, I would not be able to reach out to Elliot, reach out to Erik, I would love to reach out to Deni and then Nathan a lot more than I that I do that’s on me. But I feel so incredibly comfortable. Or whatever. I just I feel so incredibly comfortable speaking with the people in my life that are a part of this organization. I think that’s fantastic.

 

Deni Etriheim  44:03

I think for me, it’s given me a purpose and a home. Not some too cheesy, but I think in a sense, kind of like Anna and Elliot have said, you know, people deal with stress differently. They deal with mental health struggles differently. You know, I suffer from really severe anxiety. And so for me, the best thing is to keep busy. The limits I’ve learned thanks Lost&Found, but for me, it gave me a way to help people when I didn’t always have help myself. And so that purpose there and to be able to feel like I’m doing something for others while still doing something for myself. I mean, you can’t put a price tag on that. And a home in the sense that we’re trying to normalize talking about struggles with mental health. I can’t say that, you know, when I was just getting out of high school going into college, I would comfortably say like I struggle with anxiety, like that’s not something that I even probably identified at that time. And it wasn’t something that I really wanted to talk about because I didn’t know how. And so for me to now use that not necessarily as a platform, but that’s an identifier. And I will label myself with that, probably because it’s a big part of who I am. And I don’t think that if I didn’t have lots of on my life, I don’t think I’d ever feel comfortable labeling myself, let alone saying that’s just kind of something I embrace now.

 

Nathan Hofer  45:21

And I would say, Oh, sorry, Elliott, you talk.

 

Elliott Breukelman  45:24

No, you’re good. No, I just wanted to kind of circle back on something DJ said, you know, DJ brought up geography, which I think is a huge, huge component of what Lost&Found is, you know, DJ brought up a great point that with the geography of Lost&Found that, you know, we all grew up in the Midwest. And the, the certain stigmas that are associated with Midwest living are completely different when you go someplace else. So I think a large component of Lost&Found is dealing with the stigma and, and its home base of Sioux Falls is so perfect. Because it’s, it’s just, it just seems like people in South Dakota just don’t talk about their feelings, the stigmas, mental health in general, it’s always a struggle. And then you you look at some of the other places in the United States, typically larger cities and on the coasts, but it’s, it’s just a much more common thing to talk about. It’s okay to not be okay. And that’s something that, you know, we’re really pushing for in the Midwest to to change that perception.

 

DJ Smith  46:37

Yeah, you’re still muted, Nathan.

 

Nathan Hofer  46:39

Oh, that’s embarrassing. That’s terribly embarrassing.

 

DJ Smith  46:43

I thought it was gonna be me. So

 

Nathan Hofer  46:46

Well, yeah, it’s fine. I was gonna say you mentioned community and geography. I think that’s really fascinating. Because I’m, I’m really, I’m the new I’m the newbie to this crew. And I’m, I’m fine with that. But I’ve noticed just in our time together, as we prep for today, just how it was like none of you skipped a beat when connected, it was like, You hadn’t been separated. It’s it’s hilarious, as you mentioned, geography alien, because we have our own private chat going here and DJ’s in Seattle. Anna’s in Miami, Deni and I are in Sioux Falls, you know, we’re like, we cover we’re going coast to coast in like a line. You know, it’s pretty funny if you think about it. And yeah, it’s like, like, literally, and DJ, you probably couldn’t be further away in the United States, unless one of you was in Hawaii, or Alaska, but those are not contiguous. So

 

Anna Hyronimus  47:34

Literally, like, like the spectrum could not be much farther.

 

DJ Smith  47:41

Let’s figure out the mileage after this.

 

47:45

Well, why have you all answered the question, I’ll do a Google Maps and be real fun. So, you know, we are kind of nearing the end of our time here together. And to wrap it up, I think I’d love to hear from all of you. If you can get it’s a two fold question. So you’re gonna, two things to remember, I’m so sorry. It’s real difficult for me. But you know, if you could go back in time, give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be? And then also, what was maybe one of your favorite memories? What was one of your favorite memories within your time with Lost&Found? I know that one might be tricky. They both both are tricky. But you know, I think that vulnerability, the power of stories, you’ve talked about that, that that’s gonna, you know, that makes this even more real, and we get to hear from all of you. So, advice, memories.

 

Deni Etriheim  48:34

I’m going to go first, so I don’t forget both of the questions. I think my biggest thing of as far as advice goes is don’t worry about the numbers and what the future holds. I had no idea it would become what it did. And that wasn’t just all on me. And it wasn’t about me and that kind of thing. But it we spent so much time I think there were meetings where it would just be my VP and I’m like, Where the heck is everybody? Like, what’s going on? What are we doing here? Is this even worth it? That kind of thing. And so I think I wish I could have told myself like, just keep pushing forward and you have supporters, whether they’re in your meetings are not or whether they’re, you know, watching videos or not, or engaging, you know, people out there do actually care about it. And it was a purpose that was absolutely worth it.  And then the memories aspect. This is such a strange, roundabout story. So, um, when I was in college, there was this Facebook group that was like to think Jackrabbits Anonymous and all these colleges were doing it and a lot of people are going on there and posting a cool boy walking down the street with the brown hair. You’re really cute kind of thing, right? But there was actually it was a strange outlet for people to really talk about their mental health struggles and an anonymous platform, which was fairly new at that time. And it hit us like a wave. It was crazy. We all of a sudden were having messages with the admins these groups and it was phenomenal to see people tagging Lost&Found and suggesting people leverage them as a resource. We have people tag us in these posts. I’m like, I have no idea who you are. How do you even know who we are like, I’ve never seen your name. But I appreciate it like thanks, stranger for you know, setting people our way. And I think that, like, I just have goosebumps right now talking about it, because it just was not about us. It was about our purpose and our organization. And there’s these people we’ve never met before that knew that that purpose was worthwhile. And that was just one of the coolest memories for me to see and to be able to, you know, just feel supported and feel loved and feel like we truly were fulfilling our purpose at our campus.

 

Elliott Breukelman  50:44

Alright, I’ll go next. For me, I think the the piece of advice, certainly, it’s something that I’ve I’ve said multiple times so far. But the the component of it’s okay to not be okay. Right. I think the biggest thing for me is, if I could give myself that advice, you know, eight years ago, that would have helped me immensely, right. And it’s, it’s one thing from having somebody say it to you, but it’s a complete different thing to live it. So I think that would be the advice. And then the memories, there’s so many great memories, right? I have a great memory, and then I’m going to go a little bit darker. So one of the one of the greatest memories that I have is right when we started the DSU chapter, you know, we had DJ up who, who kind of gave a conversation with the students. And I handed at the end DJ, this gigantic check. That was fantastic. I love that memory. Because, you know, he, he’s like, What am I supposed to do with this? So that was kind of fun. Yeah, right. “How do I take this to the bank?” And then, you know, the other memories, you know, they’re really kind of fuel to keep us going. So I specifically remember meeting with parents whose child had committed suicide. I remember going to funerals of kids that had committed suicide. Those are the really difficult memories, but they’re the memories that fuel us to go out into our communities and, and fight this fight. And so for me, those are really important, just as good as just as important as the good memories. Awesome.

 

DJ Smith  52:38

Both of you just saying these things really brought back a lot of memories and moments that, you know, I remember the USD confessions page, and now just thinking back to Lost&Found being tagged and being able to be a resource in that way. It was a good thing, even as the confession pages themselves were a little bit toxic. There were moments in there that people were able to be a resource, I think a piece of advice I would, again, going going third, it’s really hard to say advice I would give myself that hasn’t already been said but you aren’t alone. It’s okay to ask for help are two very big things. One of the ways my my anxiety would often hit me is I would feel like I’m just in everything on my own. And I would be too afraid to ask for help. And obviously, that’s not true. And it’s something we all learn at our own pace. But it’s something that I probably should have heard much, much sooner in my life.  One memory I have, again, going off as Elliot, sometimes it feels a little bit dark. But you see the light at the end of the tunnel when a student at the University of South Dakota, lost his life to suicide and seen the entire, like enormous community come together for a candlelight vigil. And not only that, creating an event afterwards, in his name to raise awareness and funds to the battle for suicide prevention with an organization that was outside of Lost&Found. So a lot of what we do and a lot of–it’s to prove–it’s hard to put into words. I think at this point. A lot of what we do is to make it so we don’t have to do fundraising and awareness the way that we’ve done in the past. And it is a reminder that the greater community is there to support organizations like Lost&Found. And it’s also a reminder of why we do what we do. And maybe not the, you know, the happiest memory I have had, but it’s definitely one that made a huge impact on me.

 

Anna Hyronimus  55:19

Realizing I should have gone first, because I don’t know how I’m gonna follow all of you, Danny, that was a great decision on your part. One piece of advice that I would have for my younger self, is to learn how to create personal boundaries early and often. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. You don’t have to be “Yes, man” all the time. Your space is worth protecting. Your “no” is a full sentence. You know, just that creation of personal boundaries is personally something I still struggle with. It’s like, I love being a yes, man, I love helping others. I pour into others cups, and then I look at my own. And I’m like, what’s left? And I think just that mindset would have served me really well to switch that thought process early, early on.  The other piece of advice is to trust the vision. I wish I would have given myself more opportunities to think what if this works, as opposed to like contingency planning, like, Okay, how do we prevent this from going to the ground? should not have been as pessimistic as Okay, how do we plan so that when this works, like, these are the problems we’re going to have? And I do credit Erik Muckey for being that person. And I was kind of the blackhat. That was like, well, we have to, you know, we have to protect this organization, what if it fails next month, and he just had the opposite thinking, I think Elliot and Erik both did great jobs of that when we were post college. So those are kind of the two pieces of advice.  And then I guess the memories, when I truly felt that this could be a legacy that would move on past us was in the 2016 chapter retreat. It was, you know, Erik, Elliott, Kelsey, myself, and then the presidents and the members have each of the three Lost&Found chapters at the time. And we have this concept, you know, I took Professor Roach’s classes, and he talks a lot at USD about living and looking around the lantern. And, you know, there’s a lantern in the center of the room. And everybody’s stories and histories have different perspectives based on like that lantern that you’re looking at, and how it’s impossible to see on the other side of it. So we sat in a circle, and we were just talking about kind of that concept, and also the concept of being lost and being found. And just being able to have the privilege of creating a safe space for those college members and the board members to sit around the circle, and talk about moments when we felt lost. And then moments and ways that we feel found, heard and understood. Just gives me goosebumps thinking about it’s like that’s kind of the impact where that was like the light bulb went off about us creating programming, that turned into a legacy that can help college students year after year after year, and that it can supersede us. So that was you know, very positive memory that I still reflect on and still like so incredibly thankful and happy to be a part of.

 

Nathan Hofer  58:23

That’s awesome. And before I end us here, I just wanted to this is not anything important. But I just thought it’d be fun to pull up here quick, because, as you talked about it, look at that 48 hours, 3300 miles away, but you drive through Sioux Falls, so the best.

 

DJ Smith  58:40

So it’s kind of worth it. It’s kind of like a like a pit stop there.

 

Nathan Hofer  58:44

You only have to drive for 48 hours straight or 24 hours to stop in Sioux Falls. So you know,

 

58:49

Nathan, would you have any advice and memories you wanted to share?

 

Nathan Hofer  58:56

Oh, me, no one cares what I have to say.

 

DJ Smith  58:58

I care.

 

Nathan Hofer  59:02

I was just gonna say, you know, I think back to you know, my time as a student and my time as working with students, because my background is in higher ed, I worked in higher ed for 10 years before coming here, and it’s very cool to see. You know, like I said, I definitely remember several of you being students when I worked at your institution, which lies and makes me feel real old. But that’s neither here or there. But it’s, it’s really, it’s really great to just see how much of an impact you can make and knowing that that community is, is there and it’s ready to be impactful.  So I have lots of things I can say, but I know we we have some folks who need to get out of here at 10. But I can you know if anyone has questions, they want to talk to me or talk to any of these wonderful people. Feel free to reach out to us hit us up on our social media platforms. You can reach us all at Instagram and Facebook at resilient today. We definitely want to connect with you, we want to connect with each other. And I just want to say, you know, thank you again, to all of you for the work you did. You know, the, as we talk about mental health and well being, this is stuff resilience, you can learn whether you’re 18 or 72. You know, we can we can learn that and develop that and, and grow through that. So, yeah, I’m so thankful for all of you and the work and the passion that you put into this organization to bring it to today. And just a quick shout out. He couldn’t be here with us today. But Erik, Erik Muckey, our CEO, he is a he he’s, you know, what? 28, something like that. And he’s got the wisdom of someone who’s like, you know, 280. It’s crazy. Apparently, the the health of one, too, just kidding, he’s fine. He’s healthy. He’s good. But you know, we’re thankful for everyone in this in this in this group. So thank you all so much for being here. And I really, we should do that we should have this something like this again, keep keep the conversation going.

 

Deni Etriheim  1:01:05

It’s an honor to be here. Thank you so much for having me. And thank you donors. Thank you original members. This is then an incredible celebration to kick off 10 years. Yes.

 

DJ Smith  1:01:16

This has been so much fun. It’s been so great. just sharing stories and experiences. Erik get better. We missed you. Nathan, thank you, donors. Thank you other people.

 

Nathan Hofer  1:01:31

All right. Well, we’ll see you all we have something at noon. Come back to facebook live right here at noon. And we’ll talk about the present where we’re at today. See you then.

 

Anna Hyronimus  1:01:39

Bye.

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Lost&Found’s 10-year celebration: VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT

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This is a transcript of the 10-year anniversary program. It has been auto-generated, so there might be some transcription errors. 

 

Nathan Hofer  00:44

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our 10-year celebration. Whoops, no one else is here with me yet, but I’m Nathan Hofer. And I’ll be your emcee tonight. And you know what, just you’ve seen enough of me today. So I’m just gonna turn it right over to Dr. Anne Kelly, who is Lost&Found’s board president who’s going to give us a little overview of the night. And welcome to the party.

 

Anne Kelly  01:08

Thank you, Nathan. I’m happy to be here this evening. I’m Anne Kelly and I have the pleasure of serving as board president. On behalf of Lost&Found I want to welcome you to our 10-year anniversary celebration. We’re excited to have everyone here with us this evening. I’d like to extend a special welcome to our guest speaker Vaney Hariri. And we look forward to hearing about his work tonight. Lost&Found has come a long way. And I am thrilled to be celebrating this with you. We started with a small but bold group of college students determined to put an end to suicide 10 years and more than 450 student leaders later, we now serve five campuses in South Dakota, and our reach is growing quickly. The growth of Lost&Found’s impact continues commensurate with the organizational growth. Although our growth has been rapid, it’s still built upon our core values, compassion, understanding and inclusion. And I think as a group, we really center around these principles. We’re expanding in every direction. As we build resilience and strengthen mental health for adolescents and young adults. We’re truly on the leading edge of serving this particular demographic. And we’re creating a new model of what these kinds of programs will look like. They’re innovative, they’re exciting, and they’re truly new and unique. And I think Lost&Found is poised to take suicide prevention, resilience and mental health in a new direction for adolescents and young adults, and really shape how we think about mental health and how we respond to risk. I’m really excited for you to hear about the direction in which we’re moving and our strong vision for the future tonight. So thank you again for joining us.

 

Nathan Hofer  03:09

And thank you and and we’re very lucky to have as our board president. So we’ll give a virtual round of applause to Anne and, you know, we wouldn’t be it wouldn’t be fair to go without also saying thank you to all of those folks who helped make this night possible. So we have had so many people who have given to Lost&Found for this event, but also throughout the year and years. So I want to give a special shout out to some of our sponsors tonight. So sponsors who provided matching funds for our 10K for 10 Years campaign are The Diamond Room by Specktor, Vern Eide, First Bank and Trust, American Bank and Trust, and the Astrup Family Foundation. So as we move forward with our 10K for 10 Years campaign, these folks have committed to matching dollar for dollar up to a certain amount in that for 10 years campaign so far as a 4pm. Today, it’s probably changed. I haven’t checked as a 4 pm, today, though we had 55 donations totaling $2300. So we still have a long ways to go. But the night isn’t over, and the campaign is not finished. So some of those donors, some of those people who are giving, are also FOUNDers Club members. And we want to thank all those people who give a recurring donation to Lost&Found every month. That’s our FOUNDers Club. So these donations are very important to the stability of organizations such as our own. And we want to say thank you to all those who have made a one-time donation over the years, whether that’s a large amount or a small amount. Each and every donation is a vote of support that helps keep Lost&Found and our momentum going forward. So we’re so thankful for that. And I’m going to speak for our staff so we on the staff, we want to thank the active board of Lost&Found, which has supported and enabled the Lost&Found chapters’ and association’s growth and innovative thinking in recent years. So, you know, Anne is our board president, she is one of many that have been a part of this. And we do want to thank our partners in the mental health field who have also supported Lost&Found over the years, as well as chapter advisors, leaders and members who are on the ground doing the programming work right now. And those who served Boston pound over the past 10 years, you’ve all left your mark, and we appreciate your work. And I know, so many of our current students are living out that that history of excellence today, and you know, I’m just really, really excited and really thankful for that. And I’d also like to give a special recognition to and this is not just me, this is everyone on our on, our team can say this, but we want to give a special special recognition. And thanks to our current CEO and executive director, Erik Muckey, we’ll hear from him a little later. But his bold vision has been a huge part of our success as an organization up until now, and the potential for us to do big things in the future are all a part of what Erk has brought to the table. So Eric is uh, he hasn’t been with us as much today as he would have liked to. He had a mild health scare. But we’re, he’s he seems to be feeling better. I think he just wanted to get out of all the videos and wanted to make me do it. But I were so thankful that he’s here with us tonight. And we’ll be able to have him speak here, momentarily. But I also want to say that all these contributions, big or small, are driving, Lost&Found closer to our vision of ending suicide among young adults. I keep saying I want to live in a world where my job’s obsolete. So let’s keep working to get me out of a job. So if you want to be a part of this effort, and we hope you do, we invite you to give a donation, consider giving a donation, whether it’s $1, whether it’s more whether it’s, you know, whatever you can give, obviously, we’re, the link is right there bit.ly/10yearsofresilience. And we want to make sure that we are supporting the work that is in our community. And that’s what this funding is going to go towards is funding for supporting the work that are happening within our chapters in our community. So feel free, I will put this in the comments as well. So you can find that link. I’m gonna take it off the screen though.  And the next part of the program is one I’m super excited about. I’m really looking forward to it. And we are premiering a video that honors this 10th anniversary milestone for our organization. And we have a friend of mine we got Thad from PINStudios here to introduce this video Thad Giedd, everybody.

 

Thad Giedd  07:37

Thanks, Nathan. Awesome to be with you. Thanks for having me on the stream here. But at PINStudios, we collaborated with lost and found the organization, the whole team and even past founders to put together a series of videos and the one we are debuting here tonight is the kind of look back in history and throughout the years have lost and found. So it’s called the celebrating 10 years video. And yeah, it’s been an honor, it’s been pleasure to be with you guys and collaborate on these. And we are big fans of Lost&Found organization, especially just the presence in the proximity you guys have on the college campuses, with active students that are the true leaders connecting with the youth in navigating their growth phases. So it’s been a great honor to be with you guys. So without further ado, this is the 10-year The Lost and Found organization video. Thank you.

 

Erik Muckey  08:48

My friend, DJ had an idea back in 2008. In the age of Facebook groups when they were really sort of at their peak, to bring people together around a topic that simply writing love on your arm wasn’t enough

 

DJ Smith  09:05

Nothing is going to get accomplished from prayer just words you have no actions, tangible to stopping or reducing suicide ideology and removing the stigma surrounding mental health. But I also thought this was an opportunity for us all be able to do more

 

Erik Muckey  09:28

in the context at the time was that largely speaking stigma was still very much keeping people from seeking help, and really sort of putting the conversation down at that point in time. But it was slowly because of social media and the ability to communicate with larger communities outside of your own, there was an opportunity to talk about mental health, there’s an opportunity to share information resources like never before. And DJ’s idea really was at the time to focus on sort of what are ways we can pay it forward or, or inspire action to get people involved in a very simple and meaningful way. 

DJ Smith  

We really wanted to help teens and young adults who were suffering from mental health issues and suicide ideologies in the greater communities who are struggling, so much to discuss topics that, at that point in time, and even still now are just incredibly taboo. 

Erik Muckey 

At this point, we know that suicide rates are growing at unprecedented rates, it’s, we’re seeing the highest rates of suicide for this age bracket for young adults in South Dakota, and also the surrounding region, to the tune of about 30, or 40% increases over the past 20, 25 years. You have to ask yourself, what are we doing, to ensure that their lives are healthy, that they’re able to pursue their life, but more importantly, keep them here, that’s really what our work is about.

 

DJ Smith  11:07

We were able to get together, we made a student organization at the University of South Dakota.

 

Erik Muckey  11:13

It was high energy, kind of fly by the seat of your pants, but really passionate and really engaged in what our work was. At time is probably considered ourselves to be superheroes, you know, we’re gonna, we’re going to save the world, we’re gonna save everybody.

 

Nathan Hofer  11:30

The stigma around mental health is reducing, people are talking about it more people are seeking resources more, and that’s awesome. But in that space, universities don’t have the resources currently to deal with that. We really focus in on providing that support and that peer to peer support and that network in that connection to resources and training and programming.

 

DJ Smith  11:51

We always talked about between Erik and I had ideas. And he was the one who really made sure these ideas came into fruition. And as you can see, under his leadership last time has only continued to grow 10 years later.

 

Anne Kelly  12:05

we’ve grown the number of campuses that we serve. And we’ve grown, the number of students that we serve on those campuses too.

 

Elliott B  12:12

I think one of the biggest components and strengths the organization has, is the relationship that we have with students, you know, we had those same personal struggles with mental health in in college. And that really makes us relate to the struggles that kids go through.

 

Anne Kelly  12:32

We’ve also introduced the research piece that allows us to get a better understanding of practices on campuses and of students and how students are doing on campuses, so that we can design better programming to support students and campuses and communities.

 

Tom Parker  12:49

You know, the funding for Lost and Found is is all from private donations. And as the years have progressed, and Erik has gone out and actively solicited corporate donations, we’ve gotten hooked up with several large-scale donors from the private sector that have really launched what we can do as a as an organization.

 

Erik Muckey  13:13

That funding source now has created this, this massive movement and ability for us to actually increase that impact and increase our ability to to fund necessary staffing and necessary programs, simply by just giving us the capacity to do so. The reason that we focus on resilience as an organization is to unite people around the idea that we all struggle, we all face challenges, we all navigate difficulties, but the kicker is we can all learn how to navigate.

 

Elliott B  13:48

Our message and our programming really needs to get out to students in every state.

 

Erik Muckey  14:02

My vision and the vision shared by our board and staff is to be able to serve every young adult in the United States. The idea that we can spread to every campus that we can share this message of resilience and hope to every campus we can is something that we are united behind. We are compassionate.

 

Speaker 1  14:29

We are inclusive.

 

Speaker 2  14:31

We are responsive.

 

Nathan Hofer  14:32

And we are here.

 

Thad Giedd  14:50

Terrific.

 

Nathan Hofer  14:57

Thank you.

 

Thad Giedd  14:58

You’re on mute, Nathan.

 

Nathan Hofer  14:59

I was just telling I’m going to kick you out. So I didn’t want you to be offended when I kick you off of this. See ya, Thad. I do apologize, there was a little lag on the beginning, we will post this video again. So you can see the whole the whole thing en masse. But I’ll tell you what, a lot of feelings there. And I’m I was not part of that the founding crew, and I know that it’s nowhere near the level of impact that that I feel doesn’t even relate to what they feel. So. So thankful and so proud to be a part of this organization.  And this organization has really impacted people at a lot of different levels. So we’re about to bring two other folks in here. We have Logan Anderson, who is going to talk about, about that experience as a student and an alumni. And then we also have Jenny Noteboom coming up, who’s going to talk about that experience as a parent and an advisor for Lost&Found. We’re going to start by bringing Logan into the stream. So Logan, why don’t you share your story, I’m going to pull myself out actually.

 

Logan Anderson  16:01

All right. Hi, everyone. Thank you for being here tonight. Um, yeah, so my name is Logan Anderson, my pronouns are they/them. I was born and raised in Yankton, South Dakota. And then I attended the University of South Dakota, and had received my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology back in 2017. So currently, I’m a medical case manager at Colorado Health Network here in Denver, Colorado. And so this work still, you know, impacts me daily. So I’m really happy to be here tonight. And thank you for joining. So, I was president of Lost&Found for two years. And I felt really lucky to work with Erik, I felt like I learned a lot of leadership values from him. And really, with Lost&Found I also learned how to be a leader, and leadership with empathy, which I was very thankful for.  So during my time, as President, I got to see the transition into a 501 c 3 nonprofit. So like the the stages to transition into nonprofit, not just a college organization. And so that really has shown me how resilient organizations and how innovative they can be, and creative they can be. And really the creative process of the reorganization of of an organization, which was really awesome, and I’m thankful for that.  And really, I was able to connect with, you know, campus leaders, the counseling Student Counseling Center, and be on a, you know, organization or committees, with students and faculty, and really just be that face for students who were struggling, and they could come to, you know, being trained in QPR at the time, and really just knowing the resources around the region, you know, had students of all types and backgrounds come to me with, you know, suicidal ideation or, you know, mental health questions. And so I felt really trained with Lost&Found to provide those answers and be that support for the community.  And so I just, I thank, Lost&Found for being there, and the support and the resources that they have provided for me and my leadership skills, because I use that today as a medical case manager, you know, working with clients living with HIV, who could be experiencing suicidal ideation. So really, the last, you know, being a president of Lost&Found really just taught me the basics of running a group and being a leader. And so I’m very thankful for that opportunity. And so you know, if you can, I really would, you know, appreciate if you would consider donating tonight, because I, I have gained so many lessons and skills from Lost&Found the resiliency, the hope, so many relationships that I’ve built, I’m very thankful for that opportunity. I’m so thank you so much for being here. And Nathan, thank you for having me. Yeah, thank you so much.

 

Nathan Hofer  19:38

Well, thank you, Logan, for your years of your years of work to and your, your passion that continues to still support this organization. So Logan, thank you so much, from us to you as well. So we’re very blessed to have you in our in our sphere.  So you know, next I’m going to bring in Jenny, Jenny. She has an experience as a parent and also she is kind of our kind of our go-to when it comes to a lot of chapter business. And she is a current chapter advisor at Dakota Wesleyan University. So Jenny, I’ll let you just take it away and share your story. And like with Logan, I’m out. Okay.

 

Jenny Noteboom  20:16

Well, I was unfortunate enough to be introduced to Lost&Found in the way that nobody wants to be introduced to Lost&Found, I received a sympathy card, about seven and a half years ago, after the death of my son Connor to suicide. He was a 19-year-old college student at SDSU at the time, and when we received the thank you card from Lost&Found I hadn’t heard of them before. But we were looking for a place that would matter. That would make an impact that could help people like Connor to donate the memorial money that his friends and family had opened their hearts in their wallets to to help support the cause that was so important to us. And then after that, after the initial donation, and I kind of just kept up, you know, I donated when I could, I helped when I could, and then I just followed their path and their growth, and I watched things change.  And then a year ago, I was applying for a new job. And I was sitting in the interview. And the person that would become my supervisor said, “Oh, and by the way, in this position, you’re going to be asked to be the adviser of this new club we’re having on campus. It’s called Lost&Found.” and he proceeded to try to like explain to me what lost and found was, and I was like, “Whoa, no, I got this. You know, I know, I know what it is.” And I knew right then and there that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. And then this was my job.  Since I have been able to be involved in Lost&Found isn’t the advisor, I’ve been lucky enough to get to work directly with the passionate student leaders in each of the campuses or especially at DWU, where I am at. When I was introduced to Lost&Found years ago, I was always just like dumbfounded a little bit about how 18, 19, 20, 21 year olds could be so focused and so passionate, and so selfless in spending their time and their energy on on a cause for other people. I was just really impressed. And now I get to see it firsthand. Los&Found is needed now more than ever as as Erik mentioned in the video, it’s just so true. With the, with the pandemic going on, mental health issues are skyrocketing, and mental health issues among young adults are really, really taking a hit. We need we just need it, this world needs more Lost&Found.  So if you’re able, please consider donating to Lost&Found so you can help the advisors, the board, the young leaders, all of us reach out and give the young adults the support they so desperately need. Thank you.

 

Nathan Hofer  23:00

Jenny, thank you again, as well. You know, we don’t, you never want to get connected with an organization because of because of the loss of a loved one. And we’re thankful for your passion and your energy and just the the love you give to our community and to those students at Wessleyan. I mean, who else signs up? has all their students sign up for a class with them at night, you know?

 

Jenny Noteboom  23:25

just lucky.

 

Nathan Hofer  23:28

Thank you, Jenny. And Logan. We’re so thankful.  One more time, I’ll just toss this up quick before we move on, as they both mentioned donating. It’s in our comments, but bit.ly/10yearsofresilience. You know, we we think what we’re doing is impactful in it, and so do many others. And we’re nonprofit. So this is one of the ways that we can do the things that we do.  But we’re gonna move on from that right now. Because we are going to do something new, I’m super pumped about this. And we are going to give our first ever Resilience Award. Yeah, I can tell you’re all clapping out there. Oops, clicked a thing. That’s my bad. But our first ever Resilience Award. So at the core of what we do with lost and found at our programming work is the idea of resilience. So we build resilience in three main areas for young adults, we focus on resilience for self, resilience for others, and resilience for community.  So we’re talking about resilience for self. We’re talking about self care and training. So at some point, everyone faces a tough time. I mean, we’re all kind of facing a tough time right now. And at that time, it’s when you really have to look within yourself and find strength to get to the next day. So that strength isn’t a trait that you that isn’t something that you have or someone else has are just born with it. It’s something that can be learned. It’s something that you can develop through skills and talents and you know, experience so what we do, we want to help young adults build those skills and have tangible things that can put into play for when, when we face those hardships.  When we look at resilience for others, it’s connecting people with mental health resources and building these networks of peer support, so we can get them connected to the help they need. So the mental health world it honestly, it isn’t easy to navigate. So we train young adults to help their peers find, find their way in that system, and also recognize when someone’s in a state of crisis.  And then when we look at our final area of resilience, we look at resilience for community, which means taking a wider, taking the wider community, and making it a better place for achieving mental health. We’re reducing the stigma for seeking help. And we’re advocating for better mental health funding.  And I said, I’m really excited for this award. And I’m really excited for our first winner, I’m gonna grab it here, it showed up in the mail today, this thing is slick, I’m gonna be honest with you. But this, this award goes to a person who has also worked tirelessly to build resilience in himself and others and in his community. And it is our keynote speaker Vaney Hariri.  So Vaney is the co founder of Think 3D Solutions. He’s a thought leader and activist in Sioux Falls. He understands the importance of building his own resilience, that he has the strength, he needs to face the hard situations without backing down in the face of injustice, or intransigence. He expresses that philosophy in how he lives his life. And I’ve gotten to know Vaney over the last year and hundred percent true the most genuine person you’ll ever meet. He helps others build resilience through leadership training programs, Leaders of Tomorrow (shameless plug), equipping others with the skills they need to do their work of community building with confidence and fortitude. He’s been a strong builder of community resilience for years, but especially this year, as we faced a global pandemic, racial injustice, and unrest, and unrest. And those things led many to turn to him for wisdom, and understanding about how to face this difficult time and find a way for society move forward. In fact, he was one of our very first guests on Voices of Resilience, actually, our first voices of resilience official guest. So he has worked seen that many diverse communities and a common call for justice. And with that, I virtually present this award to Vaney. And I will give it to him physically, tomorrow when we meet. And he will now give this evening’s keynote presentation. So I’d like to bring Vaney into the stream. Thank you, Vani. And thank you for all you do to build resilience in this community in Sioux Falls and beyond. And we’re just, we’re lucky to have you, we’re lucky to know ya.

 

Vaney Hariri  27:31

man, that’s awesome. Thank you so much. That is, that is beautiful. I’m truly honored and excited to do it, you guys do such great work. Thank you so much for for, for thinking of me for this.

Nathan Hofer  27:51

Well, we’re I said, we’re very thankful for you and I tried scratching your name out, it doesn’t come off. So I couldn’t put my name. I guess we will back out. And I’ll let Vaney let you go into your keynote, thank you again. And like I said, it’s truly an honor to be able to present that award to you, bud.

 

Vaney Hariri  27:59

Yeah. Ah, thank you all, all of the Lost&Found family for for participating tonight. And, and having me here. You know, this is a big thing that you all are doing. You know, so many young people are out in the world that are left to feel like they’re facing it alone, and are in that dark place and don’t necessarily have someone to reach a hand in. And so organizations like this are close to my heart. Because mental health is something that’s close to my heart. A person’s ability to really be able to acknowledge their own value, to be able to see what they offer the world and the reasons why they are supposed to be here. Not that they’re lucky to be here that there is some type of true and honest connection to the reasons why they are walking this earth. And organizations like this help people find that.  So I want to talk about a few things today to help you get in the right mindset as we go out there and try to affect all of those people who may be hurting, who may be in pain.  The first thing that I want to tell you is this is that often times when people do the work of taking care of others, they generally do less of a job of taking care of themselves. And so that’s the first thing that I want to challenge you all to think about when we think about mental health, and more importantly, when we think about being able to assist people with mental health, it’s important that we’re thoughtful about what we do for ourselves. Because the one thing that I want you all to know, is that a better you is better for everyone. So where the work starts is within yourselves, because the road to be able to help others is through yourself. So the number one thing that I want you all to be thinking about is are you taking care of yourself? Are you being thoughtful about where you’re at emotionally? Are you leaning on this team that you have, this organization that you have, to make sure that you are in a space to be able to help people?  One of the things that people don’t talk about enough that is the key to happiness and success is capacity. You can know the right thing to do. But if you don’t have the capacity to do it, to take advantage of it, then it’s not an opportunity at all. It’s not something that you can actually execute. And so one of the first things that we have to do is make sure that we have capacity, because if your cup is full, it makes it very difficult for you to give to others. So make sure you’re taking care of yourself, make sure you’re not apologizing for the time and energy you put into your own mental and physical health. Be mindful about where you’re at. And make sure you lean on the team that you have. And that you can example the courage necessary to lift yourself out of those moments, by exampling that courage, and being able to raise your hand and say that I’m not my best self today that I need help today, that I need strength today, that I need someone to support me today. So I would ask you to remember that a better you is better for everyone. And again, the road to helping others is through yourself. So I want you to make sure that you all are being good stewards of your own health.  The other thing that I really want you all to know is that many are lost. Many are lost out there. And the temptation is to go find all of those lost people and shelter them and hold them. But we’re dealing with a group of individuals who have trained themselves to obscure their pain who have trained themselves to put up a veneer or a mask or something along those lines. And so one thing that I want to share with you as well is that oftentimes, you are more likely to find what you’re looking for, by being open to it, than actually looking for it. And so what I would ask for you to be thoughtful of is versus thinking that we’re going to just find all those people out there in pain, make sure that we’re open to make sure that your heart is open, make sure that your posture is open for people to be able to share and to connect with you. The thing about being able to truly connect with folks, particularly those who are having, having challenging situations, is seeing them. What we understand is this: is that people can deal with being loved, people can deal with being hated. The thing that people can’t deal with is being ignored. They can’t deal with apathy. They can’t deal with with with walking past someone and feeling like that person doesn’t see them. So one of the key things that we have to be able to do is see people, is to be open. So whether you’re at the coffee shop, whether you’re in the commons, or whether you’re just walking the path, make sure you remain open and you see people. You see their body language, you see their gestures, you listen for their tone and their feeling. And you give them the sense that you are open to hear what they have to say. I want you to think about the reasons why most people don’t share their problems. And if you think about it, the reason why most people don’t share their problems is because they don’t think anyone wants to listen. And so if you’re open, if you lead with your heart, if you give the right posture, the body language that says I am a person that wants to be available to you, I am a person who cares. I’m a person who is not going to judge you, who is not going to condemn you, who is not going to cast you out. I’m a person that is going to listen to you and entertain what you have to say I promise you people will share. l promise you in a crowd of thousands, they will seek you out because they know the feeling of someone who truly wants to understand their circumstance, who truly wants to understand their situation. And truly has a caring heart and wants to share it. So make sure you are being open.  And the last thing that that I want to leave you with. And I want to leave you with a couple of these things. And these are takeaways that I want you to really to focus on. And that’s why I want to limit it to just a couple. But this other one is one that’s big to me and it’s close to my heart and that is: Good has to go on offense.  I want to share this message with you because right now the world feels so dark. It feels like we are in this civil war in every aspect of everything that we do. It seems like people are leaving us. It seems like people are frustrated and angry and all they do is argue and bicker and fight. But what I will tell you is this: Any space that is not occupied by light will ultimately be occupied by darkness. Light wins 100% of the time. All it has to do is be there, be available. We have to be there. We have to occupy the spaces. And too many times good people have occupied the spaces to darkness because they didn’t feel like it was their place, because they didn’t feel like they had the right words, because they weren’t “there yet.” Let me be clear, there is no “there.” There is only journey. And you don’t have to know how to get someone from here to there. You only need to know how to get someone from there to here. You are experts in your journey, you know how to get through what you got through. And the fact that you are here shows that you survived everything that the world is thrown at you. All of those moments where you thought you would crumble. All of those times that you thought you would fold. All of those life ending circumstances that you went through–you survived them all. And here you are. And that energy, that confidence, knowing that you have been able to endure the worst that life has been able to throw at you, should give you the confidence, to go out into that darkness and spread your light. Good has to go on offense. Be prepared to take your light in every room that you’re into. Smile, shine, be graceful, be giving, be caring–all of those things that allow people to attract to you that lighten and brighten up their days, I want everyone to know that you have the ability to do that. And both for the folks who are doing the work for the folks who are supporting them and the people who contribute to this mission, you are all part of putting good back on offense and changing this world and owning it and saying that this is a moment where we don’t have to hide from wanting the best for each other. But we don’t have to obscure our passion and our drive for wanting to be healthy, and happy and whole. It is something that every person deserves and every person should have. And I’m proud to be a part of a team that is moving towards the mission of bringing that to them. And that’s where I’m most excited to be coming to you all tonight.  Remember this, that when we talk about resilience, it resilience, it is the capacity and the ability to respond, to react to recover to difficulties. It is not the absence of difficulties. They will come. They are a guarantee. But you have the ability, you have the strength, you have the know how and you have the support to bounce back from them. And if you go out into that world with your life, if you challenge that darkness, if you take up that space, you will make it available for other people as well.  And so with that, I thank you so much for all the work that you all do. I’m so proud that you are willing to take this step that you are willing to go on this journey that you are willing to commit your time, energy, and efforts to help save the lives of people who need you most. So thank you, again, thank you to Nate, the entire team, we appreciate you so much. And Think 3D, we are here for you. We want to support you in every way that we can give me a ring, give me a call if ever you need me, I want to do whatever I can to support this mission. We appreciate you. And thank you for having me. And also thank you for your award.

 

Nathan Hofer  37:38

Well, it’s well deserved. And anyone watching right now I just want to let you know the frustrating thing about Vaney is that that kind of conversation is normal. He always says stuff that makes you think and you’re like, Oh, I’m motivated. Terribly frustrating. Yeah, well, you do it well. And like I said, I’m so thankful for you, Vaney. And thank you for your time. And like I said, very well deserved for this award. And like I’ll deliver it tomorrow hand delivered.

 

Vaney Hariri  38:04

Awesome. Well, I appreciate you, thank you all so much. Have a great rest of the session. And thank you all for all the work that you guys are doing. You are saving lives and doing great things. Never forget that.

 

Nathan Hofer  38:14

Thanks, Vaney. Yeah, we were blessed to have great people in our community that follow along with our mission that connect to we’re moving forward, and Vaney is one of several. And like I said, we are so so blessed to have folks like that in this community. And so thank you again, Vaney for your keynote and your service to the Sioux Falls community and beyond, but also with our within our organization.  And I’d be remiss if we didn’t also say a big thank you for our and a big welcome to our CEO and executive director, Erik Muckey. Erik, I’m gonna bring you into the stream here, but I’m going to be very honest with you. Nothing makes me feel a little a little old than seeing like several people who are leading this organization who I, who I had as students, and Erik is one of those and, you know, it’s it’s just incredible to see your mission and vision and the passion you’ve had for Lost&Found lived out and, and come to fruition and created this thing that you know, we have so many people behind and it’s so it’s so amazing and exciting. And, you know, I know you have a great vision for the future, and you’re gonna share that with us here. So I’ll back out but I just want to say thank you and everyone give Erik a virtual hand. Also looks like we’re wearing the same quarter zip. That’s embarrassing.

 

Erik Muckey  39:30

I wonder why it’s great. It’s like we’re part of the same team or something. Who knows

 

Nathan Hofer  39:34

Weird. Weird. Eric Muckey, everyone. I’m excited to hear from you, bud.

 

Erik Muckey  39:39

Thanks, Nathan. No, it’s it’s it’s really, truly a blessing to be here tonight. I did not expect to be here. This has been a very emotional week for many of us who were involved the very beginning, but to I would be remiss in saying that to get to 10 years as an organization for anyone at any stage or any, any work that you do is a huge accomplishment. Just imagining back in time, the number of obstacles that we’ve overcome to help others overcome obstacles really can’t be understated. I really can’t say enough for that. I can’t say enough for our team.  You’ve heard our story. You’ve heard our stories of our impact. And you heard from one of the most resilient leaders you could ever find in our community. And I again, can’t stress enough 10 years is an incredible milestone. Doesn’t matter the work that you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what organization how big or how small, 10 years means something. But there is something inevitable about a celebration like this. And I want to capture a moment here that’s really important. In a celebration like this, we go on, we live our lives, we keep stumbling forward, we keep finding new things to engage with. And we always ask ourselves sort of what’s next. what’s what’s the catch.  I’m proud to say that the best part of the celebration with our friends or family or colleagues, and our partners in mental health is at the 10-year celebration is really just the beginning. And in fact, it feels more like a beginning than anything else. I wish I could really spend hours with you going through the financials, the model, the things that we do day-to-day to show impact and hear more stories, even more than what we’ve been able to share tonight. This model of resilience and this focus really only is about two to three years old. But the passion, the drive behind what we do, that’s what we’re celebrating tonight.  Today Los&Found of is a facilitator of proactive, data-driven public health approaches to suicide prevention for young adults ages 14 to 35. We partner with student leaders, faculty, staff and administrators on five campuses in eastern South Dakota to increase personal resilience skills, equip young adults with the skills to provide direct peer-to-peer mental health support, and research and advocate for mental health needs in our community so we can inform how systems work for the better now and in the long term. And all of these efforts are focused on the one thing that we are celebrating tonight, I want you to take away: We are here to put an end to suicide for young adults ages 14 to 35 in our state, our region and our country.  The comprehensive approach we take to suicide prevention takes time, investment and partnership, deeply so deeply embedded in our community, and deeply, deeply personal. This work is unique. And it’s not just because of our approach with resilience and being proactive and being a unifier. The fact is, we have a decade of lessons learned about how grassroots advocacy student needs, and a lot of learning and analysis and research and mental health all sort of comes together, Lost&Found as a partner with a purpose. We are a public health organization with a personal connection. And we are a research institution focused on action. So tonight is a celebration of a decade.  What does the next decade bring? What it means in the year ahead anyway, is growth. Lost&Found is growing its chapter presence and resources, doubling the number of skill resource partnerships that we’re providing to the current campuses. We serve the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University, Dakota Wesleyan University, University of Sioux Falls and Augstanta University. But it also means this year anyway, is even in the midst of COVID, we are moving to new campuses and I’m excited to share that we are entering new partnerships with a tribal college in South Dakota. We are entering the Black Hills region. And we’re also, as of this past week, entering the Twin Cities metro for the first time.  Lost&Found is also piloting new research programs focusing its efforts on creating a Community Mental Health Score. This tool provides administrators on college campuses with a simple diagnostic view of their policies, programs and personnel needs to help them prioritize how to invest in mental health to increase impact and change over time. Lost&Found is also piloting new, customized training and skill development offerings to community organizations and businesses in Sioux Falls and the Twin Cities, names of which will be very familiar to you once we’re able to share more information, but just know that in this year ahead, there’s a lot of change happening.  Now what about the next nine years after that? What we said in the 10 year anniversary video is true. Lost&Found is focusing on reaching every single young adult it can between the ages of 14 to 35. And what that means is that we’re not abandoning our current model in any way, shape or form. In fact, we’re embracing it even further and saying, we are deepening our commitment to current campuses while developing a network that spans multiple states around the region and country. I say states plural. That’s an important point to make. But campuses are so important to us knowing that that age demographic, that group that range between 17 to 24 is really a moment in time where people are developing and finding their mental health needs often for the first time, and to abandon that ever is something that we’re simply never going to do. And I’m proud, I’m proud to share that we are focused fully on college campuses.  But let me also pull something to you in the next 10 years too: Fourteen to 35 means we’re not just serving college campuses, right. And so what we’re looking ahead to doing is, we will begin supporting efforts to partner with current mental health resource providers in the region to begin support in K-12 education systems. We’ll provide a variety of custom training and skill workshops to employers that augment Employer Assistance Programs and conduct assessments of organizational mental health. We’ll continue to provide an increase our offerings to provide resources, training, and professional support to community organizations serving young adults to ensure mental health is prioritized. And I think what’s really awesome about where we’re heading in the next decade is we’re putting more attention on serving the populations that are most vulnerable among us, particularly rural and tribal communities where we are rooted. We are rooted in South Dakota and we are rooted in Sioux Falls. We’re affirming our commitment to Sioux Falls, and we continue to build our team around our South Dakota presence while recognizing that we’re not here to play small. We’re here to support any young adult we can we can serve. And that means thinking about new geographies and new places to go.  Our vision is bold, and requires, as I mentioned, a fair amount of time, energy, and partnership building. Our vision requires an ability to hold true to our core values of compassion, inclusion, and responsiveness and into our history as a campus-focused organization. Where our campus efforts go, so will we. But our next 10 years really, truly bottom line will be dictated by this: We are a resilience organization. And we are an organization in our state, region and country that is fully focused on young adults ages 14 to 35. There are so many organizations that try to focus on just one specific component of that age group, whether it’s K-12, or campuses or employers or so on. But we know that life goes on. Once you leave high school, you go to college, you might go into the workforce instead. You might find yourself volunteering or serving in a community organization, whether it’s faith community, a volunteer community, a sports community, whatever that is. To be effective in the space you have to think about the whole lifespan of a person and to do so means thinking bigger about models, and thinking about models that have never been shown before. When you think of Lost&Found, think of that. Think of an organization that connects young adults with the skills and community for lifelong resilience, no matter what their circumstances might be. Think of us as community leaders, researchers, connectors, public health marketing professionals, fundraisers, whatever function we serve with a single purpose to end suicide for young adults ages 14 to 35 and ensure that their life is not defined by their mental health, but enhanced by it. Tonight, I want to leave you with a brief story. A family Lost&Found recently began partnership with in the Sioux Falls Metro is the Ben Longley family. Ben died by suicide a matter of weeks ago and his family reached out to us to discuss many of the same things that Jenny Noteboom shared earlier in our call. We’ve begun to partner with them. And they also shared a really poignant thought that I want to be sure is amplified tonight: “We are losing our next generation to suicide needlessly.” Needlessly. They could not be more right in their assessment. And it couldn’t be better said. We have a problem with suicide and mental health needs addressing to simply keep young adults here, let alone happy, healthy and fulfilled. In that statement is another action that we can do more to ensure we prevent suicide and ensure we all have access to the mental health support we need.  And tonight, I implore you to take action. Talk to your friends, talk to your family, talk to your co workers, talk to those who are in your circle that you can trust having this conversation with to talk about what mental health looks like to you and what you struggle with. And if you are struggling tonight, speak to someone about it. And please take action.  Take action also by sharing it suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults ages 14 to 35 in South Dakota and the United States. And we need to ensure that we have an entire generation of behavioral health professionals and community members trained to support one another, and that includes you and I just in our average daily conversation. Take action also by donating to Lost&Found. You probably heard that broken record the night more than once, but any amount, literally, helps us reach thousands of young adults with mental health resources, stories and connection necessary to put an end to suicide.  And also take action to support other mental health orgs like us. There is a whole spectrum of mental health and suicide prevention orgs out there for a reason, and they meet different needs. And they need your support just as much as we need your support. Think about what that means and talk to them about what they do specifically to better understand how the mental health ecosystem works. But also find the best ways to connect and support with the cause that you care about.  We are only able to address the scourge of suicide when we work together. We need your help tonight and every day to make this work possible. Donate, share your story, and use your voice to make life better for the young adults in your life and in our community. You really will never know until it happens when your investment of time and energy and funding may come back to support you when you are meeting life’s challenges.  Thank you all to those who joined us tonight. It’s It’s truly a pleasure to lead this organization. It’s truly a pleasure to have been with the organization for its full decade. There are so many people in my life that I wish I could think right now face to face. But to end it simply, I’m only here but for the support that you’ve given me. Lost&Found has a bright future because of you. Happy Lost&Found Day to everybody. Thank you for joining. And Nathan, thank you for sharing the space here for me to speak. Thanks, everybody.

 

Nathan Hofer  51:32

Really, it’s your space, Erik. You know, I want to say thank you again to you, Erik. It’s been it’s been exciting to see the vision lived out. And you have an uncanny ability to take, and Anna mentioned it today earlier, to take something that seems so outrageous and outlandish, and it comes to be. And you know, we to be in that space with you now regularly. And it’s and it’s definitely something we’re very happy to have you as our executive director. So thank you, Erik, thank you for sharing that vision. And once again, yeah, just you said, you’re leading us into our next phase. And I’m, I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be. I know I’m not gonna sleep very much, but I can’t wait to see.

 

52:21

Well, hopefully I’m just getting ample amounts of sleep. Yes. But no, it’s it’s a pleasure to be with you. And pleasure to have you on the team, Nathan. Thanks for thanks for taking the leap with us.

 

Nathan Hofer  52:31

Oh, thank you, I’ll send that $20 for that nice compliment. Well, that ends our night here, everyone I want to send say a couple things quick. Like Erik said, we don’t want to sound like a broken record. But our work is as it were a nonprofit, our work is dependent on donors and funding outside of ourselves. So we want to offer what we do to as many people as possible, and we want to create change in the biggest ways we can. So any donation you can provide, we would be so grateful for that.  Also, like as I mentioned earlier, I know, I know, that we had a little bit of a lag with that video first. But Heidi, our wonderful marketing guru has uploaded it to our website. So if you go to resilienttoday.org/10yearsofresilience, you’ll be able to watch that video in full and it’s a good one. I’ve watched it several times and I get emotional, it’s fine. But you’ll also get to see a little bit more about what our last 10 years have looked like and what we see moving forward.  And then, you know, on top of that, I just want to give another quick shout out here just to our team. I’m thankful for the people we work with and thankful for those who have supported us with funding and their time and their energy over the years. And if you want to connect with us, feel free to check us out on Instagram and Facebook at @Resilienttoday. And then our website is resilienttoday.org.  Thank you all for being here with us. And we’ll see you for the next 10-year anniversary for 20. That’ll be right around the corner. So thank you all and feel free to reach out and we are here.

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Anxiety Tips from One Anxious Ball of Anxiety to Another, With Love

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By Brittany Levine

My journey with living with anxiety and depression began when I was about 17 years old. I was young for a freshman in college, but I felt ready and excited to begin the journey. Within the first month, something changed. I wasn’t sleeping right and would wake up in a panic for seemingly no reason. I assumed I was just thrown off by being away from home for the first time. I largely ignored it. Then came the full-on panic attacks during the day. I couldn’t eat, I felt physically weak. Finally, something in me broke, and I drove in the middle of the night to my parent’s home.

At this point, you could say my mom was a “therapist in training.” She had gone back to school to pursue a career as a therapist, having gone through her own struggles with her mental health. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the decision to go home and seek help was the best thing I could have done for myself. Shaking and crying, I explained to my mom what I was feeling. I was scared. Was something wrong with me? Did I have an unknown illness? Was I going to die in my sleep?

With all the caring and seriousness in the world, my mom took my hand and told me she thought I was having anxiety attacks. She suggested we go to a doctor together to see what might help. This might seem small, but I think this short conversation had a huge impact. She explained what might be happening. She normalized it. She told me that it’s okay to get help.

So many people struggle with anxiety on their own, drowning in the social stigma, in the fear, in the unknown. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Nearly 20% of people in the US wrestle with anxiety. That’s one out of every five people you meet. You are not alone. But you might be scared and that’s okay. My goal in writing this is to offer up some tips that help me when I’m struck with an anxiety attack in hopes that I might help even one person ride out the storm until they can see a little more clearly.

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  • This might sound silly at first, but the first step to stopping a panic attack is to recognize that you’re having one. Saying to yourself “Okay, I’m having a panic attack right now” can help you to avoid thinking that what you’re feeling is something else. For me, I was constantly convinced I had SOME sort of illness. Panic attacks don’t just affect you mentally and emotionally. They can bring about very real physical symptoms that can be frightening – increased heart rate, rapid breathing, stomach pains, dizziness, numbness or tingling in your fingers and toes. But by recognizing that you’re having a panic attack, you are acknowledging and reassuring yourself that this is temporary and will eventually pass.
  • Try distracting yourself! Seriously, try it! I know that it’s hard to try to redirect your focus, but forcing yourself to laser in on something can be so helpful. Nowadays, when I start feeling anxious and start to feel the initial stages of a panic attack, I jump into cleaning mode. I’m organizing closets, I’m sweeping under things that have never seen the light of day. And it totally helps, because I’m distracting my brain and I’m putting that anxious energy to use. For you, it might be painting or going for a brisk walk, or playing a video game.
  • I know you’re doing this as you read this, but BREATHE! Count your breaths. When I’m feeling like I can’t distract myself and I just need to sit, I engage in a breathing exercise. I count to 4 slowly as I inhale, hold for 4, and exhale slowly for 8. Concentrating on this pattern and feeling your body respond is a powerful thing.
  • This is my favorite tip of all. When absolutely none of the above has worked for me or when an anxiety attack hits me so hard and quick that I don’t have time to go through the steps, I lay down on my back with an ice pack pressed against the back of my neck. Sounds strange, right? Holding an ice pack to the back of your neck for an extended period (~10 minutes, make sure it’s wrapped!) does something amazing. Apparently, when your body experiences a sudden change in temperature, all bodily efforts shift to address that temperature change. So, it doesn’t have to be an ice pack to the neck. You could try splashing some cold water on your face or taking a cold shower. The point is that your brain and body work in concert and if you can trick your body to go into temperature readjustment mode, your brain is working to signal those physical responses, rather than working to fuel an anxiety attack.

I hope that some or all of these tips become useful tools in your anxiety tool box. Sometimes, we just need a little help getting through the worst of it, and that’s okay. Sometimes, we need a little more help figuring out how to navigate life and stress and relationships and mental health, and that’s okay too. We’re here for you.

 

Brittany Levine was an original founding member of Lost & Found when she was a freshman in college at the University of South Dakota. She received her law degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Saint Paul, MN in 2016 and now works as a data analyst for Thomson Reuters. She lives in Saint Paul with her fiancé, and two fur babies, Luna and Remus.

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