Lost&Found Executive Director/CEO Erik Muckey and Senior Prevention Specialist Carrie Jorgensen were two of the voices raising concerns about the shortage of mental health care professionals in South Dakota in an April 1 article by South Dakota Searchlight.
The article points out that South Dakotans seeking mental health care often need to wait for weeks to see a counselor or therapist. The problem, which comes in part from a surge in demand, can be worse for people in rural places, people with limited English proficiency, and non-white people who prefer a provider with a similar background. It is also profound on college campuses throughout the state.
Jorgensen and Muckey said that programs like Lost&Found’s Peer2Peer Mentorship program can help to reduce the demand for services:
On college campuses across the state, students find support in peer-to-peer mentorship programs run by Lost & Found, a suicide prevention nonprofit.
The mentors are not trained to be counselors — instead, they offer a listening ear, teach life skills like boundary setting, and connect their mentee to other mental health resources if needed.
For “students who are at subclinical levels of depression and anxiety, this is exactly what they need” to prevent those conditions from becoming bigger issues, said Carrie Jorgensen, senior prevention program specialist at Lost & Found.
More of this “broader ecosystem support” could help providers by easing the strain on their services, said Erik Muckey, executive director of the nonprofit.
“It’s no fault of anybody, but we have to respond,” he said. “There is no other time that we can wait for this to pass because it’s not going to pass. It’s just going to continue.”
Read the full article here.