Month: March 2024

Lost&Found welcomes new staff members and gives new roles to current staff

Collage of new staff members at Lost&Found: Eight images with names. Whitney Bischoff, Community Prevention Advisor; Bailey Froelich Program Associate; Dawn Marie Johnson, Native Liaison and Consultant; Haven Kulesa, Community Prevention Advisor; Marci Yost, Community Prevention Advisor; Dakotah Jordan, CHW, Education & Advocacy Manager; Carrie Jorgensen, NCC, LPC, Program Manager - Student Programs; Genaveve Thomson, Survivors Joining for Hope Coordinator

With the expansion of its programs to reach more young adults in key demographics in both existing and new locations underway, Lost&Found has added five new staff members and moved three staff members to new positions.

A number of these changes are a response to the S.D. Legislature’s passage of HB 1079 one year ago, which set aside funding for suicide prevention programs that Lost&Found applied for and is receiving from the S.D. Department of Health. With this funding, Lost&Found is providing its Peer2Peer Mentorship program, its Campus Resilience Index, and postvention policy and support services to all institutions of higher education in South Dakota without cost to those institutions. The funding will be available for four years.

Lost&Found is also expanding its services to universities in the Twin Cities area in response to a need and interest there.

“It was necessary to expand our team to meet new, statewide requests for support in South Dakota—especially in northeast and western South Dakota—while also reaching new audiences in Minnesota that requested our Peer2Peer Mentorship program,” explained Erik Muckey, Lost&Found’s Executive Director & CEO. “As we always have, Lost&Found strives to meet communities where their needs are, and this is another example of that in action.”

Muckey explained that the expanded team will bring a diverse array of skills to meet regional and community needs, and it will be more present in the communities that Lost&Found serves, which will allow for building deeper relationships and ensuring that people are connected to the resources they need.

“With these additions and changes, we can ‘go wide and go deep’ to serve our mission,” Muckey said. “With such great expertise in-house and outstanding partners to work with, we can hone in on specific needs within campus communities—where suicide risk is greatest—while also expanding that focused, community-centered attention to a wider array of audiences who need prevention and postvention resources.

“This is what ‘doing more’ to prevent suicide looks like.”


Here are Lost&Found’s new staff members:

Whitney Bischoff is a Community Prevention Advisor with Lost&Found. In her role, she creates and implements mental health education, suicide prevention, and resilience-building programming for universities in western South Dakota, primarily South Dakota School of Mines, BHSU-Rapid City, and SDSU in Rapid City. Whitney also assists with fundraising efforts West River.

Bailey Froelich is a Program Associate based at Black Hills State University. She is assisting Senior Prevention Specialist Corey Kennedy in implementing Lost&Found’s Peer2Peer Mentorship program and guiding its student chapter at BHSU.

Dawn Marie Johnson is a Native Liaison and Consultant for Lost&Found. In that role, she is reviewing Lost&Found’s programs to ensure they are culturally sensitive and relevant to Native youth as Lost&Found expands its programs to serve tribal communities. She is based in Sioux Falls.

Haven Kulesa is a Community Prevention Advisor with Lost&Found. In her role, she creates and implements mental health education, suicide prevention, and resilience-building programming for South Dakota universities, primarily Northern State University, Lake Area Technical College, South Dakota State University, Dakota State University, Southeast Technical College, and Augustana University. Haven, who lives in Brookings, also assists with fundraising efforts in eastern South Dakota and social media.

Marci Yost is a Community Prevention Advisor based in the Twin Cities focusing on implementing the Peer2Peer Mentorship program at various colleges and universities around the metro.


These staff members have moved to new positions:

Dakotah Jordan, CHW, is Lost&Found’s Education & Postvention Manager. In that role, she oversees educational content creation, external training opportunities, and postvention services & programs. Dakotah, who lives in Sioux Falls, had previously served as Lost&Found’s Survivors Joining for Hope Coordinator.

Carrie Jorgensen, NCC, LPC, is Program Manager of Student Programs at Lost&Found, overseeing Peer2Peer Mentorship and Campus Chapter programs. She had previously served as a Senior Prevention Specialist in Eastern South Dakota, and before that, she served as the advisor for Lost&Found’s student chapter at South Dakota State University when she was employed there. She lives in Brookings.

Genaveve Thomson is Lost&Found’s Survivors Joining for Hope Coordinator as well as a mentor in the Peer2Peer Mentorship program. She is based in Spearfish, S.D.

Mental Health Monday: Helping men get help

Mental Health Monday - illustration of line drawings with mental health themes

This is part of a regular series called Mental Health Monday. Our goal is to share information about mental health trends and research, as well as suggestions for what we can do as individuals and communities to improve the mental health of ourselves and others. 


Men respond to different mental health messaging

Experts are working to tailor mental health support for men, according to a December 2022 article in The New York Times.

Compared to women, men are more likely to die by suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol-related causes but are less likely to report receiving mental health treatment. To better understand how to reach men in crisis, suicide prevention experts carried out interviews and focus groups with men who had survived suicide attempts.

One key takeaway from those interviews was that many men did not relate to the usual messaging that encourages people to seek help for mental health issues. Participants tended to believe their struggles were caused by life stressors, such as financial hardship or interpersonal conflict, so language about mental illness did not resonate with them. Many also felt that seeking help was in opposition to their socially conditioned role as providers.

These insights led to the development of an online public health campaign called Man Therapy, designed to educate, reduce stigma, and provide discreet access to mental health support. The campaign uses humor and traditional masculine stereotypes to engage men and then encourage them to question whether those gender norms are working for them, said Sally Spencer-Thomas, project lead and president and co-founder of United Suicide Survivors International. From the article:

Slogans splashed across the home page include, “It’s OK to cry, even when it’s not about sports” and “Feelings: they’re not just for the hippies.” A mustachioed fictional therapist, Rich Mahogany, who strongly resembles the “Parks and Recreation” character Ron Swanson, guides users through the site.

Here’s an example of a tip from the site:

A recent evaluation of the campaign suggests it can increase help-seeking behaviors.

Read the full article here.


Let’s Do More:

  • The Man Therapy site offers an “18-Point Head Inspection” in which a person can “Pop the hood and answer 18 quick questions about your mental health.” Give it a try yourself, or dare the man in your life to give it a try.

Mental Health Monday: Research suggests we can slow down time—or at least, how we perceive it

Mental Health Monday - illustration of line drawings with mental health themes

This is part of a regular series called Mental Health Monday. Our goal is to share information about mental health trends and research, as well as suggestions for what we can do as individuals and communities to improve the mental health of ourselves and others. 


“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” —Michael Altshuler, author and speaker


We can make time more fulfilling by noticing the world and our place in it

How is time “traveling” for you right now? Are the days and years zipping or crawling by?

If the pace of time is unpleasant for you, research suggests that you can change how you perceive it—and the solution is pretty much the same whether you feel time is moving too fast or too slowly.

A January article in Psychology Today explains that we understand the passage of time through the states of our bodies and our emotions. This perception is subjective—the more our bodily sensations and emotions change, the longer we feel a moment lasts. This is true in the moment as well as when we are judging the duration of time in retrospect, as article author Marc Wittmann, Ph.D. writes:

The rule of thumb is the following: The more changing experiences we have had during a time interval, the longer subjective duration in retrospect. An uneventful week spent with our work routines passes quickly. An exciting week full of novel experiences, when we travel and explore a new place with friends, lasts subjectively much longer. This is the memory effect of retrospective time. More emotionally laden experiences expand subjective duration. Because we had so many novel experiences in a joyful context memory formation is enhanced. Life lasts subjectively longer.

This helps to explain why older adults often say life seems to move quickly: In youth, we have many novel experiences as we do many things for the first time. There are fewer “firsts” to experience later in life, and with fewer emotion-sparking experiences, life seems to go faster.

The research suggests two strategies for a more fulfilling, and perceivably longer, life. First, step out of monotonous routines every so often to feel something new and different. Second, make a point to notice what your body senses and the emotions you feel in both novel and regular situations.

Read the full article here.


Let’s Do More:

  • Mindfulness, or the purposeful awareness of our environment and the state of our bodies in it, has many benefits for mental health, including a more fulfilling perception of the passage of time. Learn more about mindfulness here. One helpful way to get started in mindfulness is with a mindfulness app. These apps often have a free trial period.