Month: June 2024

Let’s save lives through acceptance this Pride Month

Pride Month heart

This June, Lost&Found (along with many others) is celebrating LGBTQIA2S+ Pride Month. We will be sharing suicide prevention resources at Pride festivals throughout the month:

What is Pride Month, and why does it matter to Lost&Found? Read on!


What is Pride Month?

Pride Month honors the struggle for recognition and equal rights by those in the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Originally focused on gay rights, Pride Month now covers a broader spectrum. The acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (or Queer), Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, and Other Identities (+).

It’s also a time for celebrating the accomplishments of LGBTQIA2S+ people, as well as a time for people to gather and find encouragement and community together.

Pride Month is celebrated in June because that’s when the Stonewall riots, an important event in the history of gay rights, took place in 1969. In the 1960s, when homosexual acts were illegal and homosexuals were often publicly shunned and the target of violence, police frequently raided gay bars, arresting the customers. On June 28, 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in New York City, patrons refused to cooperate and fought back. The riots that night and in the nights following led to a sea change: People who had hidden who they were before were empowered to be open about who they were, and the cause of gay rights gained strength throughout the nation and the world.

The use of the word “pride” to describe celebrations of LGBTQIA2S+ was encouraged by a gay activist named L. Craig Schoonmaker. “A lot of people were very repressed. They were conflicted internally, and didn’t know how to come out and be proud,” Schoonmaker said in an interview with The Allusionist podcast in 2015. “That’s how the movement was most useful, because they thought, ‘Maybe I should be proud.’”


Why is Lost&Found celebrating Pride Month?

Unfortunately, there is a connection between suicide risk and LGBTQIA2S+ young people.

The Trevor Project’s 2024 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health shows that rates of suicidal thoughts remain high among LGBTQ youth. Among the key findings:

  • Forty-six percent of LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-17 surveyed seriously considered suicide in the past year, including half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Sixteen percent of LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-17 surveyed attempted suicide in the past year.

While rates among the general young adult population have also trended higher recently, the risk is significantly higher among the LGBTQ population. In South Dakota, 21.5 percent of 9th- through 12th-graders said they had considered suicide in 2021. Nearly 12 percent said they had actually attempted suicide in the 12 months before the survey. (These statistics are also, of course, unacceptably high.)

“Our efforts to prevent suicide among youth and young adults cannot be taken seriously if we do not live out our work as allies to the LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit communities of South Dakota and the surrounding region,” said Lost&Found Executive Director Erik Muckey. “We have a responsibility to understand and respond to the roots of suicide risk for LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit South Dakotans. I strongly encourage all South Dakotans, especially community leaders, around our state and region to join Lost&Found in celebrating Pride Month while recognizing our collective role in preventing suicide.”


What factors affect suicide risk among LGBTQ young adults?

Mental health and suicide risk among LGBTQ youth is closely related to how the youth are treated. According to the 2024 survey:

  • “The overwhelming majority (90%) of LGBTQ+ young people said their well-being was negatively impacted due to recent politics. Over half (53%) said their well-being was negatively impacted by politics a lot.”
  • “Nearly 2 in 5 (39%) LGBTQ+ young people said that they or their family have considered moving to a different state because of anti-LGBTQ+ politics and laws.”
  • Suicide attempts are higher for LGBTQ youth who have been physically threatened or harmed due to either their sexual orientation or gender identity (25 percent) compared to those who have not (8 percent).
  • Suicide attempts are higher for LGBTQ youth who have experienced discrimination (18 percent) compared to those who have not (7 percent).
  • Suicide attempts are higher for LGBTQ youth subjected to (27 percent) or threatened with (27 percent) conversion therapy compared to those who have not (9 percent).
  • Suicide attempts are higher for LGBTQ youth who were bullied (18 percent) compared to those who were not (6 percent). Nearly half of LGBTQ+ youth experienced bullying in the past year.
  • Suicide attempts are higher for LGBTQ youth who do not have access to LGBTQ-affirming spaces compared to those who do. (Thirteen percent of those whose home is not LGBTQ-affirming attempted suicide, compared to 9 percent who have a home that is affirming; for schools, the percentages were 14 percent for non-LGBTQ-affirming and 10 percent for affirming.)


How can we help?

The LGBTQ+ young people who responded to the survey suggested ways in which people can best show their support and acceptance. The top ways were “Trusting that I know who I am,” “Standing up for me,” and “Not supporting politicians that advocate for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.” Here are the top ten suggestions:

“For the first time, we asked respondents to share a message of advice or encouragement to other young people in the LGBTQ+ community. There is no doubt that this has been a challenging year for LGBTQ+ young people. Yet despite these challenges, including the historic wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that has targeted them, these young people remain powerful, optimistic, and resilient,” according to the survey authors.


This article was first published in June 2022 and was updated June 3, 2024. 

Ingle is selected as a Bloomberg American Health Fellow

Headshots of the 60 2024 Bloomberg Fellows in their respective categories

Cody Ingle, Senior Research & Evaluation Specialist at Lost&Found, is one of 60 people from across the country selected for a prestigious honor and exciting educational opportunity as a Bloomberg American Health Fellow.

As a Fellow, Ingle will receive a fully-funded education at the #1 school of public health, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and join a network of changemakers working to make a difference in communities across the country. Ingle will pursue a Doctor of Public Health degree.

Cody Ingle“This is a great opportunity not only for myself but for Lost&Found,” Ingle said. “The collaboration with Johns Hopkins will continue propelling us forward as experts in suicide prevention research and best practices.”

Each fellow represents an organization working on one of the five critical health challenges facing the nation that the Bloomberg American Health Initiative focuses on addressing: Addiction and overdose, adolescent health, environmental challenges, the food system, and violence.

“My specialty area for the Fellowship is violence prevention, and I’m excited to intersect this with my DrPH concentration of Health Equity and Social Justice,” Ingle said. “I place to focus my research on equitable care for Queer people, particularly in areas where access to care is limited and where there are increased risks of suicide, such as rural South Dakota. This is an invaluable opportunity, and I am honored to be a part of it!”

Lost&Found’s staff is thrilled with Ingle’s selection as a fellow. “I am tremendously proud of Cody being accepted to the Bloomberg American Health Fellowship,” said Dr. Gesine Ziebarth, Research & Evaluation Manager at Lost&Found. “It is a well-deserved honor! I am excited to see where this endeavor will take him and Lost&Found along the way, and look forward to supporting him where I can.”

From the announcement:

The Bloomberg American Health Initiative was established in 2016 with a $300 million gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies in honor of the centennial of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Through education, research, and practice, the Initiative works to improve health and life expectancy in the United States in ways that advance equity, use evidence, and change policy.

“We are thrilled to welcome this new cohort of fellows who will enrich the Initiative and our School community with their experience and insight,” says Bloomberg School Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, ScM. “They come to us from frontline organizations across America, and they are ready to be empowered with the tools of public health to make an even greater impact on their communities.”

To date, the Bloomberg American Health Initiative has supported 389 Bloomberg Fellows representing 305 collaborating organizations from 43 states, Washington, D.C., and two territories that include law enforcement agencies, libraries, community-based organizations, and local health departments. The Initiative has also supported more than 300 grants to Bloomberg School faculty, students, and outside organizations.

Read the full announcement here.


About Cody Ingle

Cody Ingle is the Senior Research & Evaluation Specialist at Lost&Found, a Sioux Falls-based nonprofit committed to suicide prevention. His collaborative work with external partners utilizes data to tell the stories of how programs are impacting the communities they serve. In his role, Cody tracks emerging evidence and trends in mental health and suicide prevention to inform best practices at Lost&Found. Cody also serves as the principal investigator on the South Dakota Queer Affirmative Care Initiative, an innovative project designed to improve the overall health and mental health care experiences of queer people in South Dakota and improve how systems interact with queer people in the state. A passion for driving positive change and equitable solutions directs his approach to research and evaluation.


Have a Story of Resilience? We’d like to hear it

Lost&Found’s September storytelling project is returning for its fourth year. While the project will have a few modifications, the purpose of the project is the same: Using the power of stories to heal, connect people, and bring about change—especially changes that improve mental health, build resilience, and prevent suicide.

Youth and young adults, especially those ages 10-34, are invited to share their stories of resilience to lend hope, opportunities for conversation, and resources to others.

The project, which Lost&Found is conducting with the support of the South Dakota Humanities Council, highlights the stories of youth and young adults who have discovered resources, resilience, and hope for the future in the face of mental health challenges and/or suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, or suicide loss. Stories from people who are motivated to address mental health because they have been affected by the mental health challenges of someone they care about are also welcome. The month-long project uses a website and social media to share stories each day of September, which is National Suicide Prevention Month.

For 2024, the project is titled “Stories of Resilience.” This is a change from the previous three years of the project, when it was called “30 Days, 30 Stories.” Instead of aiming for 30 stories, the goal is 10 to 15, which will be told in two or three parts. Each day of National Suicide Prevention Month will still have a new post, but with fewer storytellers, the logistics and costs for the project overall will be less to manage for our staff.

Each story will be released on the project’s website as well as on Lost&Found’s social media platforms and will be told in written form, photos, and/or video.

We will also host three events at South Dakota universities in September. Storytellers will be invited to attend and participate in those events. Watch Lost&Found’s social media platforms for more details on those events soon.

Some of our goals for the project include:

  • Increasing awareness of mental health challenges. Sharing these stories increases the awareness of mental health challenges and conditions, which can reduce the stigma that prevents people from seeking help.
  • Talking about why storytelling matters. Storytelling is important in building community resilience and in preventing suicide.
  •  Promoting resources that support mental health.
  • Focusing on young adults. We want to make sure young people see themselves in these stories and feel ownership in the storytelling project.
  • Featuring storytellers from a diversity of backgrounds.
  • Equipping more people with skills to tell their own stories.

To submit your story, fill out the form here. We welcome story submissions through July 15. Lost&Found staff will get in touch to arrange for a photo and video session.

If you have questions or need additional information, email