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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,
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
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
Sheri Nelson 1:02:42
Thanks Nathan and I love you guys. You guys do great work and I enjoy working with you.
Back at all ya. Bye now.
Angela Drake 1:02:53