Lost&Found, in partnership with the South Dakota Humanities Council and 4Front Studios, is conducting a digital storytelling project for National Suicide Prevention Month (September).
The project, titled “30 Days, 30 Stories: Let’s #DoMore to Prevent Suicide,” will tell the stories of 30 youth and young adults from the state of South Dakota who have faced and overcome adversity resulting from mental health challenges and/or suicide ideation, risks, attempts, and loss. As South Dakota faces record suicide rates, the need to share and understand what resources are most helpful to someone who may be struggling with mental health condition(s) or suicide ideation is greater than ever. For every day of September, one story of resilience will be released online to share a message of hope and help to those who may be struggling.
As an organization focused on providing comprehensive suicide prevention resources for youth and young adults 10-34 in South Dakota and the surrounding region, Lost&Found’s goal for this project is to increase access to statewide mental health and suicide prevention resources that young adults and families find relevant to their experiences, identities, and communities. The project is also meant to create conversations in our communities about what will make the greatest difference in someone’s life.
Lost&Found conducted the first #30Days30Stories project last year. Those stories reached an impressive number of people through social media channels and also yielded insights on the empowering possibilities of storytelling.
Why are we conducting a storytelling project?
An honest, heartfelt story has the power to change hearts and minds. As South Dakota and the surrounding region face continually rising suicide rates, we’ve asked individuals to share their stories of resilience to lend hope, opportunities for conversation, and resources to South Dakota communities.
As an organization focused on providing comprehensive suicide prevention and postvention resources for young adults 10-34 in South Dakota and the surrounding region, Lost&Found has three main goals for this campaign:
- Increase awareness of mental health challenges all around us, as this can reduce the stigma of mental illness and seeking help.
- Empower people to share their stories. This includes the people who are featured here, but also those who read and identify with these stories and may find courage to tell their own. Storytelling involves deciding what details matter (and which don’t), and finding meaning in a series of events. This process can be healing in itself.
- Promote the resources that can help people through even the darkest of times. We especially want people to learn about and know how to access the statewide suicide prevention resources that young adults and families have found relevant to their experiences, identities, and communities.
We invite you to submit your story.
If you have gone through a mental health challenge or felt the impact of suicide, this project is an opportunity for you to be empowered by sharing your story. You can help someone in similar circumstances navigate the challenges and resources necessary to find their own hope and resilience.
We recognize that sharing a story is a personal decision that may involve grief, trauma, and vulnerability, and we completely respect and understand if this is not something you wish to do. There are other ways to support the goals of the project if that is of interest.
Here’s the process:
- You’ll fill out a form with eight questions about your story and your experiences seeking resources and support that helped them navigate a mental health condition or impacts from suicide (ideation, attempt, loss, or other experience).
- You will also be required to fill out a waiver, either on your own or with support from a parent.
- Someone from Lost&Found will contact you to schedule a time for a photo/video shoot in one of three locations (Rapid City, Aberdeen, or Sioux Falls) in July or August, depending on location. If those times/locations don’t work for you, we’ll work with you to schedule a time that does. You will be able to keep these two professional headshots, video, and any other materials at no cost to use as you see fit!
- Your written responses will be turned into a story to be published with a professional headshot and a brief, 30-second-or-less video capturing their experiences and shared on 30stories.resilienttoday.org and on Lost&Found social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn).
- In addition, four participants will have the opportunity to share their stories as part of live podcasting sessions held in various locations throughout the state of South Dakota closest to where that participant lives.
- You will also receive materials from Lost&Found to navigate conversations about mental health that may arise with the campaign.
- You will be notified of when your story will be shared in September and invited to spread the word to others in your community who may want or need to hear about your experiences.
- Please note that because we have a limited number of days and because we want to share stories from a diversity of perspectives, we may not publish every story that’s submitted for this year’s project. We may request to use your story for future projects if that’s the case.
Your story could help to spread a message of hope, help, and resilience. Go to the link below to share your story.