Data shows students are very satisfied with Peer2Peer, Advocates programs

Data gathered at the end of the spring 2022 semester show that students said they gained skills and were satisfied with Lost&Found’s Peer2Peer and Advocates programs.

“All the great feedback we got about the session topics was wonderful,” said Melissa Renes, Senior Prevention Specialist, who coordinates the Advocates program. “It was reassuring to hear that we were fulfilling the expectations students had and they were learning more than when they started.”

One of the positive outcomes Renes noted was the creation of a safe space to discuss difficult topics.

“Talking about mental health can be difficult, especially to ask questions that may have been stifled in the past,” she said. “Students are eager and wanting to discuss these topics, so creating the safe space for students to talk openly about their questions and concerns, and to learn knowledge, was important, and we achieved that.”

Another success was the way students completed advocacy projects and the end of the program. “The students that completed advocacy projects did so eagerly, thoughtfully and really expanded their knowledge and skills in the projects they chose.  Some took on quite a big project and completed it wonderfully,” Renes said.

Renes hopes these programs can be expanded to other campuses, and that more students will sign up on both current and new campuses. “We have some great Advocates who are educating their fellow students about how great the program is, so using their testimonial is better than any pamphlet.”

See the data below, or click on the images at right to open downloadable PDFs.


Lost&Found Peer2Peer Program 2021-22 Data

South Dakota State University & University of South Dakota

The program brought together student mentors, who got guided practice helping others, with mentees, who are students who need a little support navigating college life. Mentor pairs met two times a month, a minimum of eight times over the course of a semester.

25 mentor pairs participated during the 2021-22 school year.


An image showing student evaluation of program. On aspects of friendliness, knowledge, openness, and flexibility, students were very satisfied.

What were some important things you learned from your time as a mentee? (selected responses)

  • Getting more confident about myself 
  • Ways to make the most with my time, and to not blame myself when things go wrong.
  • Starting to think that I could open up more and trust people but it is ok that I don’t fully

What have you enjoyed most about the program? (selected responses)

  • Their flexibility where we can still be part of the program while doing our personal stuff. I have improved a lot in term communicating with others and dealing with unusual situations. 
  • The advice from my mentor helped me a lot.
  • I have enjoyed having someone who is older and more experienced on campus help me out because I know that at one point in time they were just like me. 
  • I enjoyed having a person to vent to, that’s been nice. 
  • Having someone to talk to that is around the same age as me and has more open times to meet and talk.


Student evaluation of program data from mentors. On aspects of friendliness, knowledge, openness, flexibility, and listening skills, students were very satisfied.

What were some important things you learned from your time as a mentor? (selected responses)

  • How impactful an hour a week can be on a person. 
  • I think I just learned more about my mindset and how I myself reflect on my life experiences. It’s beneficial for me to have this reflection time and think about how far I’ve come, too! 
  • I feel I learned how to problem solve and think on my feet and evaluate sources for useful solutions and advice.
  • Be open to different forms of communication. Not everyone has the same experiences throughout college.

Any additional comments? (selected responses)

  • I loved seeing the growth and progress (mentee’s name) has made throughout the semester. 
  • I enjoyed my time in the program, and I’m thankful to have been a part of such cool change!
  • I was so grateful to be a part of this program and am looking forward to doing it again next semester! 


Lost&Found Advocates Program 2021-22 Data

Dakota Wesleyan University, University of South Dakota, & Carlson School of Management (University of Minnesota)

The program included 5 mental health training sessions + an advocacy project, if a student chose to do one.

36 students participated in the 2021-22 school year (14 from DWU, nine from USD, and nine from Carlson).

17 students attended all five sessions (five more attended four sessions).

17 students completed advocacy projects (5K, NAMI Night, discussion roundtable, Greek Life event, presentations, art installation).

Student self-evaluation table. Students said they increased on their knowledge of mental health from 6.09 to 8.38 and in their confidence on their ability to advocate for mental health issues from 6.91 to 8.54.


Lake Area Technical College & Dakota Wesleyan University’s Learn & Earn Program

The program at LATC included 3 mental health training sessions facilitated in person in a seminar format. The program for DWU’s Learn & Earn students was 5 mental health training sessions facilitated virtually. 

30 LATC students participated in the 2021-22 school year.

9 DWU Learn & Earn students participated in the 2021-22 school year.

Student self-evaluation data. Students said they increased in their knowledge of mental health from 7.1 to 8.66 as a result of the program. (on a scale of 1-10)

What did you like about the program? (selected responses)

  • Understanding difficult issues (i.e. suicide, depression, etc.) and using that information to help people in close proximity.
  • I really enjoyed the ability to talk to people who knew more about this topic than I did.
  • I enjoyed all of the statistics and resources that were shared!
  • That they talked to us openly and told us not to be afraid to talk to someone we trust.
  • I enjoyed the variety of topics that were covered and how it all tied back to mental health. The information provided portrayed how complex mental health and suicide prevention is. 
  • I liked how open it was and how comfortable it was. 
  • I liked that I was able to meet new people and expose myself to new opportunities on campus. 
  • Having you guys get us engaged 
  • Going into relationships
  • Learning more about boundaries and being more self aware
  • It felt like a safe space to talk about your experience and connect it to the curriculum and learn to help others and speak on hard issues. 
  • Learning more about just taking care of yourself 
  • All the recommendations and the reassurance that we have help 
  • It talked about topics that are important to everybody.

New peer mentoring program gets a test run at SDSU

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A new opportunity for students to help other students began at South Dakota State University this spring with a pilot project of Lost&Found’s new peer mentorship program.  

The program matches mentors, who are often students interested in going into helping professions, with students who need a little extra support, according to Susan Kroger, Director of Programs at Lost&Found. “(It) allows them to build a relationship, hopefully resulting in both students feeling more resilient and having increased skills as they move forward in their college careers.”

Developing this program has been discussed at Lost&Found for almost four years as a way to address an increasing need for student support. Counseling centers at SDSU and other universities are feeling overburdened, Kroger said. “We’re hoping that this a way that students can be connected to both skills and resources before they seek out counseling.”

Kroger and Carrie Jorgensen, a campus counselor and a Lost&Found adviser at SDSU, worked together over the winter to develop the programming, and the pilot project launched April 1.

The mentor and the mentee met once a week. At the beginning of their meetings, the two worked together to set goals of what the mentee wants to work on. “So, for instance, the mentee could said say, ‘I want to work on exercising three times a week.’ And then the mentor’s role would be to encourage and to check in with the mentee to help them reach that goal—all in the service of increasing mental health,” Kroger said. Other goals could include encouraging a student to connect with others through clubs or seeking out a support group for extra assistance.

At the start of the program, mentors go through a two-hour training that includes relationship basics such as active listening.

“The most important of this program is that relationship that’s built between the mentor and mentee, and students really need to know how to build that relationship,” Kroger said.

Mentors also complete QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention training and receive instruction on setting boundaries so that mentors themselves don’t start to feel overburdened. A graduate assistant at SDSU checks in with mentors regularly to ensure that mentors’ needs are being met.

The pilot project, which lasted about a month, included just a small group of mentors, but it did include a mixture of students—SDSU Lost&Found chapter members, an individual from ROTC, and psychology and counseling majors. Mentees were typically younger students identified by residence hall assistants as needing a little extra support.

Participants gave positive feedback about their experiences.

“The mentors really enjoyed the opportunity to work on some of those active listening skills,” Kroger said, “and the opportunity to support fellow students and be there for younger students who are going through things they went through.”

The mentees said they enjoyed having someone to talk to and knowing that someone was available to answer their questions and look out for them.

Faculty members were also pleased with the student response. “(They are) really hopeful for being able to scale up this program pretty significantly in the future,” Kroger said.

The full-scale version of the peer mentoring program is planned to start at SDSU in the fall, and other S.D. universities are considering whether to launch their own programs as well.

Interested in launching a Lost&Found peer mentorship program at your institution? Contact us here.