Lost&Found dedicated to making students aware of mental health
When Maryssa Nohr attended a meeting hosted by the CEO of Lost&Found, Erik Muckey, she knew she had to be a part of the team to bring a chapter to Dakota Wesleyan University.
With the help of four other students and a $2,500 grant, Nohr was able to do it, claiming the title of local chapter president along the way.
Lost&Found is a group of 30 members on DWU’s campus dedicated to teaching students about mental health and suicide prevention. And now, the group has teamed up with another campus organization, CHAOS (Chemistry Health And Other Sciences), to bring a haunted house to Mitchell.
The haunted house opened last weekend and will be run one final night on Halloween from 8 p.m. to midnight at 223 N. Main St., aka the former Crafty Fox building, downtown Mitchell.
The Mitchell chapter has partnered with Lost&Found groups at the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University, and the University of Sioux Falls to raise more than $60,000 since 2018 to support student mental health programs at each school.
“There has been so much more involvement on campus since the group was founded,” Nohr said. “We talk about mental health issues that not everybody realizes are mental health issues and every time we have a meeting, more and more people show up.”
“Most recently we held a ‘spilling the tea’ event that did well. A lot more students showed up than they would’ve if it were put on by the administration,” Nohr said. Students are talking to each other on a one-on-one basis, making student outreach much easier.
Jennifer Noteboom has been the campus counselor since August and has helped the group host events for suicide prevention week in September, mental health awareness week, which was earlier this month, and suicide prevention training seminars.
These seminars are 90 minutes and are designed to provide practical development skills to improve everyday resilience. They also teach students how to provide support to friends and peers and become aware of student needs. The group is trying to improve school policies to focus on student mental health.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in South Dakota for young adults between the ages of 14 and 35 and is even more common among college students. More than 1 in 4 South Dakota college students have a mental health condition but 40-70% of those students do not seek help. The Lost&Found group is focused on making students aware of mental health in order to decrease the amount of suicides in South Dakota’s youth and to give students a place to go to for help.
“I want Lost&Found to be huge,” Nohr says. “All the clubs on campus are very important, I’m in chemistry club, but that’s a club that’s directed towards a major and when it comes to mental illness it’s directed toward everybody, so we should have this club for every single person on campus so they can relate to everything we talk about. I hope this club can grow to everybody on campus.”
The haunted house is free for children 4 and younger; $5 for ages 5-11; and $7 for ages 12 and up. Groups of five or more receive discounted rate of $5 per person.