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Amidst suicide deaths, Lost&Found shares in RC area

todayJune 28, 2024 5

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The timing was right, even if it was a coincidence.

Lost&Found, a non-profit based in Sioux Falls, had scheduled public events in the Rapid City area for this week as a way to highlight its services in that area. But the organization planned its events, it was aware the Rapid City area would record nine suicide deaths in 14 days said Erik Mukey, the chief executive officer of the organization.

The recorded deaths are based on information from Lost&Found’s community partners, said Erik Mukey, the chief executive officer of the organization.

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Public events in Sturgis, Spearfish and Rapid City this past week, “sends the message the community has to come together,” Mukey said.

Lost&Found “trains advocates, provides evaluation and research services, and connects fragmented mental health systems with the goal of ending suicide for young adults (10-34),” the website says.

The timing of the suicide deaths in the area emphasized the need for discussion and awareness of suicide, Mukey said.

Suicide can still be an uncomfortable or stigmatized topic for some people, Mukey said.

“It’s just so essential that we have people who want to talk about mental health or suicide,” Mukey said. “What we see is that people don’t always want to talk.”

Lost&Found works at making connections with people and the community to increase awareness of mental health resources and even signs of mental health stress.

The organization has been working in the Rapid City area since 2021. The service is tied to Black Hills State University and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology as it works with those campuses on mental health education, awareness and other service.

“We’re invested in the community,” Mukey said. That community extends behind the university campuses.

Lost&Found provides education and training to employers on mental health action plans and awareness and similar topics. It also provides programs on resiliency, trauma, coping skills and related topics.

Events this week included ribbon-cutting ceremonies in Spearfish and Rapid City to signify Lost&Found’s presence in the area.

Lost&Found heard from people who didn’t realize the services were in the area and from others who were aware and appreciative of the services, Mukey said.

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

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