A new suicide prevention group called Lost and Found has been introduced to the University of South Dakota campus.
“Even though you don’t see it (suicides) everyday, it’s something you can do that will directly or indirectly help friends and community members,” freshman Dennis Smith said of the new suicide prevention group Lost & Found, he himself.
Before Smith brought the organization to USD he started Lost and Found as a non-profit organization in September 2010 and it became a national group by January 2011.
Smith said he started the group not only to raise awareness of the problem of suicide but also to provide students something to be involved in.
“There were people I knew who were struggling with this,” Smith said. “I was seeing it more often in my group of friends and my community and I started the group because someone had to do something.”
Freshman and Lost and Found treasurer Erik Muckey, who joined the group in fall 2010 as a favor to Smith, said the organization is valuable for USD students.
“It’s important for students to have a group to go to and also to raise awareness,” Muckey said. “It’s also important for students to become more proactive in the prevention of suicide.”
Since Lost and Found started, the group has discussed different events they plan to do on campus. They have also used some of their grant money to order T-shirts and bracelets to distribute from their table in the Muenster University Center.
“It doesn’t sound like a lot,” Smith said. “But in the scheme of things, we have gotten quite a bit done.”
Smith said the big thing they are going to do is provide awareness.
“We’re going to get guest speakers and bands to come in and support suicide prevention,” Smith said.
All of the money raised is going to be donated nationally to universities to provide medication to students suffering from problems of depression.
The organization has spread nationally with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and campuses in New York showing an interest.
Reach reporter Payton Randle at Payton.Randle@usd.edu.