Lost & Found club fosters mental health education on campus

What started as a small Civitas project became Augustana’s new initiative for mental health education. 

Lost & Found (L&F), a nonprofit social enterprise headquartered in Sioux Falls, now has a club at Augustana. Started by junior Hailey Nold, the club’s goal is to build resilience strategies for student well-being on campus and after graduation.  

When Nold was asked to improve a part of campus for her Reading Augustana Civitas course, she focused on what is prevalent in students’ lives: their mental health.

“We looked at different things, like [how] well-being reports are really hitting an increase during midterms and end of the semester,” Nold said. “How do we go about helping that? How is Sioux Falls [Psychological] being utilized? Is it being utilized in the best way?”

After finishing the project, Nold decided the idea was greater than just a class project and was needed as a real organization on campus. 

The club focuses on three main areas: resilience for self, resilience for others and resilience for community. Each tier educates students on available resources in times of frustration.

“‘Resilience for self’ events will have things like muscle relaxation training, breathing training [and] mindfulness training,” Nold said. “All that kind of stuff that might be so simple, but students might not know how to use [them].”

Other tiers, like ‘resilience for others’ will have mental health training and basic suicide prevention sessions, while ‘resilience for community’ focuses on service projects in Sioux Falls.

Wendy Mamer, an admissions counselor, is the faculty adviser for L&F. She and Nold created a plan for the club over the summer. Mamer’s main focus is overall well-being for students.

“I think, sometimes, when individuals think of mental health, they think of it as mutually exclusive from physical health; that’s just not the case at all,” Mamer said. “It makes up well-being and how we take care of ourselves.”

Although Nold and Mamer started the club, it is ultimately up to the students to organize L&F around their interests.

“We saw the need for a student-led initiative rather than a faculty [initiative] just because that is more relatable for students,” Nold said.

The club has received a strong student response as 13 students have applied, filling the eight spot quota for a new club.

L&F members worked closely with members of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) to help implement the initiative.

Senior McKenna Bauer, president of PRSSA, picked L&F as her group’s project this year.

“Community is a core value of our school, so we think working with members of our campus community is a good way to give back,” Bauer said. “With that being said, L&F is an organization that we fully support.”

With strong support for L&F on campus, Nold is encouraged to spread the initiative farther than just Augustana.

Starting next semester, the club will host monthly meetings that non-board serving members are welcome to join. Events and other community outreach will be determined later once the club is in session.

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