Let’s Talk about Mental Health Guide

When we talk about mental health, we save lives.


Lost&Found’s Let’s Talk About Mental Health Guide provides a comprehensive and easy-to-digest set of tools, questions, and conversation starters for understanding mental health and its connection to suicide ideation, proven actions we can take to help ourselves and each other with the struggles we face, and resources for future use.

This Guide includes step-by-step action plans, tips, and statistics to help you navigate some of the hardest questions about mental health, such as:

✓  What does “mental health” mean? What goes into our mental health?

✓  How are mental health and suicide risk connected?

✓  What are the risk factors for suicide, and how do I identify risk factors?

✓  How do I get help?

✓  Someone in my life is struggling. How do I help them?

✓  What resources should I seek for myself or someone I care about?



The story behind The Guide

In March 2020, our world seemed to come to a screeching halt. Because of COVID-19, in-person events and gatherings were cancelled, we moved indoors and onto our devices, and life, as we knew it, seemed to have changed forever.

Being a team of student leaders and public health professionals trying to make sense of what happened, we noticed something. We couldn’t meet face-to-face during the pandemic, but we became very effective at sharing our experiences and our knowledge through digital mediums.

As a result, something clicked for us. “What if we took everything we’ve known and used this time to create something we’ll love, no matter how long this pandemic lasts?” 

The end result is the Let’s Talk About Mental Health Guide. This Guide celebrates our efforts to make the best out of the worst circumstances and provide a roadmap of tips and tactics to change lives for the better.


Why do I need The Guide?

Almost half (46.4%) of American adults experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, and over 75% mental health conditions begin to present themselves by the age of 24. If you live in the United States, odds are that either you or someone in your life has had or will experience a mental health condition now or in the future. 

The fact that mental health conditions are common isn’t alarming, but something else is: around 2 in 5 people who experience a mental health condition don’t seek help for it.

In a world when more and more people will experience mental health conditions but fewer seek help, the best people to provide support and reduce the risk of untreated mental health conditions are those of us who see symptoms in our friends and family.

This Guide is packed with evidence-based methods for speaking with someone who is experiencing a mental health condition or has considered suicide. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, this Guide will help you have a conversation when it’s needed most.

*NOTE: This Guide is not meant to be a tool for addressing a crisis situation. If you or someone you know are experiencing crisis, please call 2-1-1 in South Dakota or 1-800-273-8255. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately.

How do I access The Guide?

To access the Guide, complete the web form at the bottom of this page, completing all required fields, and click “Submit.” Then, you’ll be transferred to a new page with a link to download Let’s Talk About Mental Health for your use, along with handy video guides. 

Once you’ve downloaded the Guide, it is yours to use! This Guide is meant to be used by the public; our team only asks that you share credit for the work we’ve created and for the work shared by those cited within the Guide.

If you do not see the Guide after completing the form below, check your spam or junk email folders. For any additional support, please reach out to Lost&Found staff via email (contact@resilienttoday.org).

 The Let’s Talk About Mental Health Guide is for you. Use it well! In the meantime, check out the sample content below.


In our day-to-day interactions, we are likely to interact with a friend, family member, or acquaintance who may be struggling. Often, we don’t know how to help.

To help, start with the “EARS” Method! It provides a framework for meaningful interactions with those around us, no matter what level of crisis is experienced.

When in doubt, use your EARS and be present:

✓ Engage: Start the conversation and begin the cycle of care.

✓ Attend: Focus your communication on the individual and their experience.

✓ Reinforce: Build upon the strengths of the person and situation to reinforce hope.

✓ Seek: Join them on the journey to seek help and continue to follow-up.

Want to learn more and practice for yourself? Get the Guide!

As a college counselor, I have been able to help both students and staff normalize how to talk about mental health. The EARS Framework and Let’s Talk About Mental Health Guide provide a comprehensive and effortless way to have the conversation about how to help yourself and others!

Jessi Whetsel, LPC

Staff Counselor, Lake Area Technical College

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