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Briana Whitehurst

“Check in on those around you, be that shoulder to lean on, and encourage people to seek the help they deserve!”
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City: Sioux Falls, S.D.

What is the story related to mental health, suicide, and/or resilience that you’d like to share? 

I used to pride myself on being strong enough to handle everything that I have been through in my life alone. I always struggled with anxiety and depression, but I kept it hidden. I always showed a smile and a bubbly personality to hide the pain and trauma in my life. The one time I had tried to get on some medication during a low point, a doctor told me they didn’t believe me and it was all in my head, so I decided then and there to continue what I had always done and simply hide it.  

Early in 2020 I got COVID, and it knocked me off my feet for over a month. I had been working very hard on myself prior to getting sick and had been very healthy. All of a sudden, I was immersed in a world of medical issues, stress and uncertainty. On top of all of that, it felt like everything around me was crumbling, and for the first time no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get myself out of the darkness that was surrounding me. I began to be filled with negativity and started telling myself things like “No one would even notice if you weren’t here.” “No one needs you.” “The world would be better without you in it.” “It is exhausting for everyone trying to figure out what’s wrong with you.” I would have mental break downs all the time where I would just cry uncontrollably in bed or in the shower because I was so embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to see my rock bottom. I felt so alone, and I told myself lies that no one wanted to be around me because I wasn’t happy and that I wasn’t the “Me” they knew. The distance from people just made things worse to the point that I had gotten into an argument with someone I loved and it pushed me over the edge. I was ready and prepared to take my own life.  

Being as depressed as I was, I had thought of many ways to do this in the past, as awful as that sounds to say now. I was crying on the floor of my room, alone in the darkest moment of my life—even though I had been through harder things, this head space I couldn’t come out of. I tried to take my own life. 

I survived. I don’t know why I didn’t die—maybe something or someone was watching over me—but that was my moment my snap to reality that I needed REAL help. It was a break in my clouded darkness—a moment of clarity.  

I knew no matter how many doctors it took I would find someone who would hear my cry for help and understand me. I would seek out therapy to work through all the trauma. But most of all I would allow myself to have weakness to be able to find my strength again.  

I hope my story helps you know that no matter where you are, you got this. Even at your weakest points, get up! You are strong, you are resilient, and you are worth it!


What resources have helped you to address this challenge? 

Suicide Helpline, therapy, and prescribed medication by a licensed doctor for anxiety and depression. 


Based on your experience, how can we work to build resilience in ourselves, our loved ones, and in our communities to better face life’s challenges? 

First of all, don’t believe the lie you are broken”—you are not! Second, don’t be afraid to get the help you need. Third, truly be there for the people around you, meaning listen when they are hurting, and when they aren’t, see through the happy facesbelieve it or not, some people are really good at hiding their pain, and I am one of them, so I know. Check in on those around yoube that shoulder to lean on, and encourage people to seek the help they deserve! But most of all, spread awareness and make it OK to talk about mental health. It is real and so important. 


What is one thing related to mental health, suicide, or resilience that you wish everyone could understand? 

That sometimes the thoughts you have are not your own, and you feel trapped. 

In crisis?

Call or text 988.

Building resilience one life at a time


The Lost&Found Association came to life in 2010 thanks to a team of soon-to-be college students committed to making a difference in the lives of peers struggling with depression and suicide.

Today, Lost&Found is a growing education and advocacy nonprofit that serves students on 15 college campuses, offering resilience-building programming and connecting students in need with support communities.