Frequently Asked Questions
What is the 30 Days, 30 Stories project?
The title of the 2023 project is “Storytelling is Suicide Prevention: 30 Days, 30 Stories.” The project will tell the stories of 30 youth and young adults from the state of South Dakota who have faced and overcome adversity resulting from mental health challenges and/or suicide ideation, risks, attempts, and loss. For every day of September, one story of resilience will be released online to share a message of hope and help to those who may be struggling.
Who is putting together this project?
Lost&Found is the main organization behind the 30 Days, 30 Stories project. Lost&Found is a nonprofit organization based in Sioux Falls, S.D., focused on providing comprehensive suicide prevention resources for youth and young adults 10-34 in South Dakota and the surrounding region. Learn more about Lost&Found here.
The project is sponsored by the S.D. Humanities Council.
What is the purpose of this project?
Lost&Found has three main goals for this project:
- Increase awareness of mental health challenges all around us, as this can reduce the stigma of mental illness and seeking help.
- Empower people to share their stories. This includes the people who are featured here, but also those who read and identify with these stories and may find the courage to tell their own. Storytelling involves deciding what details matter (and which don’t) and finding meaning in a series of events. This process can be healing in itself.
- Promote the resources that can help people through even the darkest of times. We especially want people to learn about and know how to access the statewide suicide prevention resources that young adults and families have found relevant to their experiences, identities, and communities. The project is also meant to create conversations in our communities about what will make the greatest difference in someone’s life so that we can work together to prevent suicide.
Where will my picture and story be used/portrayed?
Your story will be told in three formats: your typed responses to the questions on this form, two photos, and a video. All of these will appear on the 30stories.org website. The videos will also be uploaded to Lost&Found’s channel on YouTube. We will tell parts of these stories on Lost&Found’s social media channels, and you will be encouraged to share links to your story among your social network as well. We may also summarize or refer to stories in other Lost&Found publications or in marketing materials.
In short, these stories are intended to reach the public, as that is how they will have the power to help others.
We may also re-share these stories on our social media accounts throughout the year. For example, over the 2022-23 school year, we had a “One Thing Wednesday” series in which we shared one storyteller’s video response to the question “What’s one thing you wish people knew about mental health or suicide?” each week.
Do I need to have a photo taken?
Yes, please. Our goal is to have the photos for this project have a cohesive look, so we want everyone to have their photo taken with the same background. The photos will be taken at the same time that a brief video is recorded.
Can you use my story without my photo?
Unfortunately, no. Part of the impact of this project is being able to see the people who are sharing these stories. Taken as a whole, seeing the diversity of people represented in the project helps people understand that mental health challenges can affect everyone (“Even people like me”).
Will my story be edited?
Stories are edited for length, spelling/grammar, and clarity. We try to keep stories in your own voice as much as possible.
Can I be anonymous? Can I use an alias?
Unfortunately, no. For this project to be effective at reducing stigma, we need to be able to share people’s real names.
Does where I live have to be listed?
We do not list street addresses. Listing the town in which a storyteller lives, which is our preferred option, helps to show that mental health challenges happen to people who live in all parts of South Dakota. If a storyteller prefers, we can list a county or a description of an area of South Dakota (near the Missouri River, etc.).
Do I have to travel to get my picture/video taken?
A photographer/videographer will travel to several locations in the state for photo/video shoots. Those locations will be determined once we have a better idea of where our storytellers live. This year, we will be able to provide small stipends to cover the expense of traveling and missing a few hours of work.
I am under 18. Does that matter?
We would be happy to have your story. You and your parents would both need to sign the media release.
Do I get anything in return for doing this?
We can provide a small stipend to cover the expense of travel or missing a few hours of work for those who need it. The greater benefits to you, however, are not monetary.
- Working on your story may be therapeutic. You get to decide what details matter, and which don’t. You are the one who decides. There is power in writing your own story.
- People often respond positively to people who have the courage to tell their stories even when some parts of them are painful.
- Hearing your story can help to empower others to tell their own stories. Hearing that mental health treatment is possible, and that preventing suicide is possible–two ideas that are present in many of the stories that people share as part of this project–can give people hope. And hearing that a resource was helpful to you can encourage others to reach out for help.
What if I’m not ready now but I change my mind later and want to participate?
The sooner you send in your story, the more helpful it is for us in getting photo/video sessions scheduled. Getting stories by July 1 would be best. However, we may still accept stories for several weeks after that date for this year’s project. Stories that are submitted after that time may not be used this year. We may contact you about using your story either in a future year, or in some other way.
What if I change my mind and I don’t want my story used? Is there a timeframe for this?
We recognize that, after submitting your story and having your photo/video taken, there may be a reason you no longer wish to have your story featured.
You need to let us know about this choice in writing, emailed to one of the staff members you’ve been in contact with to arrange details of the project. If we receive your written request to not publish your story within 24 hours before it is scheduled to be published, we won’t publish it. (We may not be able to stop a story that’s scheduled if the request is received during non-business hours.) If we receive this request after the story is published, we will take the story down as soon as possible, though it might require as much as 72 hours to take it down.