SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – According to the CDC, 50 percent of all Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their life. Mental illnesses, like depression, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the United States for people aged 18 to 44.

May 1st marks the beginning of mental health awareness month, and one non-profit in South Dakota kicked it off with an education event at Severance Brewing in downtown Sioux Falls Saturday afternoon.

“At any point during a U.S. adult’s lifetime, they will experience some kind of mental condition,” Erik Muckey, executive director of Lost & Found said.

Muckey says that includes anyone who experiences a mental health condition as well as those who support someone with one.

“Many people may not know what mental health is or isn’t and may not have the tools to be able to talk about it so that’s really what our organization provides,” Muckey said.

Lost & Found is a non-profit organization in South Dakota that works to educate people ages 15 to 34 on mental health. They have chapters at five different universities, including Augustana University.

“Acknowledging what your mental health is is the most important step,” Wendy Mamer, the chapter advisor of Lost & Found at Augustana University said. “We’ve come a long ways in the past, I would say, 5 to 10 years but there’s so much farther to go to create a deeper understanding of what it really is.”

Mamer believes the key to preventing suicide is with mental health education.

“That’s something I relate to very deeply, I lost a loved one to suicide and I just know how important it is for others to become educated about it so they don’t have to go through that as well,” she said.

Muckey hopes people at this Severance Brewing charity tap event are able to learn more about mental health in a fun, outdoor setting. He highlights the importance of self-care as we begin Mental Health Awareness month.

“Try to find the things that really make you feel well and have sort of that self awareness to know, this is what helps me, let’s do those things and continue to repeat those things,” Muckey said.