Created by a former UW-Madison student, the Green Bandana Project — organized by the National Alliance on Mental Illness-UW — has made bright green bandanas a widespread symbol on campus. A bandana indicates that a student is a safe and knowledgeable individual to approach about mental health-related issues. Students who participate are educated on campus resources surrounding mental health and agree to carry resource cards with them. Along with the Green Bandana Project, NAMI works to promote student well being through advocacy and education.
Across the nation, nearly one in five adults live with a mental health disorder. Still, stigma remains one of the largest barriers to students seeking help. The fund for the Green Bandana Project will help change this narrative by reducing the stigma associated with mental illnesses and foster an open dialogue about mental health awareness. The class gift will also allow NAMI to expand their outreach efforts, including buying more bandanas and hosting events geared toward mental health advocacy.
Thousands of bandanas can be seen on the backpacks of UW-Madison students, each individually serving as a sign of support and solidarity for those with mental illnesses. Collectively, the bandanas convey a larger message to students who may be struggling: hope. As of fall 2018, NAMI has distributed more than 6,000 bandanas on campus and actively collaborates with UWPD and UHS in its programming.
The Green Bandana Project is dedicated to making a difference — with your support, it will continue to have lasting impacts on campus and beyond.