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Wednesday, Oct. 4
The Indiana Daily Student

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Green Bandana project supports mental health awareness at IU


Decorated tables were set up around campus on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with members from nine organizations handing out green bandanas, the color representing mental health awareness, for students to tie on their backpacks to show support for those struggling with mental health.

“It felt really good to see all the people with their bandanas walking through the hallways,” IU senior Leah Murray said.

This project is a Big Ten initiative to help end the stigma around mental health, said IUSG congressional steering committee member Rachel Aranyi. The organizations involved in this project, listed on IUSG’s website, also handed out cards at the tabling events with lifeline numbers that provide confidential support for things such as suicide and sexual assault. Aranyi said the goal of the project is to show a visual allyship on campus. The hope of these organizations is to offer more projects or events supporting mental health in the future. 

Murray said she heard about the Green Bandana Project on social media and went to a table to get a bandana Tuesday. After, she posted about the project on her Instagram story to inspire her friends to pick up a bandana.

Murray said she thinks this project is a good step toward breaking the stigma surrounding mental health, but it isn’t the only step. She said she thinks it’s good that so many people on campus are willing to show their support, but hopes to see more done to break the stigma in the future. 

She hopes the green bandanas will encourage students to seek help who have not yet.

“Hopefully seeing the green bandanas around will give someone the courage they need to talk to that first person,” Murray said. 

She the goal of this project is to have tons of students display green bandanas on their backpacks to show visual solidarity on campus. There was also a post-it board at the tables where people wrote about mental health and how it’s affected them. 

“IU is proud to be part of this initiative,” Aranyi said.

This is their first time running this project, at IU, but Aranyi said the hope of IUSG and KSG is to make it annual. She said the stigma around mental health is a broad societal issue, but the student body has made showing support a priority. They are moving toward the goal of ending the stigma, and Aranyi said she encourages people with ideas for future projects to come to their Monday night meetings, which are open to everyone.

She said IUSG passed the bill to fund the information cards that go along with the bandanas and used money from their budget to purchase a few thousand bandanas to contribute at the tabling events. The rest of the bandanas were bought with the budgets of the other organizations involved. There were 5,000 bandanas in total handed out during this project, said Nailah Owens-Johnson, vice president of outreach in Kelley Student Government.

She said she heard about the Green Bandana Project at an IUSG meeting and decided to bring the project to KSG. Owens-Johnson said at this year’s Balance Week, the week before exams, KSG plans to hand out more bandanas and tie-dye shirts green at the Kelley School of Business to continue the supporting mental health. She said KSG has other events planned during Balance Week, such as a massage event.

“Going forward, this is a visual to see that you’re not alone,” Owens-Johnson said.

Owens-Johnson said at the beginning of the project, many weren’t sure what the project was for, but by the last day of tabling, people were seeking the bandanas out. She said students asked about donations, but they were not accepted because the sole purpose of the project at IU was to show the alliance between everyone on campus in understanding mental health.

Owens-Johnson said the biggest part of the tabling events was to show that it’s okay to not be okay.

Owens-Johnson said all 1,800 of the bandanas contributed from KSG were paid for by the Kelley School of Business. She said she felt as if this was a representation of how much the administration cares about their students and those struggling with mental health.

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