Local college launches Green Bandana Project to support student mental health needs

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 6:45 PM CST
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Culver-Stockton College (CSC) is trying to be proactive when it comes to its student’s happiness.

Faculty said it’s in response to the increased need for mental health support in young adults across the country.

Students were given the opportunity to take a green bandana to tie onto their backpacks.

It’s to signal to other students they matter and that there’s support when it comes to their mental health.

They launched the Green Bandana Project Friday to address student mental health.

From a pandemic to moving away from home to furthering their education, CSC students, like senior Katelyn Felt, said they’re faced with challenges that can be hard to deal with.

“Just dealing with those issues that happened during COVID and just like adapting to them can be kind of hard after the pandemic,” Felt said.

More than 65 people heard the pleas of students across the country during a Green Bandana Project presentation and were given a call to action.

“The Bandana Project is basically a nationwide suicide prevention resource for the students,” said CSC Counseling and Wellness Services Director Jill Miller. “Basically the students wear green bandanas and tie them around book bags. Signifying they’re a mental health advocate for their peers.”

Miler said she saw 226 students last year in just in one semester alone.

“I was seeing like six to eight students a day,“ Miller said. “I’ve seen a huge uptick in people needing services for mental health. Colleges around the country are saying the same thing.”

Miller said they established a mental health task force to help students navigate the challenges they’re facing.

“The virtual care group, which is something new we’ve implemented and yes, we partner with Blessing. Culver-Stockton students can receive five free therapy sessions through Blessing,” Miller said.

Felt said seeing a need on campus inspired her to create her own club to help her peers.

“It’s mainly going to be about bringing in certain events to deal with mental health awareness. So some ideas were like self-care bingo, exercise classes,” Felt said. I know during the meetings I want to write notes and place them around the campus.”

Students were also given a card that notifies them of all the resources they have available to them. Like 24/7 access to a crisis hotline through a virtual care group and free visits with blessing health services.

“They carry around a few resource cards for the students for mental health. So a student would come up to that person, ask them if they have a mental health resource card or if they’re willing to have just a conversation about how they’re feeling,” Miller said.

According to Mayo Clinic, 44% of college students reported having symptoms of depression and anxiety since the start of the pandemic. 75% of those students are reluctant to seek help.

If you or someone you know is suicidal you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text “HELLO” or “NAMI” to the Crisis Text hotline at 741741.

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