The Bandana Project was originally inspired by “Dan’s Bandana Project,” an initiative that was first developed on the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus in 2014 by Dr. Betsy Gerbec. Dr. Gerbec developed the concept after losing her son, Daniel Gerbec, to suicide in 2012, when he was a senior in college. Dan’s signature headwear, a bandana, became the primary symbol of the project– signifying that a student carrying a bandana is an advocate for mental health, a trusted source of support, and knowledgeable of mental health and suicide prevention resources available to students.
The project was adapted and carried forward in 2016 by Conlin Bass, an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Conlin went on to further develop The Bandana Project as part of his Master’s thesis at Yale, making it the dynamic program it is today.
In the fall of 2022, SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) acquired The Bandana Project and incorporated it into its suicide prevention and mental health programs and continues to make improvements that support the needs of today’s students.
THE BANDANA PROJECT TODAY
The Bandana Project (TBP) is a volunteer-driven movement dedicated to preventing suicide through promoting help-seeking behavior and increasing awareness of vital mental health resources. After a short orientation and basic suicide prevention training, TBP volunteers can proudly attach or display a lime-green bandana on their backpack, bag, or person, signifying they have pledged to be a safe individual to approach for mental health and suicide prevention information and resources.
We actively collaborate with various institutions such as high schools, colleges, workplaces, and other groups to implement TBP, working together to strengthen community connections and enhance accessibility to all available and relevant mental health and suicide prevention resources. TBP fulfills a crucial role in raising awareness about available support resources, while also striving to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health challenges and suicidal thoughts.
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The Bandana Project is proudly supported by the Hot Topic Foundation. The Hot Topic Foundation’s goal is to change lives by increasing access to mental health programs and music education. HTF proudly teams with nonprofits that provide these resources to those in need.
Click here to visit The Bandana Project’s website.