The Bandana Project is a national organization designed to spread awareness on mental health and suicide prevention. Kendal Sparks founded the UWG chapter after her own personal experience. As a current college student who struggled with mental health, it led to an awakening of how important mental health is not only as an individual alone, but for the community as well.
“Starting The Bandana Project was an effort of mine to break the social stigmas pertaining to mental health,” said Sparks. “My goal is for students to be informed and aware of the resources available to us as students on campus.”
The goal of this movement is to provide a community for students who struggle with mental health. The organization is operated by students, making it different from other mental health organizations on campus. Members of the organization will sign a waiver and have a green bandana tied to their backpack. This bandana will symbolize that they are safe to approach and willing to support or help anyone who is struggling with mental health.
Some of the partners include the Suicide Prevention Hotline, the UWG Counseling Center, University Police Department, Tanner Medical, Health and Community Wellness Department, Willowbrooke Psychiatric Center and Piedmont Healthcare.
“The campus partners will be included on our resource cards,” said Sparks. “These will be carried by each member with a green bandana on their backpack, ready to distribute.”
The Bandana Project is an all-inclusive organization. To join the organization, there is a semesterly $30 due. The dues are required to help fund events and members receive a t-shirt.
“Each event will be very interactive, very intimate and a safe space whether in Love Valley or a classroom,” said Sparks.
Each month there will be three events including the general body meeting for members, the member social and a community service project. The purpose of the member social is to network with individuals around campus and to connect with existing members. This movement is all about having fun whether on or off campus while making a difference.
The first member social will take place Aug. 27 , at noon, just before the start of suicide prevention month in September.
“We want all of our members committed to not only help themselves but those around us,” said Sparks. “Community is so important, especially as college students who often feel alone and not heard.”
“As the first official active season this semester, we want to get the word out on this beautiful movement,” said Sparks. “Our mind is our greatest weapon, it’s a powerful tool we can’t function without.”