The Green Bandana Project and Kevin Hines speak about suicide and mental health awareness
On Tuesday, North Dakota State University (NDSU) hosted national figure in suicide awareness, Kevin Hines, and the presentation of the Green Bandana Project.
Hines started off his presentation by speaking against suicide after his own attempt to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in Sept. 2000. He was one of 36 people to ever survive the fall.
The Green Bandana Project is an organization that works to provide useful resources to anyone who may be struggling with mental health or suicide. This organization aims to destroy the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage open conversations.
The Green Bandana Project began in January 2016 and has grown to 40 campuses around the nation. Colin Bass founded the Bandana Project at his campus, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since then students have joined the organization and helped change climates of mental health by activating students who are already passionate about eliminating this stigma, stated the Bandana Project.
Halie Van Vleet is the Green Bandana student leader at NDSU. She has found her work with the Green Bandana Project to be an extremely enlightening and inspiring experience. Students who work and are trained in the organization receive a green bandana to show others around them that they are there to help.
According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. On average there are about 130 suicides a day.
Students aged 15-24 are in the highest risk group for a majority of mental illnesses, though one in four will not seek help or treatment, according to the Bandana Project.
Kevin Hines spoke to NDSU students, telling his story and the importance of preventing suicide. He urges students to not act on suicidal thoughts and to seek help when you need it. “’I need help’, get used to saying it. Someday you might need to and it’s okay if you do,” said Hines.
“Suicidal idealizations are the greatest liars we know,” Hines said. Hines speaks about the importance of education on mental health as a society. By asking someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions, it gives people permission to speak on their pain, and the pain shared becomes the pain they had, said Hines.
“We, as a society, need to learn how to be bold and ask those questions or we will never know the true answers,” he said. Hines says that everyone has an obligation and responsibility to all people. “We are not here for personal betterment or gain,” Hines explains, “what we are not here to do is damage or hurt each other with our words or our actions.”
Kevin stated that when he was experiencing suicidal thoughts, he thought that no one cared about his life, he now knows that everyone cares. When Hines first jumped from the bridge, he instantly regretted his decision, like many of the survivors have felt. In that moment they had recognized that their thoughts did not have to become their actions.