Sunday, May 19, 2024

Students use green bandanas to destigmatize mental health at Massachusetts high school

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NORTON – May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and green is the color that symbolizes mental health awareness. WBZ traveled to Norton to see how high schoolers are breaking down stigmas and supporting each other through an initiative called the Green Bandana Project.

Green Bandana Project

“It’s like to rub for stress relief. And find it very helpful because whenever I’m on like a test or something, I’m like, I usually keep mine [green bandana] on my backpack,” describes Vanessa Lee, a freshman at Norton High School, who is a peer advocate.

“The pressures facing students today are enormous, and they’re much greater than they were, you know, in our generation,” says Ronnie Goldstein, the Assistant Principal at Norton Junior High School. 

Goldstein is also involved with Project 351, the non-profit sponsoring the Green Bandana Project. 

He knows firsthand what kids today are going through.  

“These days, especially with social media, there’s a huge fear of missing out. Students see things posted on social media, whether it’s Snapchat or Instagram, and they feel like, well, if I’m not doing X, Y, and Z, then I must be missing out,” Goldstein says.

“It’s okay to lean on people.”

That’s what makes the embroidery even more significant. It’s not just about the fabric, but sewing together a tapestry of friendship and support while destigmatizing anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues.

“I’ve had some mental health issues, but they’ve always been looked at, and they’ve always been helped, and they’ve always been like, I know all my friends are there for me. I know all my people are there for me,” says Lee.

Benson Chang, a sophomore at Norton, adds “It’s important that kids know that it’s okay to lean on people. It’s okay to take the time for yourself. And it’s okay to prioritize the way that you feel in your well-being”.

WBZ is a proud sponsor of Project 351. The non-profit organization aims to uplift and empower teens through service initiatives like the Green Bandana Project.

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