Community Orgs Wellness

SEEING GREEN: Community Adds Color For Mental Health Awareness Month

JONAH’s Mental Health Task Force launches Green Bandana Project for neighborly support of mental health

Carlee Shimek |

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. JONAH's Mental Health Task Force has started a Green Bandana Project in the area. (Submitted photos)

Through the efforts of the nonprofit JONAH, community support for mental health is coming to light. The Green Bandana Project (GBP) is the creation of JONAH’s Mental Health Task Force, inspired by UW-Eau Claire’s own project, to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and bring neighbors together in creating a comfortable and supportive environment for one another. 

To be part of the GBP you sign a pledge that if someone experiencing a mental health issue in public comes up to you, you will do your best to support them in any way you can. The other half of the pledge is that you promise to seek help if you experience any mental health issues in your life. 

“It’s recognizing that people are more than their struggles,” said Lynn Buske, lead organizer for JONAH, “and how to just be a friend to each other when it comes to emotional health.”

When you sign the pledge, you receive a free green bandana that you visibly wear in public, so that someone experiencing a mental health episode knows they can approach you if need be. Along with the bandana, you receive a card with a link to JONAH’s launch page on advice for how to handle supporting someone experiencing a mental health episode. However, it’s not necessary to know anything clinical or advanced about mental health: Participants just should be people that others can feel safe around with their mental health. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Green Bandana Project and anything else related to mental health, JONAH is hosting an educational event on mental health at 6pm on Tuesday, May 23, at Grace Lutheran Church (202 W. Grand Ave., Eau Claire). A documentary about how childhood environments can impact mental health will be shown, followed by time for questions and discussion about mental health. There will be refreshments and the event is free, with no registration necessary. 

“I’m hoping that people who are struggling don’t feel alone and that when they see green bandanas all over the community, it validates that it’s OK,” Buske said. Sometimes the best way to help someone is to just be there for them as a pillar to catch their breaths on. 

To learn more about the Green Bandana Project, including the locations where you can sign the pledge and pick up a green bandana, visit