“The Green Bandana Project is about raising awareness about mental health,” said Daniel Mincemoyer, University of Wisconsin-Platteville chapter president. “It’s okay to not be okay.”
The activism the group shows on campus is why University Counseling Services honored the Green Bandana Project and the Dean of Students Office with the 2022 Mental Health Matters Award. The award recognizes individuals, groups or departments on campus who have made addressing and responding to mental health a priority to reduce the stigma associated with asking for help.
The Green Bandana Project has about a dozen active members. According to Mincemoyer, when a green bandana is tied around a backpack, it’s a sign of solidarity and a reminder that person is looking out for others. This fall, the organization worked closely with the UW-Platteville athletic department. The partnership led to hosting awareness nights and discussions focused on taking care of oneself.
“It’s a peer-to-peer understanding – it’s a student perspective on mental health,” said Mincemoyer, a junior criminal justice and forensic investigation double major from Roscoe, Illinois. “A student’s physical and mental health needs to come first, before you can take care of others and do fun things. You need motivation for classes. It’s a foundation of doing what you want, if you’re not in the right mental health state, it’s hard to achieve your goals during your time in college.”
As the fall semester wraps up, the Green Bandana Project will hold its next meeting in January. The group meets every first and third Thursday of the month.
“We are starting to look for new leaders to take over the Bandana Project. We have some executive board members graduating. If anyone is looking to be active and to start taking over, that would be great,” said Mincemoyer. “Our meetings are fun. We have done game and yoga nights. It’s an hour for students to come out and not focus on school.”
“It’s a great way to advocate for those who may need that extra motivation to seek help,” said Mincemoyer. “It’s different hearing from an actual student. It’s a peer who knows what the college experience is like right now.”