In the past year, The NAN Project has grown exponentially! We’ve trained more peer mentors, met new students and staff, and worked on projects directed by high school peer leaders.
- In 2018, The NAN Project lead over 50 presentations to schools, community groups, mental health professionals. We covered more ground than ever, with our first trips to Hatfield, New Bedford, West Springfield, Lowell and over 2 dozen other communities.
- Over 2,500 new students and young adults heard our presentations, and 1,000 staff members and stakeholders received training on how to support the students and young people with whom they work.
- We we able to spread our message among more professionals and stakeholders by attending SuccessFest, Mass Suicide Prevention Conference, Provider Forum on Restraint and Seclusion Prevention, Youth at Risk, and the Teen Mental Health Summit.
We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without our incredible team of Peer Mentors, which expands at the end of every New Peer Mentor Training. This year, we held trainings at Tempo Young Adult Resource Center in Framingham, at ServiceNet in Holyoke (Our farthest west yet!) and two trainings at YouForward in Lawrence.
We also held our first Orientation Day, an informational session for interested young adults who wanted to learn more!
Scattered throughout the year, we have several opportunities for our Peer Mentors to reconnect and further refine their stories and presentation skills. We fondly refer to these events as “Coaching Days.”
This year, we were able to hold Coaching Days at the following locations:
- January 12 STEPS in Arlington
- February 12 Young Adult Vocational Program (YAVP) in Arlington
- February 16 TEMPO Young Adult Resource Center in Framingham
- March 2, YouForward in Lawrence
- April 20, YAVP in Arlington
- May 7, YouForward in Lawrence
- September 6, Eliot in Malden
- September 9 ‘Art with Alex’ – Creating Centerpieces for A Night For Nan
- October 19, YouForward in Lawrence
- November 16, Eliot CHS in Malden
To learn more about The NAN Project’s Coaching Day, click here!
During our not-so-busy summer season, our first Senior Peer Mentor Training Camp offered our Peer Mentors the chance to become trained in Botvin LifeSkills, Safetalk (suicide prevention training), Mental Health First Aid, as well as participating in some grounding and therapeutic art projects lead by Alex Norby. These trainings not only provided valuable information, but also sparked some incredible discussions as Peer Mentors shared how what they were learning related to their own lived experience. We are so glad to have been able to provide this training for our team, congrats to those who graduated as Senior Peer Mentors! To read out blog post about our training, click here!
Peer Leadership Teams
2018 was also a big year for our Peer Leaders, the students who keep up mental health awareness in their communities every day.
- We trained teams in Stoneham, Bunker Hill Community College, MassMentors, and Andover High School in QPR suicide prevention. This training teaches signs and clues that someone could be struggling,
- Students at Phoenix Academy in Lawrence came up with the catchy name “NANIX” for their Peer Leadership Team when we first met with them last year just before summer break. When we came back together as a group this fall, students and their city had experienced disaster and loss, including the loss of a Phoenix Student and NANIX member. Students stepped up to make this project happen, and we have been very lucky to work with such a dedicated group of young people. To read more about this team and their project, click here!
- We visited Stoneham High School Peer Leaders and held a discussion about the importance of grounding techniques, rounding out our meeting with a new favorite art activity of ours – creating grounding stones! Grounding Techniques are meant to keep us in the here-and-now, connecting us back to reality and away from overwhelming emotions. The stones we created with Stoneham PLT are meant to serve as reminders of what each student finds grounding; some decorated their glass pebbles with nature scenes, or representations of their coping skills.
- Andover Museum Trip – We joined our Peer Leaders at Andover High School to view the Many Faces of Mental Health exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science. The purpose of this exhibit was to show that Mental Health cannot be easily seen with the naked eye, and many people you see even walking down the street may be struggling. The Peer Leaders were very receptive, and we enjoyed this wonderful day at the museum!
- In 2018, we completed our response to the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, with our own 13 Reasons We Need to Talk About Suicide. If you haven’t watched the video yet, be sure to check it out here!
- Read about our State House Briefing during Suicide Prevention Awareness Week.
- We’ve welcomed new peer mentors and new employees to our team, check them out on Our Peer Mentors!
- Read about 2018 Night for NAN, our big fundraiser of the year.
- Conducted a Survey about the Attitudes and Beliefs About Mental Health in Massachusetts!
- We were on ABC’s Chronicle two times, check it out HERE!