We seek to improve the conversation around mental health concerns and ultimately reduce suicidal thoughts among young people by making awareness of the same through our events.
The NAN Project emphasizes the messages of HOPE and HELP by:
- Acknowledging that mental illness is a very serious problem among young people;
- Accepting mental health challenges as illnesses of the brain that can be treated;
- Providing access to treatment for all families and their children.
To learn more about what we've been up to, or where we're going, check out below:
Peer Mentor Appreciation DAY!
July 10 - The Our Peer Mentor Appreciation Day was a resounding success! We enjoyed screening our very own 13 Reasons Why We Need To Talk About Suicide, played some NAN Jeopardy, chowed down on Chinese food, and battled at Mario Kart 64. Thank you to all of our amazing Peer Mentors for the hard work you do!😊
New Recruits! GIFT graduation in Arlington
June 21 - The NAN Project was out scouting new potential Peer Mentors at the GIFT (Gathering Inspiring Future Talent) training graduation. This DMH funded program run by Kim Bisset provides young adults with the tools to craft their Comeback Stories and become peer mentors. The majority of The NAN Project's Peer Mentors go through this program before taking our tailored training. We hope to recruit some of these amazing young people with powerful stories to come work for us!
Moving ahead at Framingham High School
June 15 - Today we met with a group of faculty from Framingham High School, including the principal, members of the Bridge re-entry & Phoenix programs and others who provide supports for the students. This was our initial foray into FHS, and the attendees were all super impressed with the presentations by Mike A, Onix and Sarah (her first time!!!). We can't wait to come back in the fall to bring The NAN Project's work to the student body.
Introductions at Milford High School
June 13 - The Prinicpal of Milford High School invited us to sit down with a few of their Staff in their Health Program to intrduce ourselves. We then had our Peer Cordinators share their Comeback Stories, and led a conversation about how we can work with their students once School is back in session. Thank you To all at Milford high School, for being so supportive of our mission.
Video Screening for Boston DMH
June 12 - We were invited to screen our video project 13 Reasons Why We Need To Talk About Suicide for the staff at Boston DMH. All who attened spoke of how this would be a great tool to combat the Stigma surrounding Mental Health, and were eager to utilize this in their practices. Thank you to everyone at The Department of Mental Health for making this a possibility
Peer Leadership Team Launch in Lawrence
June 12 - Today we sat down with a group of underclassmen at Phoenix Academy in Lawrence to help them launch their Peer Leadership Team. We came up with a name Nanix (Nan + Phoenix) and a mission: 1) To open up the conversation around mental health at their school; and, 2) Help their Peers access supports the ened for their mental health. Lots of great input from the students and we are excited to have a kick off event once school is back in September!
Malden What's Next Panel
June 9 - We were in Malden, Massachusetts where our two Peer Coordinators, Mike and Lizzie, were on a panel to discuss mental health and the available supports at the Malden Teen Enrichment Center. They were joined by 2 students, a detective, and a lobbyist, with the mayor, chief of police and Representative Steven Ultrino in attendance. A great day with many positive connections made!
Stoneham High School, we're back!
June 5 - The NAN Project's Peer Mentors had outstanding, if long, day presenting to 4 of Stoneham High School sophomore health classes on Tuesday. These students were involved and had lots of thoughtful input to our discussions around depression, anxiety and how to access supports! We're always glad to be back at one of our most active schools and help promote mental health awareness. This is also where we filmed one of our most popular vignettes from 13 Reasons Why We Need to Talk about Suicide. Check out the Anxiety vignette HERE.
Phoenix Academy presentations
June 4 - The NAN Project's Peer Mentors presented at Phoenix Academy in Lawrence, Massachusetts. We had a great response from the students in attendance and are now working to establish a Peer Leadership Team at this charter school. Thank you to Erin for organizing this event and to our amazing Peer Mentors Elli, Rob, Mike A, Lizzie and Jocelyn for presenting and leading the discussion afterwards!!!
Here is some feedback from the school Social Worker "Thank you again for yesterday and please send our appreciation to your staff! They spoke beautifully and showed some serious courage in sharing their comeback stories. I overheard several students telling their teachers about the mental health awareness group and some of the ideas we discussed, definitely generated some buzz!"
Presenting at Salem's New Liberty Innovation School
May 23 - The NAN Project's Peer Mentors were amazing on Wednesday, presenting for an hour and a half at Salem's New Liberty Innovation School. This alternative school within the Salem Public Schools serves students that have previously struggled in a traditional setting. We were given a VIP tour of the school, and then introduced ourselves to the students, and had our Peer Mentors present their Comeback Stories. The discussions after revolved around how to tell someone you are struggling, who are the trusted adults you can turn to, and how to access supports if you or a friend is having a hard time. This was just the start. We're hoping to organize a summer GIFT Peer Mentor training here and return in the fall.
Hamilton-Wenham Senior Seminars
May 18 - On the last day of class for their Seniors, Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School asked The NAN Project to present as part of their Senior Seminar. Here, our Peer Mentors shared their stories of resilience, and led a discussion about Self-Care, the supports available in their communities, and anxiety around graduation and moving on to College. Thank you to the Staff at HWRHS for making this a possibility, and thank you to the HWRHS Class of 2018 for being an amazing and engaging audience. Congratulations!
Stoneham - Let's Talk About It...
May 17 - The NAN Project an open-community forum titled "Let's Talk About It.." at the First Congregational Church in Stoneham, MA. Ellen Dalton led a discussion addressing the Stigma surrounding Suicide and Mental Illness, and its effect on people. We then had our wonderful Peer Mentors share their Comeback Stories and led a discussion about what mental health issues look like for high school students, and how we can help young adults who may be struggling. Thank you to all the enthusiastic attendees who made this night such a success, thank you to our amazing Peer Mentors, Thank you to Senator Michael Day for the spectacular introduction, and thank you to the Stoneham Coalition on Substance Abuse Education & Prevention for making this event a possibility!
Salem High School Health Fair
May 17 - We were given the opportunity to set up a table for the annual Salem High School Health Fair! Here we debuted our own version of Jeopardy, that was expertly crafted by our own Project Coordinator Kelley! The students were very receptive of what we aimed to accomplish, and enjoyed partaking in answering various questions regarding Mental Health for candy as a reward. Thank you to the staff at Salem High School for all the support we have received, and for making this event a possibility!
The Bromfield School
May 16 - The NAN Project had its first presentation to a middle school audience, when our Peer Mentors presented to the entire 8th Grade Class of the Bromfield School in Harvard, MA. This attentive group were very receptive of our mission to destigmatize Mental Health and promote Emotional Wellbeing. Our Peer Mentors explained what various Mental Illnesses look like in a young person, and the anxieties a freshman may experience in high school, and what supports to turn to. Thank you to all of our Peer Mentors who attended, and we greatly appreciate all the support we have received from The Bromfield School!
Salem HS and Hawthorne Program
May 15 - Salem High School had The NAN Project present to an enthusiastic group of students from their Therapeutic Program about what Depression looks like and how to respond to a Peer in Crisis. We then moved down the hall to the Hawthorne Program, a bridge program for reintegrating students who have missed time from school. Here, the Peer Mentors discussed Positive Coping Strategies and what supports they have turned to when struggling with Mental Illnesses. Thank you to all of the Salem HS Staff who made this event a possibility!
Back to Andover High School!
May 8 & 9 - The NAN Project was back at Andover High School to present to the juniors again on Tuesday and Wednesday. Over the past 3 years, we have had our Peer Mentors at the school to present to nearly every single junior, over 1,000 in total! We love being here and working with these amazing young people, including their Peer Leadership Team, S.T.A.R. (Students Together Are Resilient). Can't wait to be back in the fall!
13 Reasons Why We Need To Talk About Suicide
May 2 - We finally premiered The NAN Project's first movie - 13 Reasons Why We Need To Talk About Suicide - at the DPH Mass Suicide Prevention Conference! The screening as a huge success, and sparked great interest within the audience. The video is in response to the Netflix series; in it, we cover the primary risk factors that can lead to a suicide, we dispel some myths around suicide, provide a range of coping skills, and outline what to do if you are concerned about a peer. It can be viewed on our Youtube page and our website (after 5/17).
Thank you to all who attended, all who helped make this Video Project a possibility, and to our amazing Videographer Dan!
DMH Annual Provider Forum
May 2 - At the Annual DMH Provider Forum, The NAN Project, in collaboration with Isabelle Cole from 13 Reasons To Fly, were invited to give an introduction to the Video projects that we have been working on together. We aired clips from both the 13 Reasons To Fly video, and our own 13 Reasons Why We Need To Talk About Suicide video. We then led a panel discussion about the videos and the messaging. Thank you to The Department of Mental Health for letting us share this with all who attended!
Presentation at CATS Academy
May 1 - We returned to CATS Academy in Braintree to have our Peer Mentors present their Comeback Stories to the Junior Class. We introduced ourselves, showed our Mission Statement Video, had our Peer Mentors share their Comeback, and led a discussion regarding Mental Health and Wellbeing. Thank you to the supportive staff at CATS who make this collaboration a possibility, and thank you to all the students who attended!
Teen Mental Health Summit
April 27 - The NAN Project attended the Teen Mental Health Summit at the DoubleTree hotel in Westborough. Here, We led a workshop titled Developing a Conversation Around Mental Health. Thank you to all who made this event such a success, and thank you to all who inquired about working with us in the future!
Presentations at Hamilton-Wenham
April 24 - The NAN Project's Peer Mentors presented their Comeback Stories to the entire Junior Class at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School! Due to time constraints, our PMs presented to the entire class then hosted breakout sessions with smaller groups of 30 or so students to lead discussions and Q&A regarding Mental Health and what to do if you or a friend may be struggling. Thank you to the entire HWRHS team for giving us this amazing opportunity!
Peer Mentor Presentations to Salem School Staff
April 23 - The NAN Project was given the opportunity to introduce itself, and have our Peer Mentors share their Comeback Stories to the staff and counselors from the four (five??) different schools from Salem. They were very receptive and are eager to work with us to promote Mental Wellbeing; we'll be back in mid-May to present to the students and get the conversation rolling!
Coaching Days at YouForward and YAVP
On the 18th Of April, YouForward Drop-In Center gave us the space to put on another Coaching Day for our Peer Mentors, and on the 20th of April YAVP did the same. These were great opportunities for our Peer Mentors to continue to work on their presentation skills, and to further refine their Comeback Stories. Thank you to all of our enthusiastic Peer Mentors who attended!
Mental Health Workshops at CATS Academy
April 17 - We were back at work discussing mental health concerns and how to get help for your peers at CATS Academy in Braintree on Tuesday. Our Peer Mentors did a great job opening up the conversation and responding to the questions posed by the students and faculty alike. We'll be back to present to the second half of the junior class in early May.
QPR training @ Bunker Hill Community College
April 18 - The NAN Project provided QPR Training (Question, Persuade and Refer) to an amazing group of Human Services students at Bunker Hill Community College last night. This suicide prevention program provides a set of tools that empower individuals to feel comfortable checking in with a friend, relative or colleague who may be in distress, asking the tough question "Are you thinking about suicide?", and where to turn for resources.
Peer Mentor graduation at YouForward in Lawrence
April 11 - The NAN Project graduated it's latest group of almost 20 Peer Mentors at the YouForward drop-in center in Lawrence. Congratulations to all these amazing young adults for completing this 3 day training!
Hamilton-Wenham RHS introductions
April 10 - The NAN Project presented to the entire faculty of Hamilton Wenham Regional High School on Tuesday. This was Nan's high school... it means so much for us to be back here working with some of the faculty that had Nan as a student. We will be back at the end of April for some Peer Mentor presentations and discussions about mental health and supports with the junior class.
Westfield High School community workshop
On Tuesday, April 3, The NAN Project presented Jon Mattleman and his workshop The Secret Lives of Teens to a group of parents and educators at Westfield High School. Jon did a great job engaging the audience and providing some useful tips on what teens are really thinking, what they fear, why they do not share more, and how adults can effectively support the teens in their lives. The presentation covered areas such as depression, suicide, 'acting out' behaviors, drug and alcohol use, and more.
Acton-Boxborough Health Classes
On Monday & Tuesday, April 2 &3, The NAN Project's Peer Mentors presented their Comeback Stories to 16(!!!) health classes over two days. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it. The Peer Mentors engaged the students on the signs and symptoms of various mental health concerns; how to respond to a peer who is struggling; what supports are available in the community; and what coping skills young people can turn to when they're stressed out. A long couple of days, but super rewarding with tons of positive feedback from the students.
Peabody Health Fair
Peabody Veterans Memorial High School recently hosted a Health fair for it's students on the 27th of March, and The NAN Project was invited to attend and give a presentation. Here, we introduced ourselves as a project, aired our video explaining our mission, and had our Peer Mentors present their comeback stories. We then had a discussion with the students about how to spot signs of mental illness, and what supports they had in their community. Thank you to all of the students who attended for being so engaging and intuitive, and thank you to all on our team who helped make this event run so smoothly. We look forward to working more with the Peabody District in the future!
Filming for LGBQ vignette
On the 24th of March, the NAN Team banded together at the Eliot Community Human Services main office in Lexington to film a vignette for the LGBQ section of our video project, 13 Reasons Why We Need to Talk About Suicide. Here, we converted a room into a restaurant to set the scene for our film. Thank you to all of our Peer Mentors who lended a hand, and to our actors who worked vigorously on making this project a success! We plan to air the completed video project in May, so keep your eyes peeled!
Third Annual SuccessFest
On the 16th of March, the NAN Project was given a time slot in the 3rd annual SuccessFest conference. The workshop we ran was titled "Developing the Conversation around Mental Health in the Classroom." Here, we introduced the NAN Project to all who attended, aired a short video reiterating our mission, and had a handful of our Peer Mentors share their stories and answer questions that were asked of them. Overall, the day was a resounding success! We look forward to keeping in touch with the many new contacts we made, and keep the conversation going!
South Shore VNA Youth Health Connection
On the 7th of March, The NAN Project attended a South Shore VNA Youth Health Connection meeting and was given the chance to introduce itself to many new faces. We were greatly commended by all for our efforts in suicide prevention, mental health advocation, and stigma reduction. This was a large step for us in getting into more schools in the South Shore area. Thank you to everyone who attended, Youth Health Connection members and Peer Mentors alike. With every person who helps in giving strength to our cause, we break down the stigma surrounding mental health challenges and give help to those who may need it.
Q.P.R. in Stoneham High School
Exciting news! At the beginning of March, The NAN Project was given the opportunity to educate the Stoneham High School Peer Leadership Team in the ways of suicide prevention. We began the two day QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training on the 1st, and wrapped it up on the 5th with all 25 Peer Leaders graduating. Now these students will have another set of tools to address any friends and family who might be in crisis to provide them with the hope and access to help they need. Congratulations to all and thank you for your time and enthusiasm!
TEMPO/Wayside Peer Mentor training in Framingham
February 16 - We completed our 9th(!!!) Peer Mentor training at Wayside's TEMPO program on Friday. The young adults developed their own Comeback Stories, underwent QPR suicide prevention training, learned to field awkward questions, brushed up on their presentations skills and much more. Good work guys!
Andover S.T.A.R. Peer Leaders to Museum of Science
On February 8, The NAN Project joined Andover High School's STAR peer leadership team (Students Together Are Resilient) at the Museum of Science to check out the "Many Faces of Mental Health" exhibit. It was great to see the 30 or so students having fun, while learning about mental health.
Peer Mentors present to CATS Academy, Braintree
On Friday, February 1, The NAN Project's Peer Mentors presented to around 50 faculty members at CATS Academy in Braintree. They followed this with a frank discussion about how the Peer Mentors would like to see teachers approach students who are struggling differently. We'll be back to present to the students in the coming months!
January/February - PM Training at Tempo, Framingham
The NAN Project is training another great group of Peer Mentors at Wayside's Tempo program in Framingham Can't wait to see these folks in the schools telling their stories!
January 25 - Raw Art Works in Lynn
Our Night of HOPE at Raw Art Works in Lynn last Thursday evening was amazing! Congratulations to everyone in the HOPE (Helping Other People Endure) Group for pulling off this inspiring evening where they screened a bunch of short films and then hosted a panel discussion about mental health, in front of an audience of 150+!! We couldn't be prouder! They did an outstanding job fielding questions about mental illness, strategies to respond to a peer in crisis, and how they found the strength to talk about their struggles and resiliency! We also had 15 youth serving community organizations attend and distribute information about the resources available to young people and their families in Lynn.
January 12 & 18 - DA Opioid Task Force in Lowell & Medford
Ellen Dalton introduced The NAN Project to the Middlesex District Attorney's Opioid Task Force meetings in Lowell and Medford. DA Marian Ryan has been great about promoting community based organizations as a tool to fight the opioid crisis, which overlaps heavily with mental illness. We made lots of great connections and will continue to spread the word about mental health and the resources available in our communities.
January 10 - Stoneham High School
The NAN Project had a full day of presentations to over 100 students in 5 health classes at Stoneham High School. Great work by Mikes A & C, Kayla, Lizzie and first time presenter, Lexus! After every class, students came up to ask questions and thank these amazing Peer Mentors. Such a fulfilling experience and can't wait to come back for more in the spring.
Thursdays in December - RAW, Lynn
The NAN Project has been working on posters related positive messaging around mental health in preparation for our health fair at Raw Art Works in January. This has been an awesome experience brainstorming ideas, carving images out of linoleum, and learning to work with printing presses. So much fun for such a good cause! Check out some of the examples below.
December 18 - Phoenix Academy, Lawrence
The NAN Project and Jon Mattleman provided an afternoon Professional Development workshops for a group of faculty at Phoenix Academy in Lawrence around the signs and responses to a student who may be in crisis. Jon always does an amazing job at these workshops getting the audience involved and keeping them engaged, even on a Friday afternoon!
December 15 & 18 - Andover
The NAN Project had two full days of presentations to over 200 students in 7 health classes at Andover High School. The students at were incredibly engaged and we had lots of good discussion around how to promote mental health awareness at the school and improve the social-emotional well-being of the student body. Our Peer Mentors get better and better every time they go out and present their Comeback Stories! Great work folks!
December 14 - Peer Mentor Graduation at STEPS
The NAN Project held a graduation for our 8th Peer Mentor class at STEPS in Arlington. This was an enthusiastic group with some amazing Comeback Stories that will really resonate with the students. The intensive 3 day training covered classroom presentation skills, how to field awkward questions, and lots of work on their Comeback Stories. These Peer Mentors also were certified in QPR which covers recognizing the signs and risks of a peer in crisis, and how to get them to the trusted adult and supports they need.
October 12, 17 & November 28 - Andover
The NAN Project just completed a three day QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention training for a group of Peer Leaders at Andover High School. QPR training will provide this group of students with additional tools so they can support their peers in crisis, as well as empower them to better recognize the signs and risks of a student who may be struggling with a mental health concern. We finished the training with a session focused on role playing how to ask The Question- "Are you ok?" "Are you thinking of hurting yourself?" "Have you contemplated suicide?" These young adults did an amazing job with such difficult subject matter.
November 21 - Mass Mental Health Center, Boston
The NAN Project graduated our 7th class of Peer Mentors, this time from a training at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston! With several new school systems asking for our Peer Mentors to come present their comeback stories over the next couple months, these guys will be busy. I can’t wait to get to work with this amazing group and all of our other team members to provide mental health awareness, education and support to students across the Commonwealth.
Thursday, November 16 - Phoenix Academy, Lawrence
The NAN Project's Peer Mentors presented their Comeback Stories to a group of 20 students at Phoenix Academy and opened up a dialogue with them around how to access their mental health supports and develop coping skills. We'll be back in a couple weeks to help set up a Peer Leadership Team to carry out ongoing mental health awareness activities and normalize the conversation!
Thursday, November 2 - Raw Art Works, Lynn
The NAN Project had a full day at Raw Art Works, starting with filming Gladys presenting her incredible spoken word piece for our movie project - 13 Reasons Why We Need To Talk About Suicide. That evening we worked with our amazing group of Peer Mentors on improving their Comeback Stories, as well as acquainting ourselves with the letterpress we will be using for our "Breaking down Stigma" poster campaign.
Thank you to the Essex County Community Foundation for the grant that made possible this project - "There is Help & There is Hope: Mental Health Awareness through Art".
October 6, 20, 27 - YouForward, Lawrence
The NAN Project graduated our 6TH!!! class of Peer Mentors at YouForward in Lawrence. Super excited to work with these young adults as the help open up the conversation around mental health in local classrooms!
October 25 - Mass PRA Conference, Marlborough
The Nan Project workshop on how to improve the conversation around mental health at today’s Mass Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association Conference was received extremely well. Our amazing Peer Mentors did a great job talking about their experiences working in local schools to improve the conversation around mental health. Lots of good feedback and discussion with representatives from the many agencies and schools there.
October 19 - A Night for NAN, Danvers
Thank you so much to everyone who came out to our incredible Night for NAN!!!! It was a wonderful evening punctuated by Ellen Dalton's beautiful intro to The NAN Project, presentations by 3 of our amazing Peer Mentors - Mike, Lizzie and Kayla - followed by some warm words from Senator Joan B. Lovely. The support and love in the room was palpable! Here are some pics, but more are to come.
Thank you to the amazing sponsors that made this evening happen -Danversport, Capital Lease Group, Ltd., Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage, Inc., The MENTOR Network, Ropes & Gray, eHana LLC, Telco Experts, AAFCPAs, Tier1Net Inc., W.B. Mason, Bank of America and KYOCERA Document Solutions America!
Thursday, October 5 & 12 - RAW, Lynn
We have kicked off our new collaboration with RAW in Lynn, a project titled "There is Help & There is Hope: Mental Health Awareness through Art" - an initiative made possible with the support of Essex County Community Foundation. We will be working with this amazing group of young people to promote mental health initiatives throughout the Lynn community by screening movies, encouraging student led awareness campaigns and hosting a mental health fair. We are so excited to be working with this creative, inspiring group for the next several months.
To view older events, visit our ARCHIVED EVENTS page.
If you need help and want to talk to someone, call:
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
For the Crisis Text Line, text "Listen" to 741-741
For the Samaritans, Call or Text (877)870-4673
For immediate crisis evaluation call the Emergency Services Program / Mobile Crisis Intervention at 1-877-382-1609 & enter your zip code; you will get the phone number of the closest ESP/MCI that serves you.
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911