Though schools are our focus, there is a lot more The NAN Project has been up to! As the warmer months approach, we find that the amount of Conferences we attend increases. Between this yearly Conference Circuit and various trainings, we have kept ourselves very busy.
Back on March 16 (wow that seems like ages ago!), The NAN Project’s Peer Mentors hosted a workshop titled Developing the Conversation around Mental Health in the Classroom at the 3rd Annual SuccessFest. We were able to introduce The NAN Project and a handful of our Peer Mentors shared their stories of resiliency after struggles with Self-Harm, Depression, and Anxiety, and then answered questions while facilitating a panel discussion. We also discussed different strategies around how to open the doors to schools and get them talking about mental health and emotional wellbeing.
At the beginning of April, 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. Here, Jon did an amazing job engaging the audience and providing some useful tips on what teenagers are really thinking, what they fear, and how adults can effectively support them. This workshop covered areas such as depression, suicide, substance abuse, and more. Our goal is to be back at Westfield High School next year to introduce our Peer Mentors to the student body, and keep this conversation going!
Over three intensive days in early April, The NAN Project held a New Peer Mentor Training at the YouForward drop-in center for youth up in Lawrence. This dedicated group of 10 young people were taught how to craft their past experiences into strength-based stories to help inspire hope in students. They also were certified in the nationally acclaimed suicide prevention program Q.P.R. (Question, Persuade, Refer), and were helped to develop more confidence in public speaking. We then held a Coaching day on April 20 to help these New Peer Mentors further develop their Comeback Stories, and to reinforce their communication skills. Thank you to all of our wonderful graduates, and congratulations on your new role as Peer Mentors for The NAN Project!
The NAN Project led a workshop at the annual Teen Mental Health Summit titled Developing A Conversation Around Mental Health in late April. Here, we showed our introductory video, had a few of our Peer Mentors share their stories, then led a discussion around what Mental Illness looks like in Young Adults. We had a great response by the 50 or so students and teachers in the crowd.
In early May, The NAN Project’s Cory, Mike, and Elli teamed up with Belle Cole at the DMH’s Provider Conference to lead a discussion about the video projects we have worked on together in response to a certain Netflix series – her project 13 Reasons to Fly and ours 13 Reasons Why We Need To Talk About Suicide. We then showed a few clips from each of our videos, and led a Q&A regarding the goals of these short films and how they can be utilized in a classroom setting. Later that same day, we premiered our full movie at a Mass Suicide Prevention Conference workshop with 120 or so attendees. To read more about that video, check out this other post HERE.
The NAN Project also tabled at the DMH Future Forum Resource Fair on May 4, at UMass Boston. Here, we did some networking and supported our colleagues in Gathering and Inspiring Future Talent (GIFT) with their presentation. We also were in Salem a week later tabling at the Salem High School Health Fair, using The NAN Project’s own Jeopardy board to draw in students and educate them on facts about mental health and coping skills.
On May 17, The Stoneham Substance Abuse Coalition invited us to speak at Let’s Talk About It, a community workshop headlined by Representative Michael Day from Stoneham. At the meeting, Ellen Dalton introduced The NAN Project, and had a few of our Peer Mentors present their Comeback Stories. After Q&A, we facilitated a discussion about what would be helpful to the students in the community in terms of support. This event was held in the wake of the tragic suicide of a young man earlier in 2018.
Thank you to all of our Supporters who made this past season so successful, the busier we are, the more people’s voices can be heard. We look forward to continue our quest to promote Suicide Awareness and Emotional Wellbeing!