Naren Narasimhan, junior marketing and sports media and communications major, aims to make the topic of mental health more visible. It’s why he leads the Green Bandana Project at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and why he hands out green bandanas.
The project is a nationwide initiative to educate and equip students with resources for addressing mental health concerns. By tying a green bandana to your backpack, you signal that you’re someone who can support and guide those needing mental health resources.
On campus, along with the green bandana, you also receive a card that lists all the mental health resources available at Nebraska.
“The idea is for students to see you as a mental health ally — for students experiencing mental health issues to know that you will be supportive of them and are capable of giving them the resources they need,” Narasimhan, of Omaha, said.
Watching friends struggle with the transition into college — and experiencing struggles of his own — left Narasimhan inspired to take up the mantle of the Green Bandana Project. He first heard about the project and got involved as a first-year student in Freshman Campus Leaders Associates in Nebraska's student government. Now, as an Association of Students of the University of Nebraska (ASUN) senator for the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, Narasimhan is working to make the project well-known around campus.
“Let’s say we get 50% of campus with green bandanas on their backpacks,” Narasimhan said. “Then, everyone knows what it means and in future years, students will understand that these resources exist for them to find help.”
That means passing out a lot of bandanas and knowing that every single one helps — even if indirectly.
“We’re trying our best to have every new student know what it means, or at least have them walk up to someone and ask, ‘I see all these green bandanas on backpacks, what do those mean?'” Narasimhan said.
For more information on mental health resources for students, faculty and staff at Nebraska, visit: https://studentaffairs.unl.edu/mental-health-resources.