Mental Health Update – Keep Talking, by Lynn Buske

Our Mental Health Task Force is working to keep our Green Bandana Project in people’s hearts and minds so it continues to work and grow. Here’s your reminder to WEAR YOUR BANDANA PROUDLY EVERYDAY!

Why Wear Your Bandana

Folks have shared with us that wearing it and remembering to wear it every day is difficult. But even so, there are many reasons it is important to go out of your way to wear your bandana. 

  1. So those who are currently struggling can see support. 
  2. To show others that you promise to seek help if you’re struggling. 
  3. The project won’t work if we all don’t wear them – we can’t rely on others.

I recently learned another reason…

Our family experienced a loss of someone close to us due to substance misuse. While my spouse and I talked through some of what we were feeling, I realized part of why I wear my bandana is in honor of all those people who couldn’t ask for help because of stigma or addiction and were lost to the world. So, please also wear your bandana daily…

  1. For those who didn’t have the resources they needed and were lost because of their mental illness.


Combating stigma takes a whole community. Our task force recently had a guest speaker from WISE – the Wisconsin Institute for Stigma Elimination. My big takeaway from that was the understanding that all the stigma people carry was given to them by another person or society. We don’t naturally stigmatize ourselves – it comes from outside influence. Our communities need to be a powerful influence of anti-stigma to transform deeply-mbedded narratives that have harmed people so they feel they cannot ask for help. How can you, with the words you use, be part of reducing that stigma in the people around you?

GBP Facebook Group

One way JONAH’s Mental Health Task Force is working to create this powerful outside influence is through social media. We have developed a Facebook Group ( for people to connect with other bandana wearers and share messages and opportunities. Check it out! We hope you’ll participate! 


Whether you have a bandana or not, we know people are worried they don’t feel qualified to offer someone support and/or they find the bandana difficult to wear daily. We are working to address this, too! We are developing our own training for people to bridge these barriers. It will be a short training that we can duplicate all over the Chippewa Valley and even let churches do  on their own. After a series of these trainings, we intend to offer in-depth training on how to be an emotional support person with specific listening skills. This training is called Emotional CPR. Several of our task force members took this training and are excited to bring a 2.5-hour training here. Our hope is that our short trainings will grow interest for people so they want to take the 2.5-hour course.

Now more than ever, in this world of unrest and divide, we have to be there for each other!

Looking forward, we are starting a process to build a toolkit that schools can use, and we continue to seek grant funding to bring the green bandana project and peer mental health resources to rural communities. We’d love it if you will be a part of that process. Please wear your bandanas and tell everyone you know why it is so important. If you have been impacted by mental health issues, please consider adding your voice to our task force by contacting [email protected].