As many of you know, May is National Mental Health Awareness month. But did you know that we have an organization here at Think Tank that focuses primarily on ending the stigma associated with mental health issues? Meet Julia Hansen and Suzanne Fox, who run The Yellow Tulip Project.
Think Tank: Tell us a little bit about how The Yellow Tulip Project got started.
The Yellow Tulip Project: As a 16 year old high school student, Julia Hansen launched The Yellow Tulip Project.
The Yellow Tulip Project came into being after two of Julia’s closest friends took their own life within four months. Determined to do something positive to bring awareness to mental illness, The Yellow Tulip Project is meant to let people know that “Hope Happens”.
TT: Why is it important to speak out about mental health?
YTP: It normalizes the conversation and helps let people feel less alone. If talking about mental health were as common as talking about physical health, we believe less people will feel alone and more inclined to get the help that they need.
TT: You currently have an art exhibition showing at Speedwell Projects entitled, I am More: Facing Stigma. Can you talk about stigma, and why it’s important to address that in particular?
YTP: Stigma is connected to the shame and isolation that keeps people from reaching out for help. There are expectations on us on how we are supposed to look and feel. Sometimes we don’t feel okay and that is okay too. The artist statement and exhibit will be up at Speedwell Projects through May 12th.
TT: How can people help spread your positive message and impact the community positively as a whole?
YTP: There are several ways to help! Here are just a few:
1. Help us spread message of YTP by sharing our FB page with more people so more folks learn about us.
2. Participate in community Hope Garden ceremonies.
3. Help bring our message to more schools in Maine and beyond (we’re building our Ambassador network to more and more schools).
4. Donate so we have funds to continue our work in stigma reduction and community building.
5. Come to any of our community events (on our FB page and website).