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JONAH launching Green Bandana Project



The JONAH (Joining Our Neighbors, Advancing Hope) Mental Health Task Force (MHTF) is launching the Green Bandana Project (GBP) throughout the Chippewa Valley. We invite any person in the Chippewa Valley to wear or carry a bandana.

The GBP is designed to help support people experiencing a mental health episode or condition. The GBP is designed to help people who are living with mental illness become more aware of resources available in the community. It is also designed to reduce stigma around mental illness through its visibility of support.

The GBP began in 2016 on the campus of University of Wisconsin Madison and has spread throughout universities across the United States, including UW-Eau Claire, as well as to other communities.


The purpose of the bandana project, similar to breast cancer’s pink ribbon, is to create a visual awareness for, and to show how many people support/struggle with, mental health," said Lynn Buske, JONAH Organizer and current chair of the MHTF.


"Additionally, bandana wearers have access to a webpage that connects them immediately to support and allows them to connect others to that support – we can ALL start practicing being a welcoming and supportive. Being present and available may be what someone needs in a moment of crisis.”


Lime Green is the color used for awareness in mental health. Green symbolizes the continual awareness of mental health in order to help fight the stigma that is often associated with it.


“A green bandana represents a way to work against the stigma around mental health conditions and reinforces solidarity in promoting awareness," said Barb Habben with National Alliance on Mental Illness - Chippewa Valley. "It’s a signal to let someone know they can reach out to talk about difficult emotions and ask for help finding resources.”

The bandana indicates that the community member with it:

  • Is a safe person to approach with a mental health-related issue.

  • Knows where resources are (cards with a link to resources is given with every bandana).

  • Pledges to seek help if they experience a mental health crisis.

The MHTF goals for this project include:

  1. Raise mental health awareness.

  2. Help people overcome the stigma of mental illness.

  3. Create a community of peer-to-peer support shifting the culture of whole communities from fear and isolation to compassion and mutual respect.


“Our hope is that this project gets people talking about mental health," said Buske.

The MHTF formed a year ago by JONAH in order to serve the following purposes:

  1. Listen to the community on their views about the state of mental health in the Chippewa Valley.

  2. Increase community engagement by making connections with people with a special interest in this social justice issue.

  3. Work on upstream efforts to improve mental health in the Chippewa Valley.

  4. Speak publicly at community events on issues in mental health and to share personal stories.

  5. Provide a mental health directory outlining the resources available in the area.

  6. Advocate for Certified Peer Specialists to be made available at all entry points to the mental health system.

  7. JONAH members wanted to hear from the community the state of mental health locally, build a relational group of support by being open and inclusive, and work on upstream efforts to improve.

The MHTF includes people from all walks of life including mental health professionals, those with lived experience, faith-based organizations, partner organizations doing work related to mental health (in all three counties), and people invested in furthering opportunities for those that suffer from a mental health condition.

Dustin Van Sloten, a task force member, alerted the MHTF to the GBP project concept, as UW Eau Claire campus has been doing it for a few years. The team then decided to support that initiative by bringing to our larger area.

Thanks to the generous financial support from JONAH, Mayo Health System, and Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) St Joseph’s Hospital, the task force purchased hundreds of bandanas to be given freely to people who wish to serve people experiencing a mental health condition. After getting JONAH churches and the general community connected with bandanas, they hope to get the green bandana project into local schools.

“It’s amazing how many partners are already interested in helping spread this effort – imagine walking through our communities and seeing a green bandana on everyone as a sign of support! All it takes is people signing the pledge and making the bandana visible somewhere on their person," says Buske.

Bandana Locations:

  1. JONAH Office - Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Fridays from 9am-12:30pm. 505 S Dewey St Suite 204, Eau Claire, WI.

  2. At the Roots (Peer Support Center) By Appointment. 800 Wisconsin St Bldg 2 Suite 301, Eau Claire, WI.

  3. NAMI Chippewa Valley – Monday-Thursday, 8:30am-1:00pm. 800 Wisconsin St., Mailbox 88, Building #2D, Suite 420F, Eau Claire, WI.

  4. EC City County Health Department – Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm, 720 2nd Ave Eau Claire, WI 54703

  5. Kaleidoscope Center – Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 11am-5pm; Wednesdays from 9am-3pm; Fridays from 10am-12pm. City Hall Building 800 Wilson Ave, Menomonie, WI.

  6. Menomonie Public Library – 600 Wolske Bay Rd, Menomonie, WI.

  7. Dunn County Human Services – 3001, Hwy 12 E (Main Level, Community Services Bldg).

  8. 12 locations in Chippewa County are in progress – contact Melissa Ives melissa.Ives@hshs.org.

  9. LE Philips Library - Short term display – May 1-July 1, 2023.

  10. Contact JONAH! Email: communications.jonah@gmail.com with the subject: ‘bandana please,’ or call 715-497-8732.

If your group, location, church, or organization is interested in being a resource for others, if you want to become more involved, or are interested in financially supporting the Green Bandana Project please contact JONAH at cvjonahorganizer@gmail.com. For more information visit www.jonahjustice.org/mental-health.

Partners: JONAH, Mental Health Action Teams in Chippewa, Eau Claire Counties, Health Dunn Right, At the Roots, NAMI, Milkweed, Tri-County Suicide Prevention Workgroup

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