What is the NAN Project?

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people. A recent poll indicated that more than 80% of high school students suffered from or knew a friend who struggled with depression or anxiety. Today’s young people face intense stress AND have limited channels through which to get help. Although a medical condition that can be treated, any form of  mental illness tends to be surrounded by stigma. No one speaks about the invisible frailties of the brain.

  • The NAN Project, created in memory of a young woman who took her life at age 24, is dedicated to raising the conversation about depression and suicide above a whisper.
  • The NAN Project will give communities and schools the forum, tools and resources needed to accept and address depression and suicidality.
  • The NAN Project is committed to creating the information and supports that will allow young people to ask for help and to reach out to one another for support.
  • The NAN Project will deliver a message of hope to those who are struggling and a path to healing for those who are grieving.

 There is help and there is hope!


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Recent events


The NAN Project‘s Peer Mentors presented their Comeback Stories to 8 health classes over two days – 150+ students and then engaged the students in some great discussions on how to improve culture of emotional well-being and turn up the conversation around mental health at AHS. A very rewarding and powerful couple of days, to be followed up by additional mental health awareness activities and suicide prevention training for groups within the school.


Rachely, Mike and Kayla knocked it outta the park today at the 3rd Annual #TeenMentalHealthSummit today! They had the audience captivated and the discussion flowing during The NAN Project’s workshop “Developing a Conversation around Mental Health”.


The NAN Project’s Peer Mentors presented their Comeback Stories to the Student Support Team at West Roxbury Academy, introducing them to The NAN Project and discussing ways to implement our programs throughout the school. They were very receptive, and we will now be providing professional development for the staff around suicide prevention to kick of the upcoming school year!

tuesday april 11, 2017 – Peabody

The NAN Project presented to 6 classes at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School’s Senior Health Day. The students were very open and frank when discussing the additional supports they would like to see within the school and how they find the health center quite helpful. One of the students even shared a poem she had written about her own struggles with mental health challenges. Overall the presentations went extremely well and got the conversation around mental health and emotional well-being started at the High School. A great start to what we hope will be a long-lasting partnership.

THURSDAY MARCH 16 & Friday MARCH 31, 2017 – Acton-Boxborough

The NAN Project presented to over 400 students at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School over a 2 day period. We had great conversations with young people who had wonderful ideas about things they would like to see in their school. Many students were interested in continuing the conversation about mental wellness and The NAN Project will now help them start a Peer Leadership Group within the school. They definitely left with the message that there is help and there is hope!

Wednesday MARCH 22, 2017 – andover

The NAN Project just finished a productive morning working with an amazing group of Peer Leaders at Andover High School. The students had some awesome ideas on how to improve mental health awareness and ensure access to resources for students in need at the high school. This was the first meeting of this group and The NAN Project will be back in April to put together a concrete plan for moving forward. Thank you to all who took part and to Reading Cooperative for funding this initiative.

thursday FEBRUARY 16, 2017 – STONEHAM

The NAN Project had an amazing time at Stoneham High School on Thursday. First we met with a group of student Peer Leaders and made plans for a week of stress reduction activities at the end of the year, and discussed bringing our Peer Mentors to present in the sophomore health classes. Next, we introduced The NAN Project to the entire school staff, and two of our Peer Mentors knocked it out of the park with their Comeback Stories. Great job and awesome enthusiasm from all the students, educators and The NAN Project’s Peer Mentors! We’re excited to head back after the break for more mental health awareness work.


A great job by our Peer Mentors presenting their Comeback Stories to a class of 35 peer leaders at Stoneham High School! Our only problem was that we ran out of time before answering all the students’ questions, so… we’re coming back in 2 weeks! Can’t wait to put together a concrete plan on how to improve the culture of emotional well-being in the school and develop a self sustaining group within the school. Awesome work from 3 of our amazing Peer Mentors – Anna (her first presentation!!), Skylar, and Cory.



It was a full day for two of our superstar Peer Mentors, Skylar and Rachely, with presentations to the guidance and health staff in Westfield and then to the Westfield Youth Coalition! It was a long way to go, but totally worth it. Both groups were blown away by the Comeback Stories, and the discussions after showed the enthusiasm our Peer Mentors can elicit. We’ll be back to Westfield later this spring, hopefully getting into the classrooms to reduce the stigma around mental health concerns and improve the culture of emotional well-being throughout the Westfield schools. Good job Skylar and Rachely!

Thursday December 15, 2016 – lynn

The NAN Project presented an evening of Improving the Culture of Emotional Well-being for our Young Adults at Raw Art Works in Lynn.  Our Peer Mentors told their Comeback Stories to the young adults, their families and members of the community at RAW and had a frank discussion about how to respond to peers that are struggling with a mental health concern. We plan to return in the new year to provide a full QPR training on the signs, risks and responses to someone going through a mental health crisis. RAW is an amazing organization that has provided therapy through art to thousands of youth in the Lynn community for the past 25 years. Learn more about RAW here https://www.facebook.com/RawArtWorks/

friday December 2, 2016 – andover

To close out a busy week, The NAN Project sponsored Jon Mattleman to provide an afternoon of professional development to the entire staff of Andover High School around improving the culture of emotional well-being. He and Ellen did amazing jobs of educating the educators and keeping them engaged, even on a Friday afternoon.

thursday December 1, 2016 – malden

Another busy day for The NAN Project’s Peer Mentors, this time at Malden High School. These guys spent the afternoon working with a group of students brainstorming how to improve emotional well being in the school and promote the mental health resources available to students. Awesome job by both the Peer Mentors to get the conversation going and the students who took that conversation and ran with it. Can’t wait to go back next week!

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 8, 2016 – everett

The NAN Project provided a 4 hour training for the Everett School System’s Health and PE staff around mental health awareness. We started the morning with an introduction to The NAN Project and a discussion around what the school system is currently doing to promote the emotional well-being of their students. This was followed by a QPR training (Question, Persuade, Refer) which educates participants on the signs and responses to suicidal behavior, as well as how to ask the difficult question of someone who might be at risk. Finally, our Peer Mentors once again captivated the audience with their Comeback Stories…you could hear a pin drop during the presentations. The staff were incredibly impressed with these young people and the courage they showed. We hope our next step here will be into the classrooms to address the students directly, and after this workshop, we have no doubt that the attendees will be amongst our biggest champions in this push.

Please visit our NEWS & EVENTS PAGE to learn more about The NAN Project’s ongoing activities and upcoming happenings!

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