October 11, 2023
Woburn Student Mental Health Roundtable
We’d like to express huge gratitude to State Senator Cindy Friedman , Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh, Executive Office of Health and Human Services Human Resources and all of the fantastic students and staff at Woburn Memorial High School who participated in our roundtable discussion for Suicide Prevention Month this September! We had an extremely productive conversation about the mental health of students. WMHS students got to have their voices be heard by state officials as they discussed what they feel could be changed for the better. Once again, thank you to everyone who made this wonderful event possible.
To read more about the roundtable, check out this Boston Globe article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/…/education-secretary…/
October 6, 2023
Hispanic Heritage Month and Our Spanish Programming

Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 this year. The U.S. government celebrates the countless contributions of more than 60 million Hispanic Americans, Latinos, Latinas, and Latinx-identifying people to our society.

The theme for 2023 is “Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America,” highlighting the contributions of Hispanics to the economic, political, and social growth of the United States.

Everyone faces adversity and mental health challenges. Within the Hispanic community 22% of people report mental health challenges. That is a lot of people especially considering mental health challenges are often viewed as a weakness within the community often leading to people less likely to reach out for support. Those who do reach out to support face barriers such as language barriers, therapists who are not culturally competent, and insurance issues.

Our Newest Spanish-Speaking Peer Mentors at their Graduation


The NAN Project has recently begun implementing hispanic voices into our mental health programming to combat this stigma. This year we had five Spanish-speaking and two bilingual peer mentors train and graduate to work with The NAN Project and tell their inspiring stories of mental health struggles! We were thrilled to welcome these Spanish speaking peer mentors to our team as they help us to better expand our reach into diverse communities. In October alone, we already have five foreign language presentations lined up! For example, this week at Keverian Middle School in Everett, MA we presented to a class and shared Comeback stories in both Spanish and Portuguese.

Spanish Language Presentation in Everett, MA

Mental health can be especially stigmatized in hispanic communities, therefore it is extremely important to us that our programming is multiculturally accessible. During our spanish speaking presentations, we have noticed that students connect much more with the topic of mental health when the stories and struggles are told in their native language. We look forward to continuing to build upon our spanish language programming and are excited to offer hispanic youth the chance to explore their feelings and emotions surrounding mental health. 


Some Hispanic based mental health supports are:


Hispanic Clinical Services in Lawrence MA


Cass Esperanza in Boston MA

The American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry

Therapy for LatinX


Some of the events coming up locally to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month are:


Friday Oct. 6, 2023 

6-10 pm

Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration Fundraiser 


Fri, Oct 6, 7:30 – 8:30 PM

40 Academy Hill Rd, Brighton, MA

For children ages 7-12, they will learn the basics of poetry writing and will share their poems with the group; led by Boston Youth Poet Laureate Alondra Bobadilla


Thu, Oct 26, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Boston Public Library – Central Library

700 Boylston St, Boston, MA

For the month of October, Special Collections will be highlighting items in our collections from Hispanic creators for National Hispanic Heritage Month. Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month


Fri, Oct 13, 8 – 10 AM

Union Station Grand Hall

2 Washington Sq, Worcester, MA

Presented by CENTRO Inc., The Institute of Latino Art & Culture invites you to their 4th Annual Central Mass Hispanic Heritage Breakfast


September 29, 2023
Finding Help

With a new school year comes new and renewed stressors…many find themselves overwhelmed with school, grades, activities, tests, friends, home responsibilities, and how to juggle all that. Some kids have great coping skills already, some are developing ones, some are very independent, and some need help. Sometimes its just about figuring out what kind of help you want or need. It could be extra help at school or a therapist.  Determining if you want help and what kind of help you’re looking for is the first step.

The next step is finding “your people” which is vital for being able to get the help you want or need. That looks different for different people. Sometimes it’s a peer group, family, teachers, mental health professionals, or doctors. The main thing that is important is finding them. A great place to start is in your family, doctors office, and school. Teachers and school counselors are amazing resources to utilize and can open up a ton of other possibilities. A school counselor or primary care doctor can get you linked to resources you might need out of school hours. They can put in referrals to therapists, peer mentors, support groups, and they can help you have discussions with your family on accessing these things.

A lot of students really worry about how they are going to financially get the help they need. If that is a problem the professionals already in your life (i.e. school counselors and doctors) would hopefully be able to point you in the direction of some free services or sliding scale services. They are out there, they do exist, it’s finding them.

A free resource that can help locate the correct services needed in Massachusetts and in over 200 languages is the Mass Help Line which you can call or text at 833-773-2445, open 24/7. Accessing resources can be a daunting challenge especially when you’re already overwhelmed. However, finding “your people” is a great first step in taking care of you.

September 28, 2023
Transportation Day

Last week, the NAN Project hosted a “Learning Public Transportation” day for some of our peer mentors. The initiative of the event was to aid our local peer mentors in learning how to get around to different areas of Massachusetts using public transport. Overall the day was a huge success with lots of smiles and CharlieCards! Thank you to all who participated

September 25, 2023
The NAN Project Billboard

If you take the I-93 this month, make sure to be on the look out for our new Nan Project billboard! We recently partnered with Pebbles of Strength for Suicide Prevention month to spread awareness about mental health and our nonprofit. This suicide prevention month, let’s spread hope through action!

September 19, 2023
Creative Prep for Night for NAN

Over the past two weeks, our peer mentors have been dedicating their time to working on the centerpieces for the Night for Nan event happening October 19th! Can you guess what the final project is going to be? Be sure to come to A Night For Nan to see the culmination of all of this creativity!

September 14, 2023
Suicide Prevention Month – Knowing the Warning Signs

Suicide Prevention Month begins September 1st of each year, yet it is always something that should be talked about. Here at the NAN Project with every school we go into and with every presentation given, we go over the steps on how to notice someone is struggling and what to do. Some of the examples students have cited as signs that someone is struggling with their mental health and may be considering suicide are:

  • Hygiene changes
  • Mood changes
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep changes
  • Isolation
  • Giving away cherished items
  • Changes to physical appearance
  • Use of substances


You have the ability to help someone struggling, whether you are a professional mental health worker, student, teacher, friend, family member. The biggest way to help someone you know is struggling is to talk about it with that person, with a trusted adult, or with someone who has more knowledge on what steps to take. Did you know that “90% of suicides there is an underlying, treatable mental disorder”? That means there is help available, often times people struggle to know how to access that help. Some things you can do if you are struggling or if you know someone struggling:


  • Go to trusted adult
  • Seek advice on services (guidance counselor, school nurse, police station, crisis text or phone line, local emergency room)
  • Listen to the person struggling/be there for them


“Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks after them in a caring way. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation.”

Resources for Suicide Prevention

CDC National HIV and AIDS Hotline
(800) 232-4636

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
(800) 422-4453

Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741

Disaster Distress Helpline Online Peer Support Communities

Disaster Distress Helpline Videophone for American Sign Language Users (PDF, 180KB)

National Eating Disorders Association

National Grad Crisis Line
(877) 472-3457

National Sexual Assault Hotline
(800) 656-4673

National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
988  Chat online

National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (options for deaf and hard of hearing)
For TTY Users: Use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988
Chat online

Samaritans – Preventing Suicide, Providing Hope (samaritanshope.org)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline
(800) 662-4357

Teen Line Text 839863 or Call (800) 852-8336


LGBTQ Resources:

LGBT National Hotline (888) 843-4564

LGBT Youth Hotline (800) 246-7743

Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860)  

Trevor Project 

September 11, 2023
Peer Mentor Graduation in Lawrence

Today we’re sending out a huge congratulations to our newest crew of peer mentors. This fantastic group had their graduation from peer mentor training in Lawrence at YouForward last week! We can’t wait to see them become great leaders in the field of mental health awareness

September 7, 2023
The NAN Project meets Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley

At the Eliot Family Resource Center Back To School Event, The NAN Project got to meet Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who generously came to support the family resource center! The event was a huge success and provided us with a great opportunity to connect with local families and community members about mental health awareness. Huge thank you to everyone who gave our table a visit!

Back to School: A Guide for Educators on Mental Health

Educators are not mental health professionals, but that does not mean they should not be mental health educated because: 

  • 1 in 6 American aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
  • 50% of all mental health conditions begin by age 14
  • 50–80% of school-aged children do not receive the mental health care they need

Mental health issues in a student often do impact a students performance in school so teachers, principals, guidance counselors, paraprofessionals, spend a lot of time with students and are often the first to notice when something might be off. There are some telltale signs that something might be going on with a student with mental health issues. Some of those tell-tale signs are: 

  • Hygiene changes
  • Mood changes
  • Different circle of friends
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Isolation
  • Appetite changes
  • Withdrawal
  • Grade changes
  • Late assignments
  • Skipping classes


 There are also some not so subtle signs. Some students may appear overly happy, overly enthusiastic, perfectionist…those kids are often the ones that mental health issues are missed or not taken as seriously. All signs and symptoms of mental health should be taken seriously and directed towards the guidance counselor, adjustment counselor, school nurse, or principal.

Another really important part of mental health in schools is talking about it, not shying away from it, and promoting a safe space for students to share concerns with trusted adults. Someone within the school, most commonly the guidance counselors, know how to access the local crisis support and mental health services in the area. One way professionals can build skills and confidence discussing mental health with students would be by attending mental health training, learning, using, and teaching positive behaviors and decision making skills, encouraging other professionals to attend training..

There are lots of resources out there for teachers and other educators to learn more about mental health in students and how to become more confident in identifying it in students. Some of those resources which offer trainings, webinars, and  general information are: 


TheNANProject – Saving Lives One Story At a Time 

Professional & Emotional Development for Teachers – FuelEd (fueledschools.org) 

Student Mental Health Toolkit | Stigma-Free Society

For Educators | SAMHSA

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