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 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 (

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 7, 2023
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 ( 

Student Mental Health Toolkit | Stigma-Free Society

For Educators | SAMHSA

August 25, 2023
Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness are something a lot of people struggle with, they hear someone tell them to do it and it seems boring or hard or impossible. The key is finding a meditation or mindfulness practice that works for you. For some people that looks like listening to relaxing music, for others it means a bubble bath with candles, yoga, focused breathing, listening to a guided meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation. You might be wondering though, what does any of that actually do for me? With meditation you are slowing down and becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. That is the whole point…to slow down from your daily life and take some time to just be. 

Some tips on how to do that are to slow down and pay attention to your surroundings, your thoughts, feelings, all using your five senses. Accept any thought of feeling that may come up for what it is without question and focus on your breath. These steps are important in any kind of meditation you may choose to participate in. 

Meditation and mindfulness can be practiced on a daily basis, or weekly, or monthly. However you can fit it into your schedule with what works in your life.  Below are some tips for slipping it in when you simply do not have time. Practicing some kind of mindfulness and meditation is better than not doing it at all. If you’re having a hard time getting into it, start with once a week for 5 or 10 minutes, and build on that. There is no way to do it wrong, it is whatever and however you personally can slow down and observe.

Source: VeryWell Mind


According to the Mayo Clinic there are so many mental and physical health benefits to mindfulness and meditation including the reduction of

  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Asthma
  • Fibromyalgia symptoms
  • Improve attention
  • Decrease job burnout
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve diabetes control

Source: The Kewl Shop

August 18, 2023
Self Care…We ALL Need it!!

Whether you struggle with mental health or not, self care is such an important part of daily living. Self care offers every single person who partakes in it the chance to reset themselves, to do something they enjoy doing, something for them in a world where we are constantly giving and giving and giving to other people or other responsibilities.

Self care is different for everyone. What I might consider self care you might not, and that is okay. Self care is whatever you deem helpful for your mental and physical health. 

Here are some examples of self care:

going for a walk, reading a book, journaling, calling a friend or family member, taking a bath or a shower, spending time in nature, spending time with people you care about, playing with a pet, yoga, doing a puzzle, playing a video game, whatever you feel centers you. 

 Now while these are all self care aspects there’s also the aspect of just keeping up with your day to day hygiene, which can be a huge self care step for a lot of people,especially those struggling with mental health. Setting up a self-care routine can be a challenge. You have all of these ideas and it’s just figuring out how to implement them in your daily life. One thing I found works really well especially with kids, teens, and young adults is a self care bingo board.

Basically, you make a bingo board and fill it in with self care items. Then you aim to get a bingo every week. And maybe if you get a bingo, you get a bonus, self-care thing. Maybe it’s a coffee from Starbucks, maybe it’s going to a movie, going to your favorite park, or buying yourself something that you’ve really wanted, but that’s a way to help motivate you and loved ones to integrate self-care into your daily life. Some people schedule self care in their planners, some people set a certain time each day for self-care. However, you can figure out to implement self-care into at least if not a daily, a weekly routine is so important for your physical and mental well-being.  

 In the article How and Why to Practice Self Care put out by the Mental Health First-aid Organization they found studies showing that “Engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, reduce stress, increase happiness, and more.” To me that sounds like something worth trying.

Here’s a handy checklist you can use to check in with yourself and your loved ones about mental health before the big return to school this fall:


August 11, 2023
A Re-Introduction to The NAN Project Blog

Welcome to the NAN Project

If you’re new here you might be wondering What is the NAN Project? The NAN Project came about following the tragic death of Nan, who took her own life after battling depression, anxiety, and OCD from a very young age and with very limited professional support. Nan’s family wanted to help young people feel less alone and less scared of speaking up. So they developed a peer to peer model to reach students, teachers, and emergency responders. The peer to peer model has young people with lived experience sharing their stories of mental health and shows that life can get better, with the hope to relate to young people. During presentations students are given resources and education on what to do if they or a friend is struggling.

Now that you know what the NAN project is all about we’d like to expand our messaging across social media.We have had social media accounts since the beginning, however with the onboarding of new staff we will be revamping all of our social media accounts. To do that we’ve put together a social media team, Shannon, Rachel, Kylee, and Fantasia (all pictured below!). They will be working to manage our blog, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Linkedin accounts. 

We have some ideas, but would love to hear from you guys and what you want to hear about. So if you have an idea please head over to our socials and send us a message or comment!

Until next week have a safe and peaceful week!






X (formerly Twitter lol):


Tik Tok:


Blog on website:

June 2, 2023
Peer Mentor Aiden DeCaro collaborates with Amy Kerr on “I Am More Collection”

We are so excited to share a new piece in Amy Kerr’s “I Am More” collection made in collaboration with our Peer Mentor Aiden!

Even though it is not the case now, I am no stranger to feeling less than. A lifetime of dealing with the fallout of mental illness has left me with many moments I’ve felt hollow or broken. Now though, a few years into genuine recovery, I can finally say I know what it’s like to feel whole. It’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs that I’m still on today, but I can say with certainty that I have found hope and peace through my symptoms.
My first experience struggling with my mental health was in elementary school when I began feeling paralyzing stress that made it difficult to stay in class. Up until this point, I enjoyed school. I loved learning new things and was excited even then to attend college in what seemed like a lifetime away. Through school I discovered my passion for drawing and delighted in all opportunities it gave me to be creative. Art class was always the highlight of my week. Even with all that I liked about school, I began feeling sick during classes. Constant nausea followed me throughout social situations, a lead ball churning in my stomach and chest that left me scared and choking on my words. By 6th grade I was regularly attending therapy, where I learned that this feeling had a name: social anxiety.
My diagnosis left me conflicted. On one hand, it was a relief to know there was a reason I felt this way, that maybe it could be treated and I wouldn’t be stuck in this constant state of fight or flight forever. On the other, it felt sort of hopeless. I spent so much time trying to figure out what caused me to feel this way, and to find out that it was something inherent to me made me feel broken. I searched for the rationality behind it, only to learn that anxiety disorders are, by nature, often irrational. My anxiety did not listen to reason, even as it was named and attempted to be treated. Instead, it spiraled as my symptoms worsened into depression.
At age 12 I was hospitalized for the first time after expressing suicidal ideation to a school counselor. I felt overwhelmed by everything in my life to the point of wishing I could just disappear from it. This began years of being in and out of mental health counseling. Therapists, hospitals, and partial programs all began blurring together as I spent weeks at a time away from home and school. New diagnoses began cluttering paperwork handed from hospital to hospital. Generalized anxiety, treatment-resistant depression, and PTSD all became facets of my identity. Every treatment seemed to have merit for a short time, but almost all made little progress in alleviating my symptoms long-term.
In the uncertain gaps between treatments, my grades suffered and my mornings were almost always a struggle between my mom and I over whether I would get out of bed and attend school. When I did attend classes, I didn’t have trouble with academics, even acting as a tutor to younger students at one point. Even though I knew I was capable of passing, I began failing most of my classes as middle school progressed. Over and over my teachers would ask me with pity why I wasn’t applying myself, and over and over I felt I had no answer for them. I felt as though I was trapped in a fish bowl, my family and teachers standing outside and telling me to swim up as I just laid down and drowned. Accommodations were put in place but ultimately proved fruitless as I spent most days out of class, even on the ones I dragged myself to school.
Throughout all of this though, drawing remained a constant for me. Whether at home or using supplies that had to be locked up at the end of the night in hospitals, I would draw how I felt. At this time, much of my art felt dark. Everything in my life felt out of control, including my thoughts, but art gave me an outlet to express them healthily. Many of my drawings depicted figures adorned in pink and purple marker bruises, something I can now read into as expressing my feeling of being broken.
I felt like a wounded animal, one that not only stood no chance of keeping up with my peers but who also lashed out and behaved inappropriately out of fear. Frequent meltdowns made it hard to make friends and pushed me even further into the feeling of isolation as the gaps between hospital programs became shorter and shorter. At some points, I would spend more time away from home than in it.
All of this is to say, my permanent withdrawal from school at age 15 did not come as a surprise. Though still plagued by frequent panic attacks and depressive episodes, I was hopeful that without the stress of school I would finally be able to fully devote myself to treatment. It was around this time that I was able to name a source of grief that had been contributing to my instability for years: a period of grooming and sexual assault that had occurred when I was 13. A weight was lifted off my chest as I was finally able to receive trauma-specific therapy. For the first time, it felt that things were looking up, therapy was working and I began to enjoy parts of life again. Another source of hope was that soon I would be old enough to begin a program working towards my GED, a representation of a new beginning in my mind.
In March 2020, I turned 16 a week into lockdown. Cautious optimism toward a new beginning turned again into hopelessness as my GED program announced it would be fully closed until COVID-19 case numbers dropped. The last few months of my life had been spent at home, largely inside, and almost always alone. I didn’t mind this at first, especially when I was fresh out of school and didn’t have to deal with the associated social pressure. This isolation was intended to be temporary though, having a specific end that was not far out of reach. I was looking forward to the change that was coming in my life and was now being told that everything was going to remain as it had, friendless, isolated, and stuck. Long gone were the dreams of college that I had during my childhood, I was sure I had no future.
I spent New Year’s of 2021 three weeks into a month-long hospitalization after a suicide attempt. The alone time I had so desperately craved during my time in school proved itself hopeless rather than peaceful. I could not imagine my life moving forward and was resigned to feeling burdensome, friendless, and miserable. Even after my discharge that month, I felt unable to see a happy future. I would spend almost every night sneaking out of my house around midnight, feeling as though I would suffocate if I spent any more time inside. I would wander through the streets of my hometown, snow falling softly and silently around me. I wondered why I had spent so much time inside when there was so much beauty around me. I would sit on the docks and look out to the water, thinking for the first time, there is so much more than this.
The next day I attended a group at a local teen center, one that had recently reopened as the pandemic’s current effect began to lessen. Anxious and still contemplating this decision as I opened the door, I sat down and introduced myself. I did not expect this to be my new beginning, I had learned not to get my hopes up about things changing, but sometimes things change for the good as rapidly as they tend to devolve. I spent that night at the docks, snow still falling silently but this time it swirled around more than just myself. I was invited out by a group of teenagers my age who had known each other for far longer than I had kept any friends. We kept in touch over the coming months and for the first time in my life, I felt true belonging.
This belonging brought hope and change, a certainty that even if these friends weren’t forever, they were here now and they were out there. By definition, giving up hope makes it seem like finding hope will be much harder than it often is. I learned that there is always a path forward, there is always a new beginning, and that there truly is more out there than you may be expecting. I’m still close with the friends I made that day, and I will always be grateful for their role in teaching me this lesson. By the time my 17th birthday came that March, my life felt so distant from what it had been just a year ago. I spent that night sharing cake with my friends and feeling more grateful than they will ever know.
A lot has changed since that night when I first found true hope. Along with new social support, I’ve found meaningful treatment through therapy and medication that I consider life-saving. I’m 19 now and have since graduated from my GED program, even having the opportunity to present a speech at our graduation. I have since spent time interning at the same access center, YOUnity Drop In Center in Gloucester, MA, that completely changed my life just a few years ago, running therapeutic art groups for teenagers that I often saw a younger version of myself in. I’m proud to now work at a mental health awareness and suicide prevention organization, The NAN Project. There I use my lived experiences to help inspire middle and high schoolers through their own challenges. I am excited to begin my freshman year of college this fall, where I’ll be majoring in psychology. I have found purpose through helping others and hope to become a therapist and advocate for mental health community services to further this goal.
My passion for art has persisted as maybe the one true constant throughout my life, and I am happy to still be drawing and painting today. Even now I find it easier to express myself through creativity than anything else. Today my style is an amalgamation of every style it has taken to express my past emotions, as well as ones I find when navigating new ones.
It has taken a long time and a lot of pain to be where I am now, and I know I will never be completely rid of my symptoms, but I finally feel that I am so much more than my diagnoses and the years I spent battling them. I am more than the nights I spent hopeless and feeling trapped in my own head. I am more than I used to be because my experiences have built me into the person I am today. Through my past, I have learned compassion, determination, and a firm belief that there is always hope in dark times. I am a friend, a family member, a leader, an artist, and now strive to be a source of hope.
“Aiden” by Amy Kerr and Aiden DeCaro, 2023. Colored pencil and acrylic on paper, 24x34in.
May 23, 2023
TNP Provides New Student Supports


The NAN Project is proud to offer a new program to the community, SEL Circles (Social-Emotional Learning Circles). It is a six-week, in-school, curriculum-based program made for groups of up to 15 students. The program is supported by The NAN Project’s licensed mental health clinician/school counselor, Peer Coordinators, and Peer Mentors.

Sarojini Schutt, Peer Coordinator, facilitating a discussion at Galvin Middle School SEL Circles about managing peer conflict

SEL Circles were created due to community providers, educators, and parents noticing changes in the youth they serve–many are more anxious than prior to the pandemic, and have had trouble creating connections with their peers, and looking for programming that could be helpful.

Recent Statistics About Youth Mental Health:

Recent data supports what educators and caregivers have noticed. The CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey collects self-reported surveys from high school students across the United States every two years. The most recent data from 2021 shows that compared to 2019, more high school students are feeling sad or hopeless in a way that impairs their everyday activities (33.8% vs 38.5%), and more students seriously considered attempting suicide (17.5% vs 18.4%). Additionally, out of all US high school students surveyed in 2021, 29.3% reported their mental health was either not good most of the time or not good all of the time, and 38.5% reported they either didn’t feel close to people at their school or weren’t sure.

SEL Circles Curriculum:

SEL Circles are designed to help middle school- and high school-aged youth gain a greater understanding of the warning signs of mental health challenges, the supports that are available to them, ways to help a friend who may be struggling, and coping strategies to deal with their mental health. SEL Circles are not a substitute for or form of therapy. The goal of SEL Circles is to create a safe place where kids can gather and learn new skills related to emotional regulation, active listening, and coping strategies through a trauma-informed lens. By the end of the six week program, youth will have learned more about mental health and how to identify, communicate, and express emotions in a healthy way. The curriculum is offered in a format that is fun, educational, and appealing for students who can benefit from a little extra social-emotional support.

The topics covered in SEL Circles curriculum may include Orientation & Connection, Building Self-Esteem, Managing Reactions to Stress, Mindfulness, Active Listening, Bound

Galvin Middle School students participating in SEL Circles provided colorful feedback.

ary Setting/Managing Peer Conflict, and Reflection & Application. Educators and staff who would like to bring SEL Circles to their school will have the opportunity to discuss the needs of their students with The NAN Project’s School Counselor, Liza Tierney, and tailor the curriculum as needed.

Response From Students:

To date, The NAN Project has facilitated three cohorts of SEL Circles, at the Eliot Family Resource Center in Everett and at Galvin Middle School in Wakefield. The NAN Project staff collected survey data from SEL Circles participants on the first session and on the last session to learn more about what youth are taking away from sessions.

At Galvin Middle School before SEL Circles began, only 50% of the participants self-reported that they knew of coping skills to deal with difficult emotions. On the last day of the program, 80% of students either agreed or strongly agreed that they knew of coping skills to help with difficult emotions. There was also an increase in the pre- and post- survey data regarding the percentage of students who reported they had at least one adult they could speak to about a difficult situation (83% on the first day, compared to 100% on the last day).

When asked what they learned at SEL Circles, students said:

“Conflict doesn’t always have to be negative.”
“I learned good ways to cope with anger and stress”

On the most useful thing youth learned at SEL Circles:

“The 3 Rs [Regulation, Reflection, and Relaxation].”
“How to calm yourself and also that your [sic] not alone.”
“Learning about stress management.”
“That not being OK is OK when you ask for help.”
“I know many things to do when I am sad.”

This spring, The NAN Project is excited to be providing SEL Circles at Thurgood Marshall Middle School in Lynn and Phoenix Academy in Lawrence, in addition to continuing their partnership with Galvin Middle School. To discuss bringing SEL Circles to your school or community, email [email protected].

Our First College Peer Mentor Training & A Peer Mentor Update


Thanks to grant funding from the MA Department of Higher Education, we recently conducted our first college peer mentor training at Massasoit Community College (MCC) in Brockton, MA. This training not only marked a significant milestone for us, but also was a great success. With the collaboration of Violet Akoh, MCC’s Health & Wellness Coordinator, and the leadership of Erica Tangney, TNP’s College Outreach Coordinator, we engaged numerous students through on-campus outreach, ultimately training six new peer mentors. This partnership with Massasoit has opened doors for us to expand our programming into Massachusetts’ Southeast Region.

Successful Peer Mentor Training:

During the training at MCC, our team provided instruction on how to write a Comeback Story, enhance and practice their public speaking skills, and ways to safely speak to youth about mental health. By the end of training, each student had written a powerful story of lived experience. The NAN Project is immensely proud of these peer mentors and all the work they put into the training!

Peer Mentors and TNP Staff at Massasoit CC Training Graduation.

Continued Growth:

Following the training program at Massasoit CC, we have continued efforts to expand our network of peer mentors. An additional four peer mentors have completed our training and have already started attending presentations! We continually hire peer mentors on a rolling basis in order to bring as many presentations to students as possible.

Upcoming Training in Lynn, MA:

As we continue to expand our outreach efforts, we are excited to share that our staff is actively preparing for another training. This time, we will be hosting a training program in Lynn, MA over the summer. We have many community and school partners in the Greater Lynn area. By hiring more peer mentors, we hope to provide more robust programming to Lynn public schools and to strengthen these relationships.

Our Newest Peer Mentor Cohort and TNP Staff.

Final Thoughts:

We are so grateful for MCC and all the peer mentors who work with us. We look forward to holding many more peer mentor training opportunities in the community or in institutions of higher education! For information about our partnerships with colleges and universities, contact Erica at [email protected]. If you are interested in the peer mentor role, please contact Shilpa at sthirukkovalur@thenanproject.

February 23, 2023
The NAN Project Highlights Resources for Black Youth

On February 10th, 2023, The Center for Disease Control released “Notes from the Field: Recent Changes in Suicide Rates, by Race and Ethnicity, and Age Group – United States, 2021”. The data shows suicide rates increased by 19.25% during 2018-2021. For persons aged 10-24 suicide rates showed a worrying increase and, more specifically, among black youth aged 10–24 years, the rate of suicide increased 36.6% during 2018–2021. We highly recommend reading this report which can be found here:

The overall message we gather from this research is that suicide continues to be a public health issue, and continues to be an increasing threat to black youth across the country.During this Black History Month, we highlight three resources we rely upon to continue our education in pursuit of racial justice, inclusion, and suicide prevention for black youth across Massachusetts. 

The Steve Fund Logo with two colored boxesThe Steve Fund:

During our Peer Mentor presentations, we distribute resource cards that can fit inside a wallet or behind a phone case. We tell students to carry them everywhere they go so they can be prepared with a plethora of mental health resources for themselves or a friend at any time. On this card, we have The Steve Fund.

Front of Resource Card

Front of Resource Card

The Steve Fund is the nation’s leading organization for young people of color with the overarching goal of creating a “robust national dialogue” centered on young people of color and their mental and emotional health and well-being. The Fund has a plethora of resources through their “Knowledge Center” located on their website. During our presentations, we highlight the Crisis Text Line service that connects young people of color to a culturally competent crisis counselor.  Just text STEVE to 741-741 and someone will be on the other line in no time! The Steve Fund has partnered with the Crisis Text Line to provide this service 24/7, meaning any time of day or night a young person can reach out with questions about their own mental health, a friend’s health, and/or if they have general questions about mental health.

Back of Resource Card

Back of Resource Card

The Fund also has a podcast “Speak On It!” that you can find at this link: The podcast brings students and professionals together to discuss topics related to mental health and the challenges that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color may face during their academic and professional careers. We cannot recommend The Steve Fund enough!






★ National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network:

The National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network describes themselves as: “a healing justice organization that actively works to transform mental health for queer and trans people of color in North America”. Since May 2016, NQTTCN has been building a network of mental health practitioners as well as a Mental Health Fund for those in need of financial assistance. The Founder, Erica Woodland, created this organization as a call to mental health practitioners to deepen their understanding of healing justice and create communities of care with, and an understanding for, Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC). They share resources for organizations seeking to uplift QTPOC communities through healing justice initiatives. A unique feature offered through their website is a directory of practitioners that you can search by region. And, if you are a therapist or provider that identifies as a QTPOC and are a licensed mental health professional, you can fill out an online application to become part of the directory! The directory can be found here: The NQTTCN is doing invaluable work for communities of Queer and Trans people of color who are at unique risk of violence and suicide. Please check them out and support their work if you can!


★Year Up:

Year Up is an organization striving to “close the “Opportunity Divide” by ensuring young people gain the skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through careers and higher education”. Year Up offers a three step program that allows young people to work closely with expert instructors to gain career-building knowledge while being in close contact with a team of support to ensure success and offer mentoring along the way. Supporting young people start and advance in their careers while being assisted by a mentor creates protective factors; factors that contribute to a person’s ability to maintain their mental health and reduce their risk of suicide. Being part of a community that wants to see them succeed, creating financial stability, and inspiring hope for the future has been proven to prevent suicide. Year Up’s program “Black Opportunity Alliance” creates a platform for Black philanthropists to help cultivate the future of black leaders. With 35% of Year Up’s young people are black, having the support of older, Black business-people and philanthropists encourages and financially supports a younger generation of black youth to achieve their career goals. You can find more information on the program here:

We are inspired by Year Up’s unrelenting commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Creating a focus on these key themes contributes to the longevity of youth in this program and their future success.  Read more about it here: Check out Year Up and support them in whatever way you can! Supporting this organization means supporting black youth pursuing their career goals and building hope for the future!

We have gathered three amazing resources that we utilize to inform our work and create a world where all are able to thrive and create hope for the future. But the list does not end here! What resources do you use to educate yourself and continue the work of destigmatizing mental health challenges? Share them with us! It is our responsibility as stewards in the field of mental health and in destigmatizing mental health to maintain a racial and intersectional lens.

Our team is committed to educating and raising awareness in order to amplify voices that are both historically and too often underrepresented, denied, and disbelieved. 


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