Nancy Cavanaugh lit up the room when she entered.
With a quick sense of humor and a huge heart, Nan had lots of friends and loved to make them laugh. She was earning her Master of Social Work degree and would have been an amazing counselor. In 2012, Nan took her own life, one month shy of graduation. Her friends, her classmates and her co-workers were shocked. How could this happen to a beautiful, smart, and vibrant young woman who was so loved and had so much to live for? Tragically, suicide happens way too often and hits home in a way that changes our world.
The NAN Project is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Nan – an inspiring, caring young woman who took her life because she could not find the services, support, or hope needed to defeat the pain.
Nan struggled with feeling different her whole life. She suffered from anxiety, depression, and OCD. She hid it from almost everyone but her close friends and family, constantly feeling out of place and struggling to fit into social situations.
Throughout high school and college she masked her feelings with her bubbly personality and school spirit. After college things got harder. She stepped back from her family and friends, and refused to seek help. She slipped through all of our fingers.
Nan took her life on April 11, 2012, and since then her family and friends have been trying to understand and learn more about suicide and how to reduce its prevalence. The result of much thought and discussion is The NAN Project – an initiative to increase understanding, support, and treatment of depression in young people.
Learn more about Nan’s story and the scholarship set up in her name at Westfield State University, here.