News Releases

Green Bandana Project

Date Published: 4/10/24


To support the wellbeing of college students, Dakota College at Bottineau (DCB) is implementing the Green Bandana Project on campus. This program is driven by student volunteers dedicated to preventing suicide through promoting help-seeking behavior and increasing awareness of vital mental health resources. It is a nationwide program originally inspired by “Dan’s Bandana Project,” an initiative that was first developed on the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus in 2014 by Dr. Betsy Gerbec.

According to resources from the Green Bandana Project, suicide is a leading cause of death among college-age students. The most prominent factor associated with suicidal behavior in college students is depression. They indicate that roughly 12% of college students report the occurrence of suicide ideation during the first four years of college.

The first ever training at DCB for the Green Bandana Project was held on March 26 with 14 student participants. Samantha Christopherson, Executive Director of the ND and SD American Foundation for Suicide Prevention led trainings on mental health support for college students and suicide prevention. Melissa Kornkven, DCB Mental Health Counselor, then trained students on the Green Bandana Project.  “It’s great to bring the Green Bandana Project to DCB,” Melissa Kornkven said. “We know from research that students are most likely to reach out to a peer first when struggling with mental health. The Green Bandana Project brings training and support to the people who are most likely to be approached when a student is experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis. Getting the tools in the right hands is important.”
Student participants learned their role as a peer and were provided with an opportunity to role play situations. "The training is useful for understanding the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and the resources available to help individuals experiencing them,” Terrence Williams, DCB Nursing student said. “I think it should be required for all staff, adjunct staff, and anyone planning on entering the medical field. Displaying the bandanas helps normalize mental health and signals visibly that you understand and are willing to help." After the training, student participants proudly attach or display a green bandana on their backpack, bag, or person, signifying they have pledged to be a safe individual to approach for mental health and suicide prevention information and resources.