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CBSelfie with Conor Nath

Biochemistry senior Conor Nath is a co-founder of UMN's peer-driven suicide prevention program, The Bandana Project.Conor Nath

Who are you?
Conor Nath; senior

Stillwater, MN

What is your major?

Outside of academics, what other organizations or activities do you participate in on campus?
I am currenly serving as president of The Bandana Project which is a peer-driven suicide prevention program that I helped found with Active Minds-UMN this past year. We are hoping to accomplish this prevention by passing out lime green bandanas to members of the University community that will typically be worn on their backpack. We will also be providing bandana carriers with 3-5 resource cards that outline a few different mental health resources that are available on campus. The lime green bandana will signify that you are a safe person to approach should someone be experiencing a mental health crisis and that you have resources available to distribute. In addition to this primary goal, a lime green bandana will become a silent show of solidarity with anyone who has experienced difficulty maintaining their mental health. We are hoping that this project will help create a more supportive University community when it comes to mental health issues. 

What prompted you to get involved with the The Bandana Project?
I was part of a group of about seven students who were part of Active Minds, another mental health advocacy group, and we wanted a way to reduce stigma on campus while providing mental health resources to people who need them. 

What do you hope to do after finishing your undergraduate degree?
I will be taking a gap year while applying to medical school.

What college accomplishment are you the most proud of?
Definitely The Bandana Project. We have been able to recruit over 300 bandana carriers and pass out over 1,000 resource cards this past semester which has been incredible to be a part of! 

What advice do you have for peers who may be struggling with their mental health?
I would encourage them to reach out for help. Student Counseling Services is a great resource that is free to UMN students and does a really good job catering to a variety of needs. I was at a talk recently where I found out that two-thirds of people who self-report saying that they probably need help maintaining their own well-being aren't seeking that help out. I think that one of the best things we can do for that population is to give them the permission to get the help that they need.

March, 2018