BANGOR – The Yellow Tulip Project advocates for mental health. The group held its “Hope Day” virtually on Friday.
“The Yellow Tulip Project is a project that aims to smash the stigma surrounding mental illness,” said Sam Slavin, a junior at John Bapst and the Yellow Tulip Project representative.
The group planted bulbs of yellow tulips last fall and was supposed to hold an in-person event to celebrate the blooming of the flowers this spring.
Even though they couldn’t host a gathering, Slavin decided it was still important to have a virtual event.
“I think people are struggling, and they’re struggling to find kind of comfort and connectedness with their communities, so the whole point of this is to kind of give that to them and provide them a space to talk about mental illness,” Slavin said.
The event consisted of posts on social media.
“We’re doing a compilation of videos, of speeches, musical performances and photos of all the tulips, and we’re uploading it on @theyellowtulipproject on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.”
Slavin said he got involved with this project after one of his family members was impacted by mental illness.
“I felt like I couldn’t really talk about the situation with anyone because of a society that seems to be frightened by the topic of mental health,” Slavin said. “This project kind of gave me a voice and gave me a place where I felt like I was less alone, and I could kind of share my story and be accepted for that.”
The group wants the whole community to get involved with the project.
“Even if folks didn’t plant gardens last fall, we’ve provided some coloring pages on the Acadia Hospital Facebook page,” said Chris McLaughlin, associate vice president of community and pediatric services at Northern Light Acadia Hospital. “We would really encourage parents and kids and community members to print those out and color those gardens and plant a virtual hope garden.”
Slavin is reminding people there is a community behind them and to get help if they need it.
“Just if I reach out to one youth, to one adult, that might be feeling alone right now that they see this, and it’s a reminder to them that there is a community,” Slavin said. “There are resources out there and that if they need help, they can get it.”