JOHNSTON, Iowa – A local nonprofit organization is giving back to the Johnston community to help fund a suicide prevention program at the high school.
‘Project Silence No More’ wants to change the stigma when it comes to speaking about mental health. The nonprofit was founded by three Johnston High School alumni.
‘Project Silence No More’ Co-Founder Marcus Miller said, “We know that there is a big stigma around mental health, and so our efforts are primarily focused on just getting people talking about mental health.”
The nonprofit donated $2,500 to fund the program ‘Sources of Strength’ at Johnston High School.
Johnston Community Schools Well-Being Coordinator Chris Wilson said, “I think it’s extremely important to empower them and have them understand that they can be an active part of raising awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. Giving them actual action steps that they can take to support their friends and classmates.”
Sources of Strength trains 50 students in grades 8th through 12th. They provide extra support to peers who may be struggling.
Miller said, “It’s hard to admit when you need help. Also mental health wellness is not as easily seen. It is not like a broken arm where you can clearly see something is wrong. It’s sort of invisible so to speak sometimes, and I think that kind of is a barrier to folks talking about mental health openly.”
The nonprofit has also partnered with the “Cameron Carico Foundation” who is also donating $2,500 to completely fund the program.
In addition, ‘Project Silence No More’ is offering a $500 scholarship to a graduating senior that is wishing to pursue a career in mental health.
The money for ‘Sources of Strength’ will fund students being trained this upcoming fall.