EMU student launches non-profit organization to provide financial aid and community support for mental health
A new Brighton-based nonprofit created by an Eastern Michigan University student aims to provide financial aid and community support to people with mental health issues.
The sunflower project was created last year by Hannah Palmer, a student at Eastern Michigan University, a five-time suicide survivor who has interacted with more than 50 service organizations since she was first diagnosed with the depression and anxiety in 2015. Palmer found that people repeatedly asked him how they could help their own friends or family members who have mental health issues. She has also often been asked how to deal with the social stigma and financial challenges of solving mental health issues.
“As I looked for the best ways to answer people’s questions, I realized there were some gaps that needed to be filled,” says Palmer. “I’ve always wanted to start something like The Sunflower Project and finally decided that now is the time to do something.”
According to the so-called “bankrupt student”, starting a nonprofit in the midst of a pandemic is particularly “intimidating”. However, she says the additional mental burdens people face during COVID-19 call for immediate action.
“Even in better times, getting mental health care is financially difficult,” says Palmer. “In fact, I haven’t even been in therapy myself since the start of the pandemic. My sessions were $ 150 each and my therapist didn’t take out insurance. Unfortunately, many do. of people.”
Over the next few months, Palmer will be actively working on the financial support aspect of his organization. She is currently hosting conferences in Washtenaw, Livingston and Ingham counties in return for donations. It aims to raise $ 10,000 to provide scholarships for people with diagnosed mental disorders who need help paying for treatment or who need help paying for their education because they cannot apply for other scholarships. .
The donations will also be used to cover the costs of certifying people in Mental health first aid. The training course teaches people how to help a person in crisis until appropriate professional help is obtained.
“I’m really thrilled to be a voice for those who believe they can’t speak up, for whatever reason, about their mental health,” says Palmer. “I hope people will contact me and help me build more positive conversations about mental health in our community.
Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. It can be reached at [email protected].
Photo courtesy of Hannah Palmer.