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Hello all, my name is Ridha Abidshah, 23 I am an intern for Rob Walker here at The Department of Mental Health. As an Intern here I found myself at The GIFT Training, (Gathering, Inspiring, Future, Talent). Through The GIFT I found The Nan Project. The Nan Project is a project that was created in memory of Nan 24, a young woman who took her own life. It was created by her mother and brother to help save lives and to heal families. Providing them with supports, healthy conversations, and building strong community connections and bonds. The NAN Projects has several young adult peer mentors who have struggled with mental health challenges who share their stories of resiliency.

To me The Nan Project is a place where I found hope and my purpose. This is where I was told, “It’s ok not to be ok.” This was where I heard that we need to get the word about mental health and suicide awareness above a whisper. This was where I was given a safe place where I felt comfortable enough to talk about suicide. Being a part of The Nan Project has taught me to really see the need to break the stigma regarding mental illness in general but more specifically the stigma towards suicide.

Having been someone who had suicidal thoughts and inclinations and having been someone who actually had a suicide attempt, The Nan Project has really meant a lot to me. It has taught me that I can make a difference and an impact on the lives of others. Just by sharing my story and experiences I can reach many or maybe just one individual on a personal level where they no longer feel the need or want to end their life. This is what truly gives me a hope and a purpose. I have always known that I want to be an individual who wants to help others in any way that I could. The Nan Project has helped me find my true calling. It has shown me the way in which I can help individuals and impact their lives for the better. It has also made me feel as a part of a bigger impact of suicide prevention in order to help break down the stigma little by little.

For more information about the NAN Project, visit their website