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Eliminating the Stigma of Mental Illness: One Tulip Bulb at a Time

By Judy Duarte, MS, CPNP posted 03-23-2023 11:47


The Yellow Tulip Project: How to bring hope and support to a middle school and its community with the goal of eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth ages 10 to 14 years (CDC, 2022). While rates of suicide have declined for the first time in many years, the rate of suicide attempts, particularly in adolescent females, continues to rise (CDC, 2022). This can be seen in the rate of emergency department visits where girls and young women have twice the rate of young men and boys (CDC, 2022).

In February of 2020, my family was directly impacted by the sudden death of a close friend who died by suicide at age 17 years. In the year that followed, the pandemic took an additional toll on everyone's mental health. When I returned to school, I wanted to put into action an after school club that would address the mental health crisis as well as spread a message of hope.

The Yellow Tulip Project is a nation-wide youth driven organization with the mission to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and to help people realize that hope and good things happen when communities of people come together to create positive change. 

In the Fall of 2021, I started a local chapter of YTP in my middle school. What started out as a simple creation of one large and six smaller Hope or tulip gardens, quickly grew into a year long after school program with weekly activities. These activities include gentle yoga, art therapy, journaling, Hope Day Walks, rock painting and organizing donations of specific items to local hospitals. Each activity/event is aimed at supporting those struggling with mental illness, educating the school community on this topic and creating connections in our extended community. Our group planted 500 tulip bulbs the first year and an additional 500 in the Fall of 2022. The Yellow Tulip Project and the student ambassadors who lead this club are a positive presence within our middle school.

I am excited to share at NASN2023, in detail, the roadmap that I helped create at this level and provide you with guidance so that you may bring this powerful movement to your school.

Eliminating the Stigma of Mental Illness: One Tulip Bulb at a Time
Saturday, July 1, 2023
1:45 PM - 3:45 PM
At In-Person NASN2023 in Orlando, Florida