The Yellow Tulip Project focuses on smashing the stigma that surrounds mental illness and building a community where people realize there is help and hope out there. When founder Julia Hansen was in middle school and until her sophomore year in high school she definitely felt alone in dealing with her own depression. The deafening silence and stigma that surrounds the topic kept her from reaching out for help. It took the tragedy of losing her two best friends to suicide in 2015-2016 for her to find her voice and to speak out. She had an idea - to create a space for determined youth to eradicate stigma, build community, and inspire productive conversations about how to combat the rising rates of suicide. The Yellow Tulip Project was born from this vision.
We are causing a ruckus. We are mobilizing changemakers who like our message and are eager to spread it to schools and communities. Here’s a snapshot as to how we do this:
We’re planting Hope Gardens at schools and community organizations in the fall and welcoming the tulips in the spring. These communal events bring people together and provide a space for conversations about mental health.
We’re building a network of passionate YTP Ambassadors to represent The Yellow Tulip Project in schools around the country. Dedicated youth ambassadors are given leadership positions in our 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We have found that empowering youth in this way is the best way to leverage youth voices and to get our message out.
We’re taking on stigma with the I Am More: Facing Stigma photography exhibit. This exhibit features powerful black and white portraits of people who are either personally dealing with their own mental health challenges, or have been impacted by a family member or friend’s mental illness and want to speak out to help smash the stigma. They are musicians, artists, nature lovers, parents, and friends; and they are all Facing Stigma. This exhibit challenges our assumptions of what mental illness “looks like”.
Why Yellow Tulips?
The yellow tulip represents happiness and hope. They also remind Julia of her two best friends who she lost to suicide. The tulip was one friend's favorite flower and yellow was the other's favorite color. We want to help others realize that even in the darkest places, hope is always there and suicide should never be an option. We are fiercely dedicated to helping people know that there are ways to get help, people there for them and that circumstances can and will change.
Hope Is Always There
In those dark times it is important to reach out and get the help you need and to never forget how loved you are. The Yellow Tulip Project is meant to help smash the stigma around mental illness. We need to talk about mental illness, not suffer alone or feel ashamed.