JOPLIN, Mo. — Depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. They’re just a few of the mental health issues that affect people of all ages.

A Missouri Southern student is trying something new to help raise awareness.

“I have a lot of friends who are scared to talk about it,” said Fernanda Canedo, MSSU student.

And that makes MSSU foreign exchange student Fernanda Canedo very interested in helping them and others on campus who need help but don’t know where to start.

“Don’t know where to go or who to speak with,” said Canedo.

She’s just one of the students working with a new program at Missouri Southern designed to raise awareness and point out resources.

“It’s called the Bandana project. It’s a mental health and suicide prevention initiative. And basically, the whole idea of it is just to try to end the stigma behind mental health, because there’s so much behind it with just in college and high schools, middle schools, just around every community,” said Riley Laver, MSSU Bandana Project.

Riley Laver is networking with faculty, staff, and students.

They agree to learn about the resources available to help patients and then carry a green bandana around campus as a sign that they can help someone find the help they need.

“That was a wake-up call for me when I had to ask where our counselors were and they’ve been in the same building forever. And I never, I never knew. And then I also never knew about Ozark Center – Hope Springs. I never knew about the different hotlines, that there was all that information that has been available this whole time but never all in one place,” said Laver.

About 300 have already signed up for the Bandana Project at Missouri Southern.

And Laver is hoping that translates to other schools in the area.

“Even high school students are bringing this to their principals saying, this is big, we need this. And so we’re just being we’re turning Joplin green, is what is my goal is,” said Laver.