McCann Health, part of McCann Worldgroup and the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG), today announced that its Guinness World Record-breaking suicide prevention program, known as “The Orange Project” (TOP), will go to the NYC Pride Festival in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to raise awareness of suicide prevention in the LGBT community.
In addition, at a special ceremony on Sunday, June 24th, McCann Health’s “The Orange Project” (TOP) will be officially adopted by the New York City and New Jersey chapters of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to amplify its positive message and save more lives.
Amy Monahan, Area Director for the New York City Chapter of the AFSP said, “We’re honored to have worked with McCann Health on ‘The Orange Project’ over the last 18 months to help amplify their positive messages at our suicide prevention events throughout the city. The ceremony will take place during NYC Pride Week to underscore our commitment to the LGBT community. We hope to see the project expand and become recognized by AFSP chapters on a national level.”
“When someone you love dies by suicide, there’s no handbook, no rules, no guidance for how to handle it,” says Jennifer Dee, VP, Director, Integrated Production at McCann Health New Jersey (MHNJ), who founded the project due to personal loss. “TOP emphasizes the importance of real connections by stripping away technology and encouraging people to have conversations about mental health and suicide. And championed by the AFSP, we hope the legacy of TOP will live on and the positive message will save more lives.”
MHNJ kicked off “The Orange Project” on September 10, 2016, to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day, with a team of volunteer employees. Against all odds, the Agency went on to break the Guinness World Record for the largest online album of handwritten notes about suicide prevention with more than 34,000 notes tallied in January 2018.
Last year, MHNJ teamed up with The Ideas Foundation, a UK-based, youth-focused organization, to roll out a worldwide creative competition asking teens how they would prefer talking to each other about suicide. Handwritten notes was their solution. Through personal messages to administrators in more than 45 schools across the country, MHNJ invited schools to incorporate “The Orange Project” into their curriculum. Schools in 7 states adopted “The Orange Project” into their lessons, Health and Wellness days, and district-wide activities. Administrators draped banners in the hallways to display thousands of notes for students and teachers to read and initiate conversations about suicide. Teachers spoke to students about their struggles and asked them to think about what makes life worth living.
The MHNJ team’s campaign against suicide began back on World Suicide Prevention Day 2014 with the launch of the hashtag #worthliving. This event will officially conclude MHNJ’s more than 3-year commitment to breaking the stigma of suicide and raising awareness for suicide prevention.