EMU Student Creates 'The Sunflower Project' Offering Support To Those With Mental Health Challenges

May 7, 2021

Hannah Palmer with her sunflower.
Credit Hannah Palmer / The Sunflower Project

Hannah Palmer just started her senior year at Eastern Michigan University, but before she even graduates, she is finding purpose in her own personal pain by creating "The Sunflower Project."

She talks with WEMU's Lisa Barry about the goal of the mental health nonprofit and how she hopes to help those dealing with mental health challenges, beginning by sharing her own struggles and finding ways to support others who do as well.


The Sunflower Project logo
Credit The Sunflower Project / sunflower-project.org

After many discussions with students, educators, and legislators, EMU student Hannah Palmer quickly realized just how many people neglect their mental health every day—and the pandemic was only making it worse. 

Financial challenges of affording mental health resources, dealing with societal standards when it comes to addressing mental health, and not knowing how to help someone dealing with mental health crises were some of the common issues Hannah kept hearing about when it came to mental health—which is why she started Sunflower Project last year. 

Sunflower Project is a nonprofit dedicated to providing financial assistance for mental health resources, creating and fostering a sense of community and support group networks, and educating people on a variety of mental health conditions, teaching people how to help someone in crisis through the Mental Health First Aid curriculum.

She picked the name "Sunflower" because she says sunflowers are the only flower that turns towards another when it needs additional support or more sunlight. Her grandmother always told her to "stand tall and bright like a sunflower." (#Betheirsunflower) 

Hannah Palmer
Credit Hannah Palmer / The Sunflower Project

She is currently scheduling speaking engagements and appearances to promote the Sunflower Project in the Washtenaw, Livingston, and Ingham County communities in exchange for donations to the organization to help reach its 2021 goal to raise $10,000 and help 10-25 people financially who need assistance covering treatment costs or assistance paying for school because they are exempt from other scholarships. These donations also help cover the materials cost to certify people in mental health first aid. 

Hannah Palmer
Credit Hannah Palmer / The Sunflower Project

The Sunflower Project can also be found on Facebook and Instagram. You may also contact them directly via e-mail.

Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support.  Make your donation to WEMU today to keep your community NPR station thriving.

Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu