July 1, 2021

The Hope Crane Project

Providing a message of hope to patients receiving mental health treatment in our inpatient units

The Hope Crane Project began back in 2013 as a way to comfort patients admitted to our psychiatric inpatient unit. The project was developed by Stephanie Heit, a former patient who received a purple origami crane from her roommate. When she was given the crane, she was told about the traditional legend that says if you make a thousand cranes in a year (The Legend of 1000 Cranes), you can manifest a wish, often around health and healing.

Now, the origami cranes, handmade by volunteers, are offered as a gift to all new patients in the adult and the child & adolescent inpatient units.

The cranes are placed in gift boxes with small note cards that read:

This origami box and crane were handmade for you by volunteers as a gift from the Department of Psychiatry Patient & Family Centered Care Committee ( PFCC), whose mission is to promote, cultivate and celebrate health care guided by you and your loved ones. Japanese legend says that folding a thousand cranes will manifest a wish often around health and healing. It is in that spirit we offer you this gift. May it inspire hope during your hospital stay and beyond.

PFCC’s mission is to promote, cultivate and celebrate health care guided by patients and families. The Hope Crane Project helps to illuminate this mission by the creation and gifting of these origami symbols of hope.

“I have had family members experience inpatient hospital stays and know how difficult they can be, so I enjoy using my personal experiences to help people who are struggling. The Hope Crane Project has such power of positivity, and I feel like these small but meaningful gifts of cranes really make an impact on the patients,” said Lise Levie, co-chair of the PFCC. 

A crucial part of the Hope Crane Project is having volunteers help create the cranes and boxes. Anyone can volunteer: community members, high school students, patients and their loved ones and Michigan Medicine faculty and staff. These Youtube instructions are easy to follow and you can find step by step instructions here. With practice, making them becomes meditative with a therapeutic aspect to folding paper and “paying it forward.” 

If you are interested in volunteering with the Hope Crane Project, it’s important to follow the guidelines to ensure that all the cranes and boxes are uniform. If you or your organization would like to participate in the Hope Crane Project, email [email protected].