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Mental health mural paints a picture of hope

This Mental Health Awareness Month, Pharma Dynamics has commissioned an award-winning, street artist, Chad Hanning, aka, Bushy Wopp, to paint a 36 m² mural of bright colours and flowers on a prominent building in Woodstock to send a message of hope to those suffering from depression and anxiety.

In SA, 1 in 5 people suffer from a mental illness, which affects a person’s emotional, cognitive and physical well-being in profound ways.

Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics says depression is a complex mental health condition that can have a wide range of symptoms and severity levels, and its impact on an individual’s life can be significant.

“Those with depression often suffer in silence for fear of rejection, judgement, discrimination or being misunderstood. These feelings can lead to shame and reluctance to seek help or open up about their struggles. Similarly, cultural norms and social expectations can influence how individuals perceive and discuss mental health. In some cultures, mental health problems may be seen as a sign of weakness, making it difficult to reach out for help. Many also don’t have a support system in place or may have experienced past negative reactions when disclosing their mental health concerns.

“Addressing this issue requires a multi-faceted approach, which involves reducing stigma through education and awareness campaigns, promoting open and compassionate conversations about mental health, and providing support and understanding to those who are struggling. That is what we aim to achieve through the mural.

“Street art can be a powerful medium for educating the public about mental illness, because of its accessibility and ability to reach a wide audience. We want the mural to convey a positive message of hope, resilience and recovery, which can inspire those struggling with mental illness, while also encouraging the public to play a supportive role,” says Jennings. 

The mural will be digitally superimposed onto other prominent buildings and landmarks throughout October, such as the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the Castle in Cape Town, and the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, among others.

Jennings says this national social media campaign aims to make a statement about the often invisible nature of mental illness. “Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Many mental health conditions don’t have visible physical symptoms, making them ‘invisible’ to others, yet they are real and can have a significant impact on a sufferer’s well-being, daily life and overall health.

“It is essential for society to recognise that the absence of visible physical symptoms doesn’t diminish the seriousness of mental health conditions. People with mental illnesses may be experiencing intense emotional pain, cognitive challenges and physical symptoms like fatigue or sleep disturbances, all of which can be debilitating.”

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