Mural painting project aims to help end stigma of mental illness


COLUMBUS — On Saturday, March 18 a group of volunteers from three counties gathered at a Columbus art studio to paint a “traveling” mural with the goal of raising awareness and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness.

As part of a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Ohio campaign called “Bringing Mental Illness Out of the Shadows,” NAMI of Marion and Crawford Counties contracted Eliza Ho with ALTernative, a mural art group, to design a mural depicting some of the myths and realities about mental illness.

Ho has designed 12 murals in the Greater Columbus area that have been painted by community volunteers using a paint-by-number system, but the NAMI mural is the first that will be taken to various locations for display. It is composed of four 8-foot tall by 4-foot wide panels, each with its own affixed stand, making it easily portable.

The completed mural will make its debut on March 28 at a NAMI Ohio advocacy luncheon in the Ohio Statehouse atrium. Afterward it can be transported to fairs, festivals, and other community events in Marion and Crawford Counties where it will be used as a springboard to public conversations about mental illness. With the artist’s permission, the design may also be reproduced on a smaller scale to be used for local community painting projects.

The Columbus painting day will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the X Space Gallery, 400 West Rich Street.

Staff report

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI and its dedicated volunteer members and leaders work to raise awareness and provide essential education, advocacy, and support group programs for people living with mental illness, as well as their families and loved ones.

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