The beginning of 2021 marks nearly a year of life under the tyranny of Covid-19. Pandemic norms are characterized by isolation, fear of illness, and reduction or elimination of much of what we rely on for mental, emotional and social wellness.
As such, the SHINE Mural Festival wrapped up its sixth annual event and quickly shifted gears from environmental advocacy to mental health awareness for the countywide initiative, the You Good? Campaign.
Thankfully, the Pinellas Wellness Connection, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy St. Pete, has made access to health and wellness services easier than ever. The You Good? Behavioral Health Campaign aims to create a single, unified message that communicates the availability of and access to support, resources and assistance for people dealing with mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse issues.
The goal of this campaign is to saturate Pinellas County with one common contact point for all mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse issues. The Campaign seeks to normalize authentic feelings and experiences and offers support and resources to people in Pinellas County, no matter what they’re going through.
To harness the power of art in public spaces, SHINE was invited to facilitate four You Good? murals throughout St. Petersburg. Four local artists were selected, Briauna Walker (Tampa), Jimmy Breen (St. Pete), James Freeman Kitchens (Clearwater) and Leo Gomez (St. Pete). They were each tasked with creating a mural in their own design style that speaks to the message of mental health.
“As an artist, mental health is everything. People who deal with depression or anxiety, overwhelming self-doubt, worry, imposter syndrome, rumination – these are all common among creative types,” artist Jimmy Breen explains.
“You have to seek out things that are a positive influence on your mental health, and you have to practice them daily.” Breen’s bright, happy mural with vibrant colors also includes sad and tearful faces. A reminder to consider that a quick “yeah, I’m good” might not be the full truth for many of us.
“I personally had a little bit of a hard time at the beginning of Covid, and thanks to those that I consider my friends, my family, my clients – they helped me to get out of that,” says lettering artist Leo Gomez. His mural proclaims “We Rise by Lifting Others,” a powerful statement after a long year of isolation.
The four You Good? murals can be found at the following locations in St. Petersburg. . .
Operation Par Inc, 1900 9th Street South – Briauna Walker
Sunshine Kitty Catfe, 1669 1st Ave South – Jimmy Breen
The Sanderlin Center, 2335 22nd Ave South – James Freeman Kitchens
Beau & Mo’s Italian Steakhouse, 2924 5th Ave North – Leo Gomez