A 16-year-old uses art to reflect on mental health

 In Mental Health, Voices of Young People

Springtide is excited to share a beautiful drawing by SAP member Acadia Neel, a 16-year-old in Colorado who uses art to meditate on ideas and express herself. Acadia drew this work of art while participating in a conversation with fellow SAP members about mental health. During 2022, Springtide is focusing on mental health & Gen Z and we’ll have tons of reports, resources, reflections, and conversations on the topic throughout the year. We encourage you to meditate on Acadia’s beautiful drawing and her few sentences of explanation to get an inside look at how young people are thinking about, expressing, and exploring mental health with their peers

This image was a sketchbook journaling piece that I did during a SAP meeting discussing mental health. There are a lot of elements that represent different parts of the discussion but some of the main pieces are the bird, hands, and candle. The bird represents the loss of communities that have been affected during COVID. Birds are usually in flight and symbolize hope, but this bird’s wings are tied with a ribbon that says loss of community. Right below the bird is a candle that has gone out which represents burnout. Many people in the discussion talked a lot about how burnout was affecting their mental health. In front of the candle are the hands with the words: friends, connect, family, community, and purpose. The hands are reaching up like they are asking for help. Sometimes in cases of really bad mental health self-harm arises and can be seen on the wrists, but instead of scars, words that boost mental health encircle the wrists. The other elements in the artwork were also from topics discussed in the meeting, but the biggest topics are reflected in the bird, hands, and candle. 

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