ULM art students produce a fresco on mental health

MONROE, La. (KNOE) — A group of ULM art students created a mural with a purpose. The class designed the project to help students identify signs of mental illness and encourage young adults to seek help.

A recent Mayo Clinic study shows that 44% of undergraduates struggle with mental illness, and COVID-19 is pushing the numbers up. Many students struggle in silence and don’t know where to turn for help. ULM student says last year was one of the hardest years of her life.

“Being a college student and a first-time mother, I dealt with a bit of postpartum depression, and believe it or not, mental health took a huge toll on my ability to interact with my peers, to be focused on the school and to be diligent in my studies,” said Chiemeka Onyemechara, the ULM student.

Brooke Foy, an assistant art teacher at ULM, says her class created this mural to let students know they’re not alone. The artwork contains images and messages to teach students to identify signs of mental illness.

“We have a lot of different things that are addressed on the mural from substance abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, anxiety depression, all kinds of things that happen with your mental health,” he said. she stated.

Foy says the Northeast Delta Human Service Authority is sponsoring the mural and the organization will provide students with solutions to help them overcome mental challenges.

“We provide behavioral health and primary health care services. We are going to carry this message, this mural 50 feet beyond this campus. You will see it in this region of 12 parishes. You’ll see it on high school campuses in our Opportunity Zone. You’ll also see it in some of our area museums,” said DeRon Talley, director of public information for the Delta Human Services Authority.

Officials say the aim is to get young adults to know when to ask for help.

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