Since October 25, Groningers get to experience a unique outdoor exhibition right in the city centre.
By Mehret Haile-Mariam
Depression and mental health issues, in general, have gained increasing attention in public and politics, especially in regard to the coronavirus and its repercussion on people’s mental well-being. Still, the stigma surrounding mental health issues and illnesses is prevalent, despite governmental and civil society advances to de-stigmatise the issue and raise awareness for this sensitive topic.
A global issue
Studies suggest that approximately 1 million people in the Netherlands suffer from depression yearly. Furthermore, the Global Burden of Disease Study indicated that depression and anxiety are among the top causes of health loss worldwide. Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted that depression could become the number one disease if current trends continue.
Action is needed
The abovementioned figures illustrate the importance of addressing issues of mental health. However, in order to combat and prevent mental illnesses, it’s crucial to acknowledge the topics urgency and break still prevalent taboos about mental health.
The “Open mind foundation” aims to create broader awareness for mental health issues and facilitate an inclusive environment that allows affected people to seek health. Mirjam Bekker-Stoop and Linelle Deunk, founders of “Open mind”, travelled through the Netherlands and spoke to professionals, experts, and concerned people, about their experiences of depression and portrayed their stories.
They translated their carefully collected stories into an outdoor exhibition currently presented at Akerkhof in Groningen’s city centre. The exhibition that kicked of in Amsterdam earlier this month will be displayed for a period of three weeks in several Dutch cities.
Photo by Mehret Haile-Mariam