Today is the World Mental Health Day.
Today is the first day of an entire week marking the “Mental Health Week” in Jerusalem.
Throughout this week, 19 different events will be taking place in various locations across the city’. Ranging anywhere between movies, lectures, tours, and interfaith food-making classes. Everyone is welcome to take part in these events.
The show is being run by many different people and organizations, all mentored by the Nefashot (“souls” in Hebrew) initiative.
I founded “Nefashot” 18 months ago. This occurred after I performed in an open mike evening with a skit I wrote about my family’s personal experience dealing with a family member who has been mentally ill for years.
I was extremely tense performing something so personal as well as scared about the crowds’ response I would get regarding such a topic. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback I received.
After this performance, I started to think about what else could be done on a larger scale to raise positive awareness for the mental health community. In my mind, this positive awareness means showcasing and talking about people’s talents and strengths rather than only just referring to their specific diagnosis. I wanted to fight the stigma against the world of mental illness and orchestrate a meaningful and creating meetups between different people.
I thought of an evening of creativity- art, music, etc ran by people from this community. At first, the idea was abstract and difficult to pitch. However, little by little, things started rolling.
I spoke with an amazing activist who I had previously collaborated with, and she was willing to help. She put me in touch with another person in charge of a mental rehabilitation facility.
Little by little more people started getting involved and our first event was more successful than we could have ever imagined!
As these lines are being written our team is compiled of ten members, including several people who are dealing or have been dealing with mental illness.
This is what this initiative is about: Trying to be creative and positive and supporting different people meeting each other and getting to know one another in the true sense of the word. This team hopes to raise awareness for the mental health community but even more so- to portray a colorful and positive image of different people from different backgrounds.