Young Black Women In the U.K. Are Using Art to Raise Awareness On Mental Illness


By Victor Trammell

Mental illness among women (particularly those who are black) is an issue that is often swept under the rug.

Psychological deficiencies associated with poor mental health are the conduits for so many other adversities that society deals with today. Raising awareness is key and to do that, advocates have to reach people through a medium that they can gravitate toward.

A talented and dedicated group of young black women in the United Kingdom (U.K.) are doing just that. An art exhibition in the U.K. called Unmasked Women is showcasing a variety of works of art that are giving a platform to young black women in the U.K. who are dealing with mental illness.

The driving motto for the Unmasked Women art exhibition going on this month is a simple and caring phrase of endearment: “It’s OK to not be OK.” Nicole Krystal Crentsil (pictured), 24, is the young black woman from London who has been credited with orchestrating the Unmasked Women art exhibition.

Crentsil dealt with mental health issues herself during her first years of adulthood. “I too found it hard to talk about my own issues,” Crentsil said in an interview with BuzzFeed News.

“Being turned away by local authorities, public services, even friends and family who didn’t understand what I was going through ― I simply don’t want that to happen to anyone,” she continued.

Unmasked Women has been showcasing beautiful paintings, eye-catching sculptures, and powerful pieces of photography. The art exhibition started on Friday, September 2nd and ended today. Crentsil and her team of talented black female artists sought to make a resounding impact on breaking down the stigma of mental illness to change lives.

“I want mental health to be regarded as serious a medical condition to any other health issue,” Crentsil told The Huffington Post. “Ideally, if I am able to change the mindset of various community groups regarding black mental health, maybe it would induce changes in policy with the way in which it is treated,” she continued.





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