Forward Thinking Birmingham dedicates mural to city’s young people | Latest News

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Forward Thinking Birmingham dedicates mural to city’s young people

A bright and bold graffiti mural, to show support for young people with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, has been unveiled by the 0-25s mental health service Forward Thinking Birmingham.

Young people, NHS staff and members of the public gathered for the unveiling of the 16x14ft mural outside the Custard Factory in Birmingham on Saturday afternoon.

Created by local artist David Brown, the mural has taken shape using the ideas and concepts from the young people and experts by experience group ‘Think4Brum’. The mural features a young woman’s face with a number of weather emojis, to depict the mental health challenges of young people and the anxiety and emotional turmoil those with complex trauma face.

The mural has been designed for May which is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness month and forms part of A Tale of 3 Cities mental health campaign. Backed by former Health Minister, Rt. Hon Sir Norman Lamb, A Tale of 3 Cities aims to bring together young people, parents, carers, clinicians and mental health campaigners from around the world, for a number of online and in-person events to aid better understanding of complex trauma and its impact on young people.

Forward Thinking Birmingham has joined forces with Centre for Mental Health, 42nd Street in Manchester and the Anna Freud Centre in London to shine a light on the mental distress, hopelessness and despair, young people living with this condition experience. 

Graffiti on wall of ladies head with thundercloud, rainbow sunshine and rain cloud coming out.Elaine Kirwan, campaigner for Youth Mental Health Services and Director of Nursing for Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Too many young people across Birmingham have struggled with mental health challenges of their own which is why their energy and ideas have been such a special part of this mural creation. We have been really moved by the reaction it has received so far and inspired by the positive conversations it has started as part of A Tale of 3 Cities.

“Within Forward Thinking Birmingham, we’ve had specialist care and treatment in place for young people with complex trauma, since 2019. Currently the team supports over 300 young people from across the city, with numbers expected to grow over the next couple of years. We know that with the right care at the right time, there is hope and recovery is possible but as a mental health service there is still more that we want to do for our young people.”

David Brown who has been a graffiti artist for the last 36 years is delighted to have been commissioned to create the mural for the campaign. He said:

“I am really pleased to be able to support Forward Thinking Birmingham and A Tale of 3 Cities and I’d like to thank the youngsters from Think4Brum for bringing their ideas and feedback so I could create this mural.

“Graffiti for me was the first form of social media. As a youngster it was very challenging being a graffiti artist, putting myself out there for potential criticism or witnessing others damaging my work. I have struggled myself over the years with my own mental health so this is a project that is close to my heart.

“I’m really happy with the response to the mural so far and I am pleased that my art is inspiring really important conversations about young people and the mental health struggles they experience.”

The mural, which is on display until 31 May outside the Custard Factory, pays tribute to Spencer Barr and a poem he wrote. 

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