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Art display at Northshore Mall encourages conversation about mental health

Northshore Mall art display focuses on mental health
Northshore Mall art display focuses on mental health 01:50

PEABODY - A traveling pop-up art display has a new permanent home at the Northshore Mall. "I Am More," a community conversation on mental health, all began with one artist's struggle - and the outpouring of support that followed.

"As wonderful as that felt it made me think, I want everyone to remember I'm more than just this depression I'm dealing with. That's just a small part of who I am. I wondered if other people dealing with challenges felt the same way," artist Amy Kerr recalled, of sharing her depression on social media in 2017.

Amy Kerr
Amy Kerr CBS Boston

The collection includes Amy's portraits, with her subjects' words. Real, relatable stories about our neighbors who are more - than their diagnosis, disability, or addiction.   

Its bright location right beside Newbury Comics complements the youth focus of the exhibit. Young shoppers might come for music, stay for art, and leave with help or hope, if they need it.

"For the support groups and hotlines, there's a QR code so kids can come with their phone, and it will take them to the resources they need," Kerr explained.

Northshore Mall art
I Am More pop up art display in the Northshore Mall CBS Boston

Student art featured

The gallery will feature new portraits by I Am More founder Amy Kerr, original artwork from Essex County student artists, middle school through college, and professional artists. Next month a display from Salem State students will be incorporated. The warmth and creativity of the work - is an unintimidating invitation to free and easily accessible support.

"With COVID, with social media, with polarization in society, there is a greater need and awareness. There's a lot of stresses in society," said NAMI Greater North Shore president Chris Sadkowski.

Mental health resources available   

Some of the resources shared alongside the art include:

• 24/7 hotline for suicide prevention, domestic violence, sexual assault, substance use
• Courses for caregivers of people with dementia
• Grief support
• Counseling for LGBTQIA+ youth
• Addiction recovery support
• Home visits for new parents
• Support groups for postpartum depression

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 | Text "NAMI" to 741741 for 24/7, confidential, free crisis counseling | If calling 911: Ask for a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Officer 

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