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Muralists help to spread Pinellas wellness message

Bill DeYoung

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Artist Leo Gomez works on his mural. For the finished product, scroll to the bottom of this story. All photos provided.

Hey – you good?

That’s the question posed by the Pinellas Wellness Connection as the Covid tidal wave begins to recede, exposing all sorts of collateral damage. The You Good? campaign is a gateway to support, resources and assistance for people dealing with mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse issues.

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance was invited by the organization, which has support from the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, to create four murals with simple messages to aid in de-stigmatizing mental health, letting people know that there’s help within reach.

“They were pretty open to whatever we wanted to do,” said Jenee Priebe, director of the Arts Alliance’s annual SHINE Mural Festival. “They really just wanted all the murals to say ‘You good?’ and have their website and phone number visible. And beyond that, it was just however we wanted to do it.

“So we selected the artists, selected the walls, and let the artists really have their own creative say over it.”

The artists, all of who were compensated by the Arts Alliance, were Jimmy Breen (Sunshine Kitty Catfe, 1669 1st Avenue S.); Briauna Walker (Operation Par Inc, 1900 9th Street S.); James Freeman Kitchens (the Sanderlin Center, 2335 22nd Avenue S.); and Leo Gomez (Beau & Mo’s Italian Steakhouse, 2924 5th Avenue N.).

“I personally had a little bit of a hard time at the beginning of Covid,” Gomez said, “and thanks to those that I consider my friends, my family, my clients – they helped me to get out of that.”

Said Breen: “As an artist, mental health is everything. People who deal with depression or anxiety, overwhelming self-doubt, worry, imposter syndrome, rumination – these are all common among creative types … You have to seek out things that are a positive influence on your mental health, and you have to practice them daily.”

If you don’t think you’re good, contact the Pinellas Wellness Connection here, or call 727-791-3131.

Leo Gomez

Jimmy Breen

James Freeman Kitchens

Briauna Walker

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