Students in field

Hirvonen Hall mural raises awareness of mental health

February 11, 2022

Hirvonen Hall Mural Painting

You won’t be able to miss the new addition to the third floor of Hirvonen Hall, a 20-foot canvas painted by campus and community members. The mural, located in Finlandia’s College of Health Sciences building, seemingly appeared out of thin air, but guiding sketches pinned to the wall traced us back to one of the most renowned mural artists in the area, Mariana Nakashima.

As Finlandia’s campus dedicated the past week to mental health awareness, breaking down stigma and opening up pathways to getting help where needed, Nakashima spent her evenings providing an everlasting, on-campus presence to symbolize the cause.

The mural serves as Nakashima’s ninth project in the local area, and first in the city of Hancock. When driving through the nearby township of Chassell, you may find it hard not to see one of her other eight pieces of work. Serving as Administrative Assistant to Finlandia’s Suomi College of Arts & Sciences and International School of Business, Nakashima took a modest moment to talk more about the meaning behind the painting.

“‘One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart. – Linda Pointdexter'” Nakashima said. “I think it really resonates with the mural and the fact that we are trying to promote mental health awareness, not as a stigma that everything is fine, but that we all at one or many given times can potentially have issues and feel vulnerable, broken and tormented.”

Mental Health Awareness Week started on Sunday by dedicating the Women’s Lions Basketball game to the cause, with a sea of green in the stands, the color of mental health awareness. Events throughout the week included a community meal for FinnU students, a TED-talk style event where students, faculty and staff shared their stories on mental health, two nature hiking events and a game night in the Esports Arena.

To learn more about Mental Health Awareness Week, please take a moment to visit the links below.

Related Articles and Links

Mariana Nakashima
Finlandia Fridays Podcast: You are not Alone: Mental Health Awareness Week with Pastor Sarah Semmler Smith
Mental Health Awareness Week Event Schedule
Helpers in your Community – Resources
Student Mental Health Resources
META – Student Teletherapy

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