As much as social media conceals, it also reveals. Behind expertly edited photos, when people take to their feeds, they share pieces of themselves with their friends, family and audience, even if it is only slight. Usually, these digitally catalogued moments depict joyous times: weddings, anniversaries, holidays, birthdays. However, it’s no secret that there’s much more going on behind the scenes. Chelsea Borruano’s goal is to bring that to light.
Amidst a feed of Photoshopped smiles and filtered backgrounds, the business development director with MESH posted about her struggles with mental health and her continued journey to happiness. “The response was crazy,” she explains. “So many people thanked me for making them not feel alone. It made me realize how many people aren’t getting the help they need.”
While May is Mental Health Awareness Month, this year the topic carries even more weight, as COVID-19 has taken hold of normal life. With people living in nearly constant fear and anxiety about not only contracting or spreading the virus but also the fate of their jobs and futures, Borruano says it’s never been more important to reach out and support one another.
She founded the You Aren’t Alone Project last year with an event that now seems far from conceivable under social distancing guidelines. Inviting artists of all disciplines to share their mental health journeys through paint, dance, poetry and more, the July 2019 exhibition was a wake-up call for awareness in the local area.
“Art is a powerful tool,” says Borruano. The You Aren’t Alone Project uses artistic expression to help members connect with one another.