Jacksonville mural shines light on mental illness, offers resources through QR code

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Sheryl Johnson calls it art with a purpose.

“We lost our oldest son Alex in August of 2017 after he lost his battle with depression and anxiety,” Hearts4Minds President and Founder Sheryl Johnson said.

Johnson is taking it upon herself to break the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Outside the Jumbo Shrimp’s centerfield wall, you’ll find a dragonfly mural; a symbol of change and transformation she associates with her son Alex.

RELATED: Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp to unveil mental health mural, kicking off city-wide awareness campaign

When you look closer, there is more to see and learn.

“My nephew, who is an artist and an architect, designed a dragonfly made up of handprints, and it brought together such a powerful message for us which is, we all have the power to change in the palm of our hands,” Johnson said.

With the help of local artist David Nackashi, Alex’s dragonfly now basks in the sunlight.

“As you get closer to it, you might start noticing the dragonflies are made of these individual handprints, and I think that brings its own meaning to play,” Nackashi said. “As you get even closer, you can scan the QR code and learn everything that this mural represents for the nonprofit.”

You can easily access mental health resources with your smartphone and the QR code. All you do is focus your camera on it, click the link at the top and it takes you to hearts4minds.org.

Through this mural, and hopefully many more in the future, Johnson hopes to spark change.

STORY: A community is coming together to help a Brunswick police officer and her family

“When we all put our hands together to change how we view things, that’s how we affect change,” Johnson said.

The mural is in partnership with the City of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, and Baptist Health Jacksonville.