Bushwick

Murals for mental health show ‘You Are Not Alone’

May 20, 2019 Paula Katinas
Annica Lydenberg (left) and Samantha Schutz, who came up with the idea for the series of “You Are Not Alone” murals to mark Mental Health Awareness Month, are looking for more buildings to paint on. Photo by Jackson Cook

In big, bold letters on the sides of buildings in northern Brooklyn, passersby are reminded of a simple but important message: “You Are Not Alone.”

The words — and the murals that bear them — come from a joint effort of local artists and activists aiming to offer hope to people affected by mental health issues. This month, May, is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Nearly one in five adults in the U.S. lives with some type of mental health issue, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

The project, led by mental health advocate Samantha Schutz and artist Annica Lydenberg (aka Dirty Bandits), targeted that ubiquity.

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Three murals have been completed in Greenpoint and Bushwick. Lydenberg said she is hoping to put murals on buildings all over New York City and is eager to find willing property owners.

The murals were created to remind people “that no matter what challenges each of us is dealing with, our emotions are universal,” said Schutz, author of  “I Don’t Want to Be Crazy,” a book about anxiety disorder. “No one is immune to anxiety, grief, anger, shame, and sadness. We are fundamentally connected through our humanity and, therefore, never alone.”

“The murals belong to everyone and no one simultaneously,” said Lydenberg. “The phrase ‘You Are Not Alone’ holds tremendous power for me because of its universality.”

The existing murals, painted by local artists Adam Fu, Jason Naylor and Dirty Bandits, can be found at these locations:

  • 402 McGuiness Blvd. in Greenpoint
  • 75 Scott Ave. in Bushwick
  • 109 Wilson Ave. in Bushwick

All three murals feature the same color palette and the same phrase.


“Art is a way to bring unity and togetherness,” said Naylor, who painted the Wilson Avenue mural.  “And public art is the most inclusive way that I know how to spread this message.”

For Fu, the mural project was personal. “Having lost several friends to suicide and depression, this cause is incredibly close and personal to me,” he said. “I was so drawn to this mural project as I am always striving to bring messages to the public that encourage and remind people that we are a global community.”

The project’s organizers are looking for more locations on which to paint the “You Are Not Alone” murals. Property owners who have public wall space to lend to the project can contact any of the artists through the website: www.youarenotalonemurals.com.

Correction (May 21 at 12 p.m.) — An earlier version of this article misidentified the positions of Samantha Schutz and Annica Lydenberg in the above photo caption. The Eagle regrets this error. 


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