Interactive New Sculpture to Challenge Mental Health Stigma

A giant interactive head sculpture is to grace the shores of the Thames to challenge negative attitudes towards mental health 

Launching on 15 September 2018, Head Above Water, a gigantic interactive, 9-metre ‘head’ sculpted and created by British Designer Steuart Padwick, will appear on Queen’s Stone Jetty, otherwise known as Gabriel’s Pier, near Gabriel’s Wharf on the South Bank.

Part of London Design Festival, Head Above Water aims to challenge negative attitudes and stimulate public perception and understanding around mental health.

The giant wooden head, elevated above the Thames, is deliberately gender, ethnicity and age neutral, and will stand as a symbol of compassion and positivity for those who have come through, or are still confronting, mental health issues – as well as those who support them.

Head Above Water aims to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health

The sculpture will light up at night and participants will be able to engage with its changing colours through a designated, real-time Twitter feed.

Dr Sally Marlow Phd, Engagement and Impact Fellow for The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London has advised on the changing colours to reflect different narratives and concepts used to describe emotions.

‘Head Above Water is a symbol of hope,’ says The British designer/sculptor, Steuart Padwick. ‘It needed to be big, powerful and prominent… a beacon of humanity caring for others. ‘This is not my head or about my battles. I want anybody and everybody to relate to it, to open a door perhaps.’

This is not my head or about my battles. I want anybody and everybody to relate to it, to open a door perhaps

Time to Change is a hard-hitting campaign to end mental health stigma and discrimination. One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year, yet many people still report being misunderstood by those around them.

‘Head Above Water will be seen by millions, prompting contemplation and encouraging conversations about mental health,’ says Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change.

‘Sadly mental health problems are often confined to hushed conversations in quiet corners so we’re excited to support this project which proudly brings it into the light.’

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