Mural in downtown Aiken to raise suicide awareness; Mental Health
October 10 – Hope is what people will see as they stroll down The Alley in downtown Aiken.
The Overflow Foundation has placed a new mural in downtown Aiken to raise awareness and prevent mental health and suicide. The project is part of the organization’s efforts to reduce the stigma often associated with both.
“That’s where our son kind of launched his music career…playing Amp the Alley on Thursday nights,” said Terry Lee, Founder and Executive Director of the Overflow Foundation. “So it’s very special for us to be able to put a mural there.”
The mural is located between the Lionel Smith Ltd. clothing store. and Aiken Brewing Company.
The mural will also feature a QR code with the new helpline number 988, so people can scan if they have a mental health issue or are seeking help.
988 is the new suicide and mental illness number in South Carolina that people can call.
The Overflow Foundation was founded by Lee in 2019 as she mourned the loss of her eldest son, Phillip Lee Jr. After being diagnosed with substance use disorder and bipolar disorder, he died by suicide on September 6, 2018.
The organization‘s mission is to raise awareness about suicide, mental illness and spread the message of hope.
Lee decided to do a mural after seeing the love mural on Newberry Street.
The mural was painted by April Henry King, who had a personal connection to Phillip Lee Jr.
The artist remembers that he was friends with her and her husband and that he listened to her sing in a café in Augusta. To cope, she painted a picture of him.
She said Phillip Lee Jr. would be happy she did the mural because he liked her artwork and mentioned it before he died.
She said Terry Lee originated the message, while she originated the visuals for the mural. The message is spiritual and can also be directed to those who are facing problems.
“It’s going to be so helpful to people who have some of the issues he had,” she said.
Lee said the purpose of the mural was to inspire people to hope and things will be fine with hope.
“It’s a mural with a bigger purpose,” Lee said.