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Vandals destroy Castlegar mural

Before and After shots of the 'Elephant in the Room' mural.

An art project meant partly to herald World Mental Health Day has been destroyed by vandalism, according to a staff member who asked to remain unnamed.

"Out in the Open: Raising Awareness About Mental Health is a project developed with Castlegar Mental Health and Substance Use and client membership," she said. "This project has been a great success in bringing together people for World Mental Health Day, as well as empowering and engaging those involved in the project.  A key part of this project is to help educate the public and help reduce the stigma people with mental health conditions face in our community."

She said the positive intent of the project makes the defacement even more distressing.

"The need for this ongoing work to bring awareness and reduce judgement was brought to the forefront today when staff noticed the vandalism on the collaborative mural project, which is installed at the 4th Street Clubhouse," she said. The shock and dismay has disrupted all of us; from staff, to membership and the public at large. Questions arose such as; was this a targeted hate related property crime?, was this nonsense vandalism?', 'is there someone in our community in ill health who needs help?' and “how do we address this in a healthy and resilient way?'.

"For now, we continue in our great work of bringing people together, supporting those who are hurting and fostering safety for those in our community who are marginalized due to their health conditions.

"I am so grateful for the people who are involved in this project.  People showed up with courage, shared their stories and their works, integrated in our community in a meaningful way and actively advocated for empowerment.  What I have witnessed has been a large outpouring of support in this community and opportunities for people to be heard.  For all those who are hurting due to this act of violence, I invite you to focus on the connections we have and continue to build, come to us to be heard and know that you have been doing great work and are valued."

If anyone has information related to this crime, please contact the RCMP at 250-365-7721.