Vinfen’s Clubhouses empower people with psychiatric conditions by providing them with a community that is focused on respect and encourages individual choice and contribution. Often this kind of support leads to members finding their niche and voice within our community.
Vinny, a Haverhill Clubhouse member, turned his natural graphic design skills into a meaningful endeavor. With the collaboration of his friends in the Mental Health community, Vinny focused his artistic ability on designing a flag to rally the mental health community with the hope that, much like the distinct LGBT+ rainbow pride flag, his flag will demonstrate unity, pride, shared values, and allegiance to one another.
“There are a lot of challenges in the mental health community and, as a pride flag, this flag will symbolize being proud of being a part of it,” said Vinny. “It is a symbol of celebrating who you are. Pride isn’t just something that you did, it’s also not being ashamed of who you are.” Vinny hopes younger generations will look to the flag and know that they are not alone. “I am looking for people to understand mental illness and not be afraid of us.”
When asked about the design choices, Vinny explains, “The black symbolizes the dark past of mental illness and the blues and yellow represent sky. Going from a dark, painful past and reaching to the sky for a bright shining future.” The flag took weeks to complete and Vinny reached out to others around the mental health community, receiving feedback from his peers.
Haverhill Clubhouse members were excited for the flag and to encourage awareness of its existence, Vinny, with the assistance of Clubhouse staff, designed a T-shirt depicting the flag and a poem he wrote describing its meaning. “From the moment Vinny brought up the idea of the flag to the community, the Clubhouse roared. They loved that this could be a universal symbol for mental health. We are super excited for this to be our goal and mission,” said Haverhill Clubhouse Program Director Kerry Caraccio.
Ultimately, Vinny wants people to “use the flag as a symbol of pride and let people use it to rally.” He encourages people to see the flag as an illustration of “an ongoing struggle and for people to know [when they see the flag] you aren’t alone and it is going to get better.”
Flag and poem:
“Mental Health Community Pride Flag” by Vincent D. Camley
Standing on, overcoming, the dark horror of our past…
Fighting hard in the present to recover our health and our safety…
And reaching for a brighter future of understanding!