1,000 artificial flowers in Raleigh bring attention to mental illness

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Volunteers and members of the National Alliance on Mental Illness spent Saturday afternoon installing a new work of art with a goal raising awareness for mental illness.

Dozens of people helped install more than 1,000 artificial irises on the UNC REX hospital’s campus.

The colorful installation was created to raise awareness for mental illness. Wake County sheriff’s deputies were on hand to show their support to the community.

“Mental health is an illness and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just like anything else. A lot of times people are ashamed of it and they don’t seek the help that they need. I’m here to support anybody that has this illness,” Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

The irises planted on the lawn represent courage and hope for those dealing with mental illness. The flower installation is a re-creation of the famous painting by Vincent van Gogh, who also battled mental illness.

The fight against mental illness touches home for many people. Raleigh native Deborah Jones says she has a relative affected by mental illness.

“It means the world to me that people can ride by and see the irises. Associate it with Van Gogh and know that we are here to help individuals that have mental illness,” Jones said.

The irises will be on display for several weeks at the corner of Lake Boone Trail and Blue Ridge Road.

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