Get to Know Visual Artist and Mental Health Advocate Mia Anika
An Interview with Mia Anika
An interview with Mia Anika, visual artist and mental health advocate based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Tell us about yourself!
I am Mia Anika, a visual artist and mental health advocate active in Atlanta, Georgia. In my artistic practice, I relate to the world graphically, inserting and removing myself as a therapy. I deal with anxiety and depression through painting and mapping.
Art grounds me.
What does mental health mean to you?
Mental health and wellness exist on a spectrum; thus, your mental state can fluctuate depending on what is going on in your life (external, social) or due to an internal imbalance (hormones, emotions, etc.)
Maintaining a relatively healthy mind requires balance, discipline, psychological and therapeutic practices, and sometimes medication — and there is nothing wrong with taking the care necessary to restore balance to your mind, whether through spiritual rituals like meditation, routine therapy sessions, or prescribed drugs. Having a compassionate understanding of mental health is critical to being a whole person.
To that end, I advocate for holistic approaches to mental health and wellness, particularly for creatives, entrepreneurs, and those in marginalized communities.
Tell us about the work you do to advocate for mental health awareness.
I write about my own mental health journey with clinical depression and anxiety disorder in my blog SPECTRUM.
There, I share bursts of inspiration, self-care tips, and snapshots of the creative lifestyle. I also help facilitate others’ healing by inviting them to participate through the creative process, through my blog, SPECTRUM, through arts & crafts and journaling workshops (Art Heals the Broken), and through initiatives like Happy Place Project and Mental Health RE:Fresh.
I am currently working on my Mental Health First Aid youth certification and building an app to help people of color find and keep track of the mental health resources in their community.
Have any shoutouts you want to give to individuals or organizations that made an impact on you?
I love collaboration! Some of my favorite active mental health advocates include Davia Roberts of Redefine Enough and the AFFIRM Podcast, Myisha T. Hill of Brown Sisters Speak, Julia Nguyen of if-me.org, and Ashley Freeman of Resilient Ashley.
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) does amazing outreach year-round through its many chapters and annual walk. I also love what 9Mark offers for Christians in crisis. Therapy for Black Girls is an online directory of therapists and psychologists founded by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford.