It’s not easy to talk about mental health, but it is important- very important. That’s why Daniel O’Mahony and Michal Sikora created Da Silly Heads, a set of cartoon characters that represent their experiences with specific mental health conditions.
The last few months have been very challenging, and at times like this it’s especially important to take care of our mental health. So Missy.ie caught up with Daniel and Michal to talk about Da Silly Heads, mental health, and advocacy apparel.
Introducing Da Silly Heads
Da Silly Heads, as seen on the colourful Instagram account @dasillyheads, are Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Mood Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. They began as tongue-in-cheek drawings on scraps of paper that helped Michal and Daniel express their experiences, and then came to life on Instagram where they now help everyone who discovers them put a face on mental health.
We all know it’s important to talk about mental health, but unfortunately, it can still be difficult and scary to do so. Seeing Da Silly Heads come to life can help us acknowledge their presence in our heads. It can also help us remember that they don’t have to control our whole lives- they are just silly heads.
Meet Michal and Daniel, creators of Da Silly Heads
Michal and Daniel were friends and classmates when they started Da Silly Heads. They both had their own, different experiences with mental health and shared the opinion that it should be easier to talk about these things. They hope their work will help create that change.
“I observed that there was a lack of continuous, visible mental health advocacy within my community as I struggled with my mental wellbeing,” says Daniel, “I’d always thought to myself if I could just see one person displaying his or her support for what I was feeling, it would make me feel part of the community without even saying a word. At the time I wasn’t confident enough to open up about emotions, but if I had seen this support on a consistent basis it would no doubt have motivated me to seek help sooner.”
They’re creating advocacy apparel, to help us all show our support for mental health
Suffering through a time of poor mental health can be very lonely and difficult. Daniel and Michal wanted to create something that people could see out and about in their daily lives, that would remind them they’re not alone. So, they’re creating advocacy apparel, a range of hats and other items that you can wear to show your support for mental health. A full range of products is coming to their website later this year.
“Mental health is a very broad term. So is mental illness, and although everyone is different, we felt people may relate to some of our characters more than others,” says Michal, “We experienced this instant bond with people that were going through similar mental setbacks and wanted to create a visual tool to maximise the positive impact. Selected ranges of our apparel will be linked directly to these characters to give people a chance to advocate in a more direct way.”
They hope that little by little, we can all work together and make positive changes for the future
“Aspects such as age, gender, environment, nationality, beliefs, upbringing and much, much more can contribute to negative misconceptions of mental health to a greater or lesser extent. In many cases it can be fear of being judged, excluded or isolated,” say Michal and Daniel, “Speaking about mental health, which may include feelings and emotions such as loneliness, fear, worry, insecurity, gratitude, happiness, excitement, and contentment to name a few, should be as natural as talking about the latest soccer game, TikTok video, or fashion trends. We strive to get to the stage where people start developing self-resilience and confidence in partaking in dialogue before mental health problems present themselves.”
If you’re feeling down or coping with something difficult, it’s important to have someone you can talk to. Anyone can call the Samaritans, any time, for free on 116 123. For more information visit https://www.samaritans.org/?nation=ireland
Jigsaw are also here to help Irish young people. See their website www.jigsaw.ie for more information on mental health support.
We also have a list of Helplines.