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Limerick Strand Hotel addressing the Elephant in the Room with new art installation

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Limerick Strand Hotel is addressing the “Elephants in the Room” through a new art installation by Limerick artist Una Heaton

Limerick Strand Hotel is addressing the “Elephants in the Room” through a new art installation by Limerick artist Una Heaton aimed at destigmatising mental health issues and starting conversations

Limerick Strand Hotel is addressing the "Elephants in the Room" through a new art installation by Limerick artist Una Heaton
Limerick Strand Hotel hosts one of over 30 “Elephants in the Room”, this one hand-painted by Limerick artist Una Heaton

As part of an amazing initiative aimed at destigmatising mental health issues and starting conversations, Limerick Strand Hotel is addressing the “Elephant in the Room” by unveiling a new art installation.

Limerick artist Una Heaton hand-painted the four-foot elephant entitled “Stand up and Fight” which depicts some of Munster Rugby’s greats and greatest achievements, serving as a poignant symbol of hope and understanding.

The piece is one of 30 as part of the initiative and is on display in the Limerick Strand Hotel lobby, a hotel spokesperson saying, “The significance of the ‘Elephant in the Room is bringing greater awareness to people’s mental health issues, so that the elephant becomes a symbol of hope.


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“By displaying an Elephant in the Limerick Strand Hotel it shows that we are trying to create a safe, supportive environment so that people feel more confident and less alone when speaking about mental health issues.”

The concept of “Elephants in the Room” is to produce a series of professionally sculptured white baby elephants of approximately 4 feet in height and length which will proudly stand on a wooden plinth with an accompanying brass commitment plate.

The elephants will then be decorated by professional artists and well-known Irish celebrities to create fantastic works of art which organisations and corporations can display in their reception areas and boardrooms to showcase their Corporate Social Responsibility values and to identify themselves as a business leader that actively supports mental health awareness in their workplace.

The initiative is spearheaded by former professional rugby player, coach and analyst, Brent Pope, who has called on every business, organisation, and person in Ireland to help raise mental health awareness while supporting charities.

He says, “I believe that all of us have been touched by mental health issues at some stage during our lives. It may be our own personal journey, a partner, sibling or even a friend, but we all know of people who have suffered or are still suffering.”

Speaking about the initiative he said, “This is a national effort to get everyone talking about the elephant in the room; mental health. Let’s try and start the conversation around mental health issues, from the schoolyard to the board room. Because regardless of age, sex and status, we all need to feel more comfortable about discussing our vulnerabilities. It is no longer acceptable to just ‘suck it up,’ ‘get on with life’ or to ‘deal with it’, clichés I was often told.”

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.