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Tribe Member Spotlight: Graphic Designer & Mental Health Advocate Geli Balcruz

Geli Balcruz is an graphic designer who combines her specialization in psychology and her passion for art o make mental health concepts more digestible and easier to grasp.

For her portfolio week in the Shillington School of Graphic design, Geli decided to do a visual respresentation of Smiling Depression - a term describing someone living with depression on the inside while appearing happy or content on the outside.

1. What compelled you to focus on this topic?

Mental health and well being is something that is always close to my heart. At that time, I had inner battles that I chose to fight alone, but despite it being a hard time for me, I did not allow myself to show sad emotions because The “happy geli” image that I established with the people around me matters the most. Dealing with depression during adolescence, I made this campaign with the goal to remind people that it’s okay to remove the masks we use to hide our emotions because we are not alone and that emotions make you human.

2. What made you decide to use your talent in graphic design to generate more awareness about important mental health concepts?

Any form of art has always been a way to express the emotions and feelings that we show and we hide. It is a catalyst for healing as it gives us the courage to show the wounds we tend to hide. By giving your emotions and feelings a louder voice through art, it liberates you from the burden of having to carry it on your own and allowing others to walk on that healing journey with you.

3. What is your Life’s why?

I believe that in every season of life we go through, and every layer of emotions we feel, and every situations we experience, we emerge into a version of ourselves that we were not aware was possible. Mental health will always be a priority for me because so many individuals live in the shadow of fear and my hope is to shed light so that people will be seen, heard, appreciated, and loved for who they are in order to live a life of truth.

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