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Atomium dons beanie for mental health campaign

13:13 11/02/2021

The Atomium is wearing a knit cap, and not just because it’s so very cold. The bright orange beanie was set atop the highest ball as part of a mental health awareness campaign.

Te Gek!? is an initiative focused on breaking down barriers to talking about psychological problems, from stress and anxiety to depression and loneliness. It takes on themes often seen as taboo, such as self-harm, eating disorders and addiction.

Launched by the Flemish agency for mental health, Te Gek!? regularly carries out campaigns to draw attention to the fact that one in four people will struggle with some form of mental health problem at some point in their lives.

The knit cap is a symbol of ‘taking care of our heads’ and making what’s inside visible. The same cap worn by the Atomium can be bought by the rest of us; it was designed by Belgian Olympic athlete Elodie Ouedraogo.

Elodie Ouedraogo

The campaign reminded Ouedraogo (pictured) that top athletes and their coaches are obsessed with their bodies, which can have a strong effect on their brains. “We were so focused on the outside of our bodies, which had to be as strong as possible through extremely tough training,” she told VRT. “But what’s going on inside is also crucial. If your head doesn’t want to play along, you won’t get the performance you’re looking for. And why should we not be able to show what’s on the inside?”

The cap and matching neck warmer can be bought on the Te Gek!? website (it comes in other colours, too), where a recording of the livestream of the launch of the campaign can also be seen. It includes a talk with Ouedraogo, readings by author Lize Spit and discussions with psychologists. The website and livestream are all in Dutch.

Photos, from top: ©Te Gek!?, ©Unik-ID

Written by Lisa Bradshaw