drawing mental health Kristen Palana

A New Drawing on Mental Health:

October 10th is designated as World Mental Health Day by The World Health Organization.

My new drawing was made for this recent initiative and is a collaboration with Malawian poet and activist, Tendai Shaba who wrote the popular poem, “Behind the Smile.” 

This drawing on mental health is a visual interpretation of his words. It features the healing behind the smile in the form of flowers used to treat anxiety and depression such as lavender, chamomile, sunflower, a California poppy, and jasmine.

drawing mental health with Tendai Shaba and Kristen Palana
Our meet-up with the almost-done drawing

Behind the Smile

Behind the smile (a poem by Tendai Shaba)

We all feel stressed, anxious
Frustrated, disappointed
We all go through difficult times
Those difficult times that help shape
Our way of thinking
Times of loss and failure
Those moments where we
Rediscover ourselves
Smiles where the pain is concealed
Hurt, anxiety, depression
And addiction, all concealed
I pray that we smile again
I pray that we heal behind the smile

Every year since 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) has organized a global campaign for World Mental Health Day. The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) announced the theme for World Mental Health Day 2022, which is ‘Make mental health for all a global priority”.

Tendai Shaba, poet
Mr. Tendai Shaba with the drawing

We will be doing more word and image collaborations in the future.
Check out his work at tendaishaba.com.

If you’d like to see a bit of the making-of video of Behind the Smile, you can see it here at Instagram.

And if you’d like to see the new drawing up close, come have a look here. I just added it to my website a few days ago.

drawing about mental health- Behind the Smile

Have a wonderful day and week. Wishing you all the best!


P.S. My 2023 COLOR LOVE Calendar is finally ready! Come check it out over here. Stay on top of all work in progress by following me on Facebook.


Aw. Literally, as I was writing this blog post, Tendai sent me a photo of a lovely gift he made for me. I was completely surprised at such a thoughtful gesture.

Thanks, Tendai! You are too kind. To more fruitful collaborations moving forward!

poem by Tendai Shaba