Interview: Poetyk Prynx Talks THE SANCTUARY: A Candlelight Event for the Well-being of Mental Health and Sanity
Poetyk Prynx (pronounced Poetic Prince) is a notable figure within the poetry scene. Over a couple of years, he has grown his poetry skills to a point where he is able to host his own events. In 2015, he organized his first event “Kaleidoscope’’, an ‘’interactive show and a soiree on my birthday that includes all forms of art being performed in between discourses’’. In 2017, he staged ”The Call”, a hangout for creatives to meet, discuss and create bonds that would foster growth and trigger useful conversation among creatives.
A multi-talented creative-he plays the saxophone and guitar and is a self-taught illustrator- Prynx doesn’t confine his skills to the arts alone.
He is also a health advocate, with special interest in mental health. He’s also a member of The Rheumatology Initiative, TRI Ghana (@trighana), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education, advocacy and research into the autoimmune rheumatic conditions. According to Prynx, his advocacy, especially in mental health was born out of personal experience. ‘It was from spells of depression, being suicidal with two attempts, inferiority complex and not finding the help I needed. These pushed me into wanting to create a sphere where people who need such help wouldn’t have to have it hard like I did’’.
This Saturday 17th March, 2018, Prynx would be holding another event dubbed “THE SANCTUARY”. Describing the event as ‘a safe space for the well-being of sanity and mental health’, “THE SANCTUARY” would incorporate both poetry, music and incredible conversation around the subject that many shy away from discussing or blatantly deny.
I caught up with Poetyk Prynx to talk about the idea behind the ”THE SANCTUARY”, mental health in Ghana and what inspires him.
First, how’s the preparation going for the event?
So far so, good. All the needed logistics needed for a successful vigil are being put in place. Got some friends helping out. I spent the whole day today working on some of the stuff that will be printed out.
This is not your first time organizing events, mostly on your own. What are some of the peculiar challenges that you face?
I would say funding is most peculiar challenge I usually face anytime I put an event together, as I am doing it mostly on my own, like you said. Then there’s the issue of me exhausting myself financially, emotionally and mentally, trying to get things done on my own.
What drives me to do all these is passion and my love for the arts as a medium of expression; a tool of change and the hope I have in humanity.
It would be fair then to ask what drives you?
This is probably a cliché thing to say but to be very honest what drives me to do all these is passion and my love for the arts as a medium of expression; a tool of change and the hope I have in humanity. I have this bigger picture for the art community (in Ghana and Africa especially) and social welfare, mentally in my head, that I wake up to every morning and I ask myself how do I contribute my token to make this bigger picture a reality.
You tweeted the idea for the sanctuary. And how you’re on course to see it happen. What made you put it together?
A day before the day I put out the idea of the “Vigil”, I made a thread asking people to join in the said thread to say something nice and positive that could possibly lift up someone, because I’ve noticed that there’s a sudden wave of frustration and depression that has hit a number of people. The thread was an effort to reach out to people like that. The response to that thread was quite unexpected. I didn’t think many people needed a thread like that and that many people are willing to spread love to whoever needs it. Next day, I had the idea and I was like “why don’t we have a vigil and spread this same love and light among ourselves?” And it all began. This morning I realize all this happened in one day.
Imagine a #YouAreNotAlone night vigil, just candle lights and flashlights, as @_RiaBoss_ Serenades us with her FIND YOUR FREE songs, for one hour, non stop.
socks for everyone.
Blanket available— . (@Poetyk_Prynx) February 22, 2018
You’ve been involved in promoting mental health and other health related initiatives. What inspired your interest and what have you learnt through your involvement?
My personal experiences did, from spells of depression, being suicidal with two attempts, inferiority complex and not finding the help I needed. These pushed me to wanting to create a sphere where people who need such help wouldn’t have to have it hard like I did. And by being involved in all these, personally I have learnt to deal with my situations better than before. Also I’ve learnt Ghana has a long way to go when it comes to the issue of mental health. We hear this all the time but trivialize it. I’m re-sounding it. We have a long way to go and we should tackle it.
‘Ghana has a long way to go’. The society, the people, the government. Where does your observation lie?
My observations lie in my day to day conversations with people and also how people respond to events and discourses that has to do with mental health.
I get excited anytime I think of the fact that Ria Boss is on the bill for the Vigil. Ria’s music is very soulful, well crafted, a voice for years, and full of feels that uplifts a listener, and she has a whole EP that focuses on self-freedom which is in a long run tied to mental health. She really is a perfect artist for a vigil like this.
What were some of the things that shocked you during these encounters?
Statements like “It’s all up in your head” “Depression no dey barb black people especially if you be man”, “you are stupid if you are thinking of taking your life”. Also, one time I had a “who sent you?” while I was running one of my campaigns. However on the brighter side, I keep getting shocked by the number of people who offer to help when I put stuff like this together and also by the number of people who open up on issues like this
About the vigil, how easy was it to get someone like Ria Boss on the bill. What’s about her music that made her the perfect artist of choice?
Ria Boss is also a great advocate of mental health activism and an event like this resonated very well with her and she signed up for it. I must say I didn’t see it coming. I get excited anytime I think of the fact that Ria Boss is on the bill for the Vigil. Ria’s music is very soulful, well crafted, a voice for years, and full of feels that uplifts a listener. And she has a whole EP that focuses on self-freedom which is in a long run tied to mental health. She really is a perfect artist for a vigil like this.
As the organizer, what impact do you envisage for The Sanctuary and also, what are your expectations?
Ultimately a safe place for everyone and that this will be the beginning of many of such vigils to come. For that night I am expecting that those who come out for the event, those who will join in through the live streaming will feel at home and someway somehow find the help they need and deserve.
”THE SANCTUARY” is scheduled for Saturday 17th March at Serallio, Osu