If you walk by New York’s Saks Fifth Avenue any time through March 2, you will find the store’s windows covered with the words, “We are not alone.” There is one word on each window in bold graffiti-style paint; a scrolling screen underneath provides the number for the Crisis Text Line. It says, “If you, or someone you know needs help, Crisis Text Line is available by texting “GO” to 741-741.”
This window display was created in honor of the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation, whose mission is to make mental health a priority in every community. The charity hopes to increase awareness about mental health, along with improving access to care and promoting tools and skills to improve mental health for those who need it. Since its founding in 2017, the foundation has invested more than $3 million in mental health initiatives.
“The Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation is committed to increasing awareness of mental health in every community and improving access to valuable tools and resources,” said Marc Metrick, president of Saks Fifth Avenue. “Mental health is one of the most important issues of our lifetime, yet many people are afraid to speak up or seek help. Through our Fifth Avenue window displays, we see a tremendous opportunity to ignite the conversation around this crucial issue and further our foundation’s mission to drive progress and change.”
The Foundation wanted a meaningful design to depict their cause publicly. To do so, Saks partnered with Fountain House, an organization where people living with mental illness learn to work together to regain confidence, connect with others, and find greater independence in their social lives and careers. Osvaldo Cruz, an artist known for his use of spray paint, created the Saks window display. His work was also displayed in the Fountain House Gallery.
“‘We Are Not Alone’ speaks to the most challenging barriers of living with mental health issues—social isolation, shame and stigma—and was the name of the original founding group of Fountain House,” read a statement from Saks.
The department store also partnered with the Crisis Text Line for this initiative. Given that one in five American adults suffer from mental illness each year, the Crisis Text Line offers free, 24/7, confidential support for these individuals via text. The non-profit offers help through communication, connecting individuals with trained Crisis Counselors. The scrolling ticker on the bottom of the Saks windows reminds passersby that help is always just a text away.