Each year, it is the communities' creativity and innovation that capture the essence of what Awareness Day hopes to achieve.
Over the last four years, hundreds of community-level events have taken place on Awareness Day, ranging from book readings and fundraising activities to workshops on children's mental health to a talent show and a "human wave." The common thread to all of these events is the coming together of the community to understand and appreciate how children with mental health needs can and do thrive in their communities.
Here is a snapshot of some of the activities held in communities across the country for Awareness Day 2010.
Access Initiative of Champaign County held a screening of "The Soloist" for Awareness Day. Before the screening there was entertainment from a local jazz band. After the film there was a discussion panel with a variety of guests associated with mental health issues. Also at the Mental Health Center, Jason Finkelman presented a workshop for children with African and Brazilian instruments.
Alabama Department of Mental Health, The ECCHCO Project partnered with the State-wide Family Network, Alabama Family Ties (AFT) for the past 8 years to promote children’s mental health in Alabama. During the Annual AFT Conference, children participated in an art contest and the winner's art will be used on the Children's Mental Health Week posters for next year. The art winner also got a chance to meet the Governor at his signing of the Proclamation for Children’s Mental Health Week. The program also partnered with the community mental health providers to support their efforts for local community mental health awareness activities that coordinate with Children's Mental Health Week.
Alamance Alliance for Children and Families sponsored an Awareness Day event at a local library in Alamance County for young children aged birth to five and their families. The program had a local children's author do a reading and book signing at the library. The event also had a sing-a-long for the children with a musician. Resources from Alamance Alliance were distributed at the event and the Alamance Partnership for Children was also there to provide information on their literacy programs. The purpose of the event was to promote reading to young children and to provide parents with information about the Alamance Alliance.
Allegheny County participated in "My Feelings Are a Work of Art" on Awareness Day. Children ages 3-8 used art as a medium to express emotions in order to tackle the broad subject of children's mental health.
American Indian Center of Chicago, COC LEEP (Leading, Engaging, Empowering, and providing for Chicago Native Families) coordinated a large event to celebrate children's wellness for Awareness Day. In keeping with the national theme they used studio arts to interact with kids and their families. The event was an after school event that had activity stations and parent talking circles. The program also had a resource fair with providers to present materials about programs and services offered. The event was followed by a feast and a Native Language demonstration and a mini pow wow.
BC-SCORES hosted an Awareness Day event at the local mall on May 6. The event included a slideshow of “My Feelings Are a Work of Art” artwork created by children from a local school to educate youth attending the event about expressing feelings.
Butte County Connecting Circles of Care hosted a mental health/healthy lifestyle choices fair for Awareness Day. The program promoted wearing green on May 6 to show support for children's mental health. The program also launched a billboard campaign promoting their youth-guided website, Ourmentalhealthmatters.com, which launched in May. On Awareness Day they participated in "My Feelings Are a Work of Art," where several teachers and parents facilitated discussion about healthy expressions of emotion.
Central MA Communities of Care Youth and Family Center hosted a “Poetry Coffee House” on May 6. Youth, caregivers and providers were all invited to attend the Awareness Day event. The program invited all attendees to listen to and/or share poetry reflecting the experiences of a young person involved with the mental health system. The program created a mural that all participants were invited to contribute to that will remain on display at the Center as well as be available for future display in the community and for use by its Youth Leadership group. In addition, the Youth and Family Center collaborated with NAMI MA, the Shine Initiative, PAL of Central MA, Alternatives, and Families and Communities Together in the creation of a region-wide calendar of special events celebrating May is Mental Health Month, with a Kickoff Event that was held in April. The kickoff was facilitated by Senator Jennifer Flanagan, Aude Hening, MD., and Richard Breault of the Department of Mental Health.
Chautaugqua Tapestry joined with the Post Journal Newspaper to have a 25 day campaign for Awareness Month. This opportunity was open to all children and families that are partners in SOC. Each partner had a small ad that borders the full page, and each day a partner was highlighted. They also had a Green Ribbon Gala where they had a spaghetti dinner with creative puzzle activities for the kids. The Awareness Theatre Program provided entertainment using drama as a way to educate people about various problems in the community. The program also hosted a family night with various activities for families. There was a shared meal, and then stories and crafts for children in grades K-5. Children in grades 6-8 had a lesson on the way weight is perceived in the media through popular TV shows and movies.
Circle of H.O.P.E. hosted an Art Expo in a downtown venue featuring the art from their "My Feelings Are a Work of Art" activity.
Community Circle of Care organized a two-day mental health conference for Awareness Day that was held on May 5 and 6 featuring noted child psychiatrist Dr. Christopher Okiishi. The conference featured topics including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar, and reactive attachment disorders. A local US Army Veteran, author and PTSD survivor, Jake Krapfl, spoke at the conference on May 5.
Delaware's B.E.S.T. for Young Children and Their Families involved 22 local Rita's Water Ice locations in the Delaware Division of Child Mental Health Services' 6th annual “Get the Scoop on Mental Health Campaign,” where a free scoop of Rita's and children's mental health information is provided to the community at participating locations statewide.
Family CARE worked with Star 105, a local radio station, to provide a daily "Mental Health Moment in May" update that highlighted Awareness Day and children's mental health. The Northwest Herald-Shaw Media, the local newspaper, produced a 12-page special section to highlight May is Mental Health Month and Awareness Day that appeared in the May 2 edition and was distributed to 37,000 people. The program participated in the "My Feelings Are a Work of Art" Art Action. Family CARE also collaborated with Head Start and school district pre-K programs throughout McHenry County.
Focus New Mexico, Sierra Vista Counseling hosted an Awareness Day open house on May 1 for people in the community to drop by for games, prizes, and food. The program also had a training program for adoptive and foster families; childcare and lunch were provided by the NM FIESTA project. The program also had a live radio remote broadcast so that people could stop by to speak on the radio about their programs, services they provide, and/or the importance of mental health and early intervention.
Hand in Hand, Mental Health Connection displayed art exhibits featuring artwork from area pre-school children with the theme, "How I Like to Play with my Parents." The program was also working on obtaining city and county proclamations.
Harris County Systems of Hope presented a dance video to promote mental health awareness. The "Green Ribbon Dance" video premiered at a "green" carpet screening at the Houston Children's Museum on May 6. Community leaders, families, providers, partners and the media were invited to the premiere. The video will be uploaded onto the Systems of Hope YouTube Channel and the marketing team will work to promote the video on new media resources.
Impact Ingham County hosted a youth art show, a "no talent needed" talent show, and a family fun festival to celebrate Awareness Day. They also had radio public service announcements and resolutions from the Ingham Board of commissioners and the Lansing City Council.
JOURNEY (Journey to Successful Living) hosted an event in downtown Cincinnati in Fountain Square. JOURNEY also developed a PSA video which will run on the JumboTron throughout the month on May. On May 13 the program participated in the national green ribbon campaign to promote mental health awareness.
Kalamazoo Wraps System of Care hosted local events to address children's mental health issues and topics that are specific to the Kalamazoo community. They also participated in the Post NOW E-viral Campaign and "When I Grow Up" Youth Action.
Kansas Project LAUNCH hosted a series of webinars, one each day during the week of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. The topics include maternal depression, infant mental health endorsement, development screening in primary care settings, a public health approach to children's mental health, and promoting positive mental health through nutrition and physical activity.
Karuk Tribe Circles of Care Project hosted a local event to address the children's mental health issues/topics that are specific to its community.
Kent County, Community Family Partnership hosted an Up2U Awareness Day Festival on May 8 to celebrate Awareness Day. The program had a free family carnival where a local artist worked with the community on a community mural. They are also holding a poster contest and the entries will be displayed at the event.
KY SEED participated in some exhibit opportunities to spread the word about National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. The program distributed a calendar for May that featured a calendar on the top half of the page and stickers on the bottom of the page for expressing feelings and promoting children's mental health. KY SEED will also distribute posters featuring the Post NOW messages and promote wearing green on May 6 for children's mental health.
Louisiana Youth Enhanced Services hosted a community breakfast/panel discussion for parents and local service providers to meet and mingle. The program will be continuing their Awareness Day celebration in June with events to read to local school kids and a children's mental health walk. The program also participated in the "When I Grow Up" Youth Action and "My Feelings Are a Work of Art" Art Action.
Lower Naugatuck Valley Parent Child Resource Center’s CEO spoke at the Rotary Club on May 6 to celebrate Awareness Day. The program hosted a positive parenting program workshop and displayed artwork from children in an Intensive Therapy Program.
Lummi, System of Care held a daylong seafood feast with arts, crafts, story tellers, and booths with community resources to celebrate Awareness Day. They also posted to their Facebook and blog sites.
MD CARES & Rural CARES hosted a reception/celebration honoring poster artist in Annapolis with the First Lady of Maryland. The programs invited the Baltimore Mayor to offer a similar honor/proclamation supporting children's mental health at City Hall during the first week in May, schedule permitting. MD CARES & Rural CARES partnered with the Maryland Art Therapy Association on their Art Action activity at the American Visionary Art Museum.
Mississippi Transitional Outreach Program (TOP) partnered with Mississippi Families as Allies for Children’s Mental Health, Inc. to sponsor a reception on May 6 to recognize family partners, respite providers, community leaders, businesses and key legislators that support mental health issues. The program also partnered with Mississippi Families as Allies to sponsor a Children’s Mental Health Resource Fair at the Jackson Medical Mall. The short program included a reading of the proclamation from the governor, the Mississippi Families as Allies Director explaining the purpose of Children Mental Health Awareness Month, comments by a youth and family member, along with a performance by a local youth choir. Throughout May the program conducted a "Paint your Community Green" campaign to encourage businesses, schools, city/county agencies and organizations in their communities to display special ordered "Children Mental Health Matters" green ribbons around trees, on doors or other visible locations. This campaign was initiated by commUNITY cares as a local event before it was decided to expand the campaign on a statewide level.
Monroe County ACCESS hosted a youth-driven awards event on May 6 with its community partners for Awareness Day. The awards recognized youth with emotional and behavioral challenges who have shown perseverance, courage and a positive attitude in the pursuit of their dreams. Awards also recognized family members and other adults in the community who have gone "above and beyond" in their support, advocacy and mentoring of youth. A new award was added this year to recognize the efforts of a human services organization that supports and advocates for youth with mental health issues and has shown to exemplify System of Care values. The program was planned by a community events committee with the youth taking the lead on developing the event program and managing the event with guidance from the Youth Coordinator and the event committee, including Monroe County ACCESS staff.
Mule Town Family Network hosted a "My Feelings Are a Work of Art" activity. During the activity teachers and parents facilitated discussions about how children can express emotions in a healthy way with others. They also participated in Post NOW, where they sent out artwork each month through Awareness Day for promotional materials.
Nara Northwest, Nak Nu Wit coordinated and collaborated with Wraparound Oregon: Early Childhood and other agencies in the greater Portland metro area for Awareness Day. The program provided a drum for the event as well as Native American dancers. Additionally, Nak Nu Wit contributed to the food provided for the event by having a local vendor provide Indian Tacos and fry bread. The program invited youth and families who regularly attend their weekly youth night. The program also set up a table with information about the Nak Nu Wit Program.
Nassau County Family Support System of Care hosted an Awareness Day celebration at their Family Resource Center. The event was an open house for the community to come see the center. The program hosted an information fair, youth art expression, activities and a reception.
New Mexico Department of Health/Family Health Bureau/Child Health Program passed out 2000 copies of their book "Feelings" in English and Spanish for Pre-K and Head Start children with a letter to parents. The book serves as a guide to talk about feelings. The program also plans to make a copy available electronically on their website.
North Hudson Community Action Corporation, Early Head Start/Head Start had all of its Head Start centers participate in Awareness Day by having all of the classes create a piece of art symbolizing that their feelings are a work of art. The program also plans to invite the parents/guardians to be involved in this process and provide mental health literature, both English and Spanish, in their backpacks for parents/guardians to review on their own that may contain community resources that are available to them.
One Community One Family worked with the Head Start classes throughout their region to celebrate Awareness Day by hosting a coloring contest. The program mobilized local affiliates to conduct events and media outreach by hosting a provider fair for all service providers. One Community One Family was also working with several local governments to sign proclamations for the event.
PB&J Family Services participated in Art Day to celebrate Awareness Day. They used Art Day as a catalyst for participation in other community-based cultural events throughout New Mexico that were highlighted in literature available at Art Day.
Project ABC hosted an activity designed to produce two public service announcements (PSA) that focus on early childhood mental health. The first PSA will focus on infants and the second PSA will focus on pre-school aged children. Project ABC also created and distributed a companion pamphlet to their existing "What is Infant Mental Health?" pamphlet. The companion piece is titled, "California Revised Training Guidelines and Personnel Competencies for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health."
Project Connect hosted an open house in each one of the three counties that it serves. The program also participated in the Post NOW E-viral Campaign.
Project Ho'omohala created their annual sign and waved it at the State Capitol for the Governor and Mayor's Proclamation. They were also interested in developing a radio public service announcement that will feature youth and children sharing their stories of hope.
Project Karinu celebrated Awareness Day with a proclamation signing at the Governor's office, and in the days leading up to the event they had radio spots with mental health trivia and interviews with newspapers. They had a family fair on Awareness Day, with tables of various organizations and art shows. After Awareness Day they plan to have a dove release and lantern launch for children's mental health.
Protecting the Future-Children's Mental Health Initiative hosted an "Unmask the Stigma" event. The event had motivational speakers, an awareness walk, health fair and balloon release. This event specifically targeted Indian families to empower them to have a voice!
Rhode Island Positive Educational Partnership (RIPEP) promoted National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day by encouraging birth to three health care providers, early childhood settings and elementary schools across the state to participate and implement creative activities and events based on the national activities, including Art Action and Youth Action. RIPEP selected three premiere sites to highlight events and activities on May 6. These were sites that have been working in partnership with RIPEP that represented birth to three providers, Head Start sites or elementary schools.
Southeast Mental Health System of Care (SEMHSOC) hosted events at the local library and cinema to promote children’s mental health and Awareness Day. The program participated in the Post NOW E-viral Campaign.
Stars for Children's Mental Health hosted a "My Feelings Are a Work of Art" event where parents, teachers, and others had an opportunity to have conversations with children about emotions and healthy ways of sharing those emotions with others. They also participated in Post NOW, the "When I Grow Up" Youth Action and had youth submit artwork for Awareness Day posters and promotional materials.
Thrive System of Care conducted and participated in several Awareness Day activities leading up to May 6. During January and March they promoted Awareness Day by advocating with representatives for alternatives to budget cuts for mental health services; shared personal stories of how receiving services has a positive ripple effect in their families and communities, and leads to health and hope for their future where they can give back to the community by becoming a nurse, medical assistant, social worker, etc. In April youth were instructed in the creation of green duct tape boutonnieres for Awareness Day and other duct tape items to sell to raise funds at racing events. Thrive Systems of Care discussed Youth M.O.V.E. with Ryun Anderson on April 27 at Community Collaborative in Lewiston, ME. As well as discussed Youth M.O.V.E. with Brianne Masselli on May 1 on a WGAN-radio roundtable about "Maine Points." Thrive System of Care also hosted a two-hour event on May 1 for 30 exhibitors featuring several consumer spokespeople. The Youth M.O.V.E. campaign hosted a "Super Mini-Cup car race" in Richmond, ME, on May 6 with a kick-off featuring driver/spokesman Travis Dunbar. The program also participated in the Post NOW E-viral Campaign.
United American Indian Involvement, Inc - Seven Generations Department Child and Family Services hosted a Mental Health Conference on Healthy Development in Early Childhood, which included speakers from Project ABC and the Indian Child Welfare Act, cultural/youth Native American dancing and drumming performances, and free CEU's for attending. The program also held a National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day Banquet Dinner in honor of its clients and families. They had a youth presentation, Native American youth dancing and drumming performances, special guest speaker, Native American comedian, raffles, and a special Native American honoring/awards ceremony for families who have shown progress. The program collaborated with over 10 partners to outreach to a larger audience, posted its Awareness Day event on Facebook, emailed information about Awareness Day to multiple sources, and wrote articles to submit to the local media. The program distributed Awareness Day fans and programs to its partners, including: American Indian Children's Council, American Indian Counseling Center, Torrez-Martinez Tribal Assistance for Needy Families, U.S. Census, Department of Children and Family Services, LAUSD- Title Seven Indian Education Program, APLA- Red Circle Project, LA County Probation, American Indian Healing Center, Project ABC, MCH, Southern California Indian Center, LAUSD, UC Irvine, UCLA, Children's Hospital and SEIU.
Urban Trails San Francisco conducted outreach to community partners and families for the purpose of building relationships with the Family and Child Guidance Clinic. The program will host an evening celebration on May 5 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Friendship House, one of its community partner's sites. The event highlighted Urban Trails San Francisco’s Native American culture as well as its wellness and holistic approach to systems of care. To increase community awareness about the availability of new services for Native American families, the program hosted a community provider meeting, a public agency partner meeting and launched a media campaign.
The Vermont Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health had a large banner hanging from their porch the week of Awareness Day as well as green balloons with tags on them had facts about children's mental health in Vermont. The program also made a postcard for their legislature and other professionals regarding National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. The postcard included a green ribbon and a story from Vermont.
Vermont Youth in Transition planned a local event to address children’s mental health in its community. The program also participated in the Post NOW E-viral Campaign and "When I Grow Up" Youth Action.
Washington Co. Oregon National Alliance of Mental Illness, Family/Youth Connection participated in the "My Feelings Are a Work of Art" Art Action and "When I Grow Up" Youth Action. The program posted both children’s events in its electronic newsletter and on its website. This reached over fifty providers and the local school.
Wraparound Orange planned a Children's Mental Health Awareness Day kick-off event. The event served as a celebratory and informational event whereby families and community partners could learn more about the new initiative. The event was also used as a recruitment tool for engaging families in an advisory capacity throughout several stages of the initiative.
Wraparound Oregon: Early Childhood of Multnomah, Oregon, participated in two major events on Awareness Day. The first event included utilizing the "My Feelings Are a Work of Art" Art Action and "When I Grow Up" Youth Action in eight classrooms within three schools. Over 200 first, second and third grade students participated in the "My Feelings Are a Work of Art" activity. Sixth and seventh grade students also participated in the activities and talked about mental health situations that impact them on a day to day basis. A small group of youth from each grade presented during an assembly to the entire student body on what they learned and had their classmates participate in the "When I Grow Up” Youth Action.
Yakima Valley System of Care hosted an Awareness Day event on May 8 in a new park in their community. The program organized dance shows, open mike performances, sports, arts and crafts, and a hand printing activity to pledge to promote positive mental health from birth to adulthood.
The following programs also participated in Awareness Day 2010:
• Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Circles of Care