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Community Events Planned for Awareness Day 2013

Each year, it is the communities' creativity and innovation that capture the essence of what Awareness Day hopes to achieve.

Each year, more than 1,100 community-level events take place in honor of Awareness Day, ranging from book readings to workshops on children's mental health, and from a talent show to a "human wave." The common thread of all of these events is the coming together of communities to understand and appreciate how children with mental health needs can and do thrive in their communities.

Below are highlights of what communities planned for Awareness Day 2013. Fill out the Feedback Form (PDF - 226 KB) to tell SAMHSA and the Caring for Every Child's Mental Health Campaign team how you celebrated Awareness Day 2013.


Alabama Youth M.O.V.E. conducted a poster contest addressing children’s mental health, open to all Alabama youth, and mass-produced and distributed the winning poster statewide. The contest winner also attended Governor Bentley’s proclamation signing. Alabama Youth M.O.V.E. will distribute Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week information and facts to major TV, radio, and newspaper outlets across Alabama. The organization will also conduct an open house/awareness event at the main office.

RAM Early Childhood Services is planning to partner with Head Start on a National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day event that will incorporate music and art activities.


Boys and Girls Home of Alaska, Inc., plans to share information about youth mental health interventions at a local community health fair, hold an open house for other nonprofits and local officials, distribute ribbons for supporters to wear on May 9, request a proclamation be issued by both Governor Sean Parnell (Alaska) and Mayor Cleworth (Fairbanks, AK), and hold a carnival for youth.


Pascua Yaqui Tribe is planning wellness fairs on two separate days, a 2-week-long brown bag lunch series addressing child abuse prevention and children’s mental wellness, and a peace walk on National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.


Youth M.O.V.E. Arkansas’ Y.A.H.C. Chapter, Mississippi County Chapter, Ozarks Region Chapter, Craighead Chapter, Phillips County Chapter, and S.T.E.A.M. Chapter are planning multiple events for Awareness Day. A Regional Family Fun event on May 4 will feature activities such as stigma-busting, a ropes course, and craft-making. More than 250 people have already registered for the event. Other events will include a family fun day featuring two guest speakers; a mini-conference; and a knot blanket-making activity and discussion about mental health awareness.


Children’s Institute, Inc., is planning a “Me and My Shadow Family Fun Day,” an afternoon of fun, play, and exploration for children up to 5 years old and their families. Families will experience interactive activities; participate in physical and mental health screenings; and connect with service providers to support early development, promote attachment, and connect to resources in their community. This event, created in partnership with 10 community agencies, will be held at a park and be open to the public. Families have been invited to attend via early care and education centers, city service providers, mental health agencies, child welfare offices, and preschools.

Native American Health Center (NAHC)–Richmond is planning “NAHC Richmond’s Awareness Day Event,” an opportunity for youth and families to gather in the system of care’s Health Center. Activities will include a community barbecue; cultural activities such as painting, beading, drumming, and song; a photographic slide show that will show Native American Youth in Richmond’s urban community; and a Talking Circle that will allow youth to engage in conversation around mental health issues.

Native American Health Center, of Urban Trails San Francisco (UTSF), is planning a community event to showcase two video projects created in collaboration with UTSF youth. The first is a video that shows the launch of public transportation ads that the youth have been working on, and the second consists of UTSF youth-led interviews speaking about their own positive indigenous identities.

United American Indian Involvement, Inc.–Seven Generations Child and Family Counseling Services is planning a community recognition celebration to highlight the success of family and client participation. A youth and family art project, to be completed on the night of the event, will be displayed all month long in the agency.


American Art Therapy Association of Colorado is creating a “virtual art show” for Awareness Day. Children, teens, and adolescents will submit their artwork for the show, which will follow the national theme of resilience. The nonprofit organization affiliate also asked the mayors of Durango and Denver to declare May 9 National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.

Strong Minds Strong Futures, Colorado’s Trauma-Informed System of Care, is planning an Awareness Day event for May 6 to train people across the State of Colorado in Youth Mental Health First Aid, a public education course which teaches participants a five-step action plan to help a youth in a mental health crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care. The goal is to train enough Youth Mental Health First Aid providers on this day to set a Guinness World Record.


Delaware’s B.E.S.T. for Young Children and Their Families plans to host several Awareness Day activities. Activities will include: a 2-day professional development conference, an early care and education emotional wellness program and recognition, the 9th annual “Get the Scoop on Mental Health” event in partnership with Rita’s Water Ice, anti-bullying focused activities, and a Wilmington Blue Rocks “Go Green for Children’s Mental Health” game night.

District of Columbia

The Children's National Medical Center plans to host art activities around the facility for children and their families for Awareness Day 2013. There will also be children's mental health resources available for families, visitors, and staff.


Community Based Care of Central Florida: Seminole County, the county’s seven cities, and the Seminole County School Board are all proclaiming May as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month. On Awareness Day, the program and partners will host a booth at “Alive After Five,” a monthly street fair in downtown Sanford, FL (the county seat). Youth MOVE Seminole will host “Let’s MOVE: A Walk For Children’s Mental Health Awareness” on May 11 in Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs, featuring resource bags, T-shirts, and art displays for Heroes of Hope and “Shine Your Light on Mental Illness.” Community Based Care of Central Florida is also making an anti-stigma video to be shown in May.

Faces of Miami/Federation of Families Miami-Dade Chapter/Youth M.O.V.E. Miami will be hosting the third annual Youth and Family Empowerment Summit on May 18 at Florida International University. There will be presentations directed at youth, family members, and providers; artistic performances by youth and family members; and an art exhibit of works done by youth to celebrate resiliency, recovery, and dreams.

Federation of Families/Youth M.O.V.E. Miami through the Arts will be hosting the third annual Youth and Family Empowerment Summit on May 18 at Florida International University. There will be speakers for youth, family members, and community health providers; performances by youth and family members; and an art exhibit of works created by youth to celebrate resilience, recovery, and dreams. Youth and families will also share their recovery stories during the event. About 500 people are already registered for the summit. The art on display will all be dedicated to mental health stigma reduction. The summit will feature breakout sessions on topics including trauma and bullying.

NAMI Polk County, Inc., is planning a “Parents and Teachers as Allies” conference on May 11 at the Lakeland Center in Lakeland, FL. The 1-day conference will bring parents, teachers, and professionals together in a discussion around children’s mental health, early recognition of symptoms, and therapeutic interventions.

Orange County Government’s Wraparound Orange Children’s Mental Health Initiative is planning its third annual Healthy Minds Healthy Lives Family Fun Day signature event. The system of care is collaborating with the local community and various social service agencies to attend and disseminate invaluable resources to children and families in need. The event will cross-promote national themes, provide appropriate activities, cultural performances, a Teen Zone area, and raise awareness around stigma and children’s mental health.

SEDNET 7B Brevard is planning five days where it will distribute information on children’s mental health to community mental health agencies and school guidance staff. The program is also planning to lead a suicide awareness training and show the video, To This Day, to school guidance staff.

UF&Shands, The University of Florida Academic Health Center, is planning a community event to be held at the St. Alban’s Child Enrichment Center in Miami, FL, on May 11. The event, sponsored by the Florida Art Therapy Association, will include artistic activities, a book reading, art sales, music, and a booth hosted by Shands Art Therapies in Arts in Medicine and the Florida Art Therapy Association. In addition, the University of Florida’s Department of Pediatrics, Shands Arts Therapies in Arts in Medicine, University of Florida Psychiatry, University of Florida Psychology, and Art Therapy in the UF Eating Disorder Recovery Center are collaborating on an awareness event to be held at the UF&Shands Hospital on May 9. Among other things, the event will feature a hands-on art therapy activity that will eventually become a community-made art installation. And National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Shands Medical Psychology, and the VA Psychiatry Services are partnering with Sarkis Family Psychiatry and Clinical Trials to host a community-wide event to celebrate Awareness Day.


Creative Interventions, Inc., is planning an open house for community businesses, consumers, and their family members. Mayor Matthews will deliver a proclamation and the organization will provide handouts of mental health resources and refreshments.

Georgia Parent Support Network, Inc., is planning an art contest, open house, information fair, dinner, and a youth forum with Youth M.O.V.E. Governor Nathan Deal will sign a Proclamation for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and Georgia Parent Support Network, Inc. is posting daily to its social media sites and Web site, www.gpsn.org Exit Disclaimer.

Lookout Mountain Care Management Entity (LM CME) is currently planning statewide outreach for Awareness Day 2013 that will be creative, culturally appropriate, and inclusive.


Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services—Project Karinu will host a series of events over the month of May, including an open house and proclamation signing; celebration of the Mass of St. Dymphna (the patron saint of those afflicted with mental and nervous disorders); trainings; a peer family support group meeting; a Children’s Mental Health Awareness Wave; a parent respite/children play day; and a birthday party for Project Karinu.


Hawaii Families as Allies (HFAA) will host events annually throughout May. Events will include sign-waving at the Hawaii State Capitol; a “Lei of Friendship” rally on May 9; a proclamation signing with the governor and mayor of Honolulu declaring May 5–11 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week; and other statewide events, including resource fairs, a community carnival, and an event for students and families to work together to develop a transition plan.


Egyptian Health Department is planning several Awareness Day activities, including mayor proclamations; a Walk the Block Event on May 9; a Celebrate Youth Resiliency training on May 10; an “Are YOU a Friend of MHINDS?” game show on May 10; school proclamations; a poster contest for junior high students; green ribbon “Post-it” notes for community member signatures posted in businesses and organizations; and “dress-up” participation days including a green hat day, green fingernails day, “Green Out” day, awareness ribbons day, and green accessories day.

Illinois DocAssist Program, University of Illinois at Chicago, is planning to post links on www.psych.uic.edu/docassist Exit Disclaimer about Awareness Day 2013.

McHenry County Mental Health Board and Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County are planning to collaborate on an event with Harvard School District #50 and the Centegra Health Systems Caring Paws program. With a focus on Animal Assisted Therapy, the event will feature four dog handlers and their therapy dogs coming to Jefferson school in Harvard to visit and interact with 400 fourth and fifth grade students. During the event, children will receive handouts about animal therapy, each classroom will receive a book about therapy dogs, and mental health resource flyers will be distributed.


One Community One Family is planning an Awareness Day luncheon to celebrate the community’s successes and share its data. It also plans to feature proclamations from all eight county governmental agencies, a book reading for many of the K–2 students throughout the service region, and a statewide conference on May 1 to kick off Mental Health Awareness Month.


McPherson Family Life Center hosted an event on May 4 titled BAM FAM (Bike Around McPherson for Families) and used the opportunity as a fundraiser for the agency and a chance to raise awareness about children’s mental health in the community.

University of Kansas is planning to hold a Webinar series for the entire week of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Topics will include Mental Health First Aid; Healthy Moms Happy Babies (domestic violence prevention); autism spectrum disorder; business partnerships with early childhood; and court teams for infants and toddlers.


Adventist Community Services Center plans to invite the community to an information forum with refreshments in order to enlighten the neighborhood about children’s mental health issues and topics.


The Children Mental Health Matters! Campaign is planning a series of events during the week of May 5–11 to celebrate Awareness Day. Events will include a youth art exhibit and reception hosted by the First Lady of Maryland, a youth panel at a local university, a flash mob, and outreach at community resource fairs. The organization is also planning an extensive media campaign that will include radio, TV, and social media.


The Boston Teachers Union (BTU) is planning a local youth activity that will include art, social media, and a community conversation for Awareness Day.

Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start Inc., will be hosting a community event for children and families at a local library, titled “I May Be Small, but I Feel It ALL.” The event will include social-emotional story readings, art activities, face painting, and dinner. It will also incorporate and highlight strategies from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL). The program will provide resources from several outside mental health agencies for families, as well as information as to how adults can become “Heroes for Hope.” The organization will partner with several community libraries to promote social-emotional literature during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and will invite community and elected officials to read social-emotional stories to children in Head Start classrooms that week.

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health is working with organizations throughout Massachusetts to plan events to occur throughout the month of May to celebrate Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month. Each week will focus on a different statistic highlighting children’s mental health. In total, organizations have planned 72 events, including activities such as Community Conversations, crisis training for parents, a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) “Basics” course for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illnesses, and youth advisory groups.


American Indian Health and Family Services will host a free event to promote hope and wellness in the community’s children and families through inter-agency outreach and activities.

Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will hold its eighth annual Awareness Day carnival. The event, free for attendees, focuses on sharing information about the services and resources available in the community and decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Last year, more than 2,800 participants attended.

Network180 will host its fourth annual UP2U Mental Health Festival. The free afternoon family event includes carnival games, arts and crafts, raffle prizes, live performances, and community resource booths. The event's purpose is to raise awareness about mental health and resources available in the community while having fun!

Royal Oak Community Coalition, in collaboration with the Royal Oak Public Library, will promote awareness of teen mental health and substance abuse issues through a three-part series, “What We Can Do to Support Our Kids.”


Mississippi Department of Mental Health: Mississippi Transitional Outreach Project (MTOP) is planning its second annual treasure quest, where children hunt for clues to questions about mental wellness. This year, the activity will also include a 5K run/walk. The 2013 treasure quest and run/walk will include music, arts and crafts, space jumps and obstacle courses, horse rides, zip lines, snow cones, food, and more.


The American Legion Auxiliary Junior Unit #14 will be sharing Awareness Day information with counselors, the public, and CLV Municipal Court Judge C. Kerns.

Whole Life Health Support Services is planning a 3-day mental health fair, “Mind the Business of Your Mind,” to be held in a low-income housing development. The community fair, sponsored by National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), will include a barbecue; a discussion on “Making the Dollar Stretch,” accompanied by a healthy food preparation demonstration; and activities such as face painting, dancercise, and testing for diabetes and high blood pressure.

New Hampshire

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) NH has partnered with other New Hampshire child and family serving agencies, organizations, and advocacy groups and planned a number of “Children’s Mental Health Matters” awareness events that include a rally and flash mob at the New Hampshire State Capitol. In addition, NAMI NH will host a Webinar on understanding bullying for parents and professionals working with children with serious emotional disorders; distribute posters and green ribbons to participants of the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) Annual Conference; provide a workshop on young children and anxiety to childcare providers and others working with young children; and lead an educational event with art and a screening of the film “Who Cares About Kelsey?”

New Mexico

Mescalero System of Care will be hosting a Heroes of Hope-themed health fair, where local programs will set up booths. Several community members have been invited, including representatives from law enforcement and fire rescue, doctors, nurses, and other community service workers. To entertain children, Iron Man and Captain America will be available to take pictures and make balloons for them. Furthermore, Mescalero System of Care will showcase its Equine program under a new equine canopy that will offer horse painting for kids.

Native American Community Academy will have its middle school personal wellness classes participate in an introductory lesson on mental illness and stigma. The lesson will be facilitated by a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) affiliate guest speaker and will use the “Breaking the Silence” curriculum. As a follow-up to this conversation, students will develop an art project and exhibit. The final result will display each student’s photograph and positive messages toward their community regarding mental health and resilience. The entire school will be able to view the display, which will also provide further resources.

Pueblo of San Felipe plans to host numerous Awareness Day activities from May 6 to 9. The first event is a scavenger hunt for natural supports in the community. There will also be a talent show depicting youth resiliency and a community picnic, along with games and activities for families. Youth have already started promoting the theme, "Our Children are a Beautiful Tomorrow."

New York

Chautauqua Tapestry will be holding a “Strides for My Mind” 5K wellness run/walk on May 25 to help generate awareness that mental health has equal importance to physical health. The organization will have vendor and agency tables set up on location, featuring wellness-related information and activities. At this event, Chautauqua Tapestry will also hold a community vote to judge its awareness month poster contest, which encourages youth to illustrate their interpretation of “acceptance.” The organization will also implement its fourth annual newspaper campaign by taking up a full-page ad in two local newspapers that will allow agency partners to be featured each day. And Chautauqua Tapestry will hold an international evaluation conference open to the community, featuring international and local guest speakers.

Orange County System of Care held a 5K Children’s Mental Health Awareness Walk, which included information and educational opportunities. The system of care also held a conference for professionals on May 9, titled “Dimensions of Culture: Dispelling Myths and Creating Solutions.”

Monroe County System of Care plans to host its annual "The Got Dreams Awards" event for Awareness Day, which is designed to promote awareness of System of Care values. Award recipients include youth, adults, and system providers. Youth have participated in the planning process for the event and will be taking various roles, such as performing and helping at the registration table. Each year, the event owes much of its success to the support of youth and adults in the community that continue to partner to help youth achieve their dreams.

Nassau County Family Support System of Care plans to host a "Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies" event for young adults on May 4. The event will include a 1-hour skit by urban theater group "Truth," a panel discussion of youth-related topics such as savvy shopping and social media, a drum session, and interactive agency tables. The organization will also host another separate event to continue the Awareness Day celebration. The "How are YOU Strong?" event will be run by youth group RiseUP!. To continue awareness-raising efforts of children's mental health, the system of care will release information through a press release; Web site; and its Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest social media pages.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Nu Omicron Early Childhood Education Center will be hosting a street fair and open house for Awareness Day 2013.

OnCare will be hosting the third annual "Got Art?" event, a public exhibit of artwork created by children and youth with serious emotional and behavioral issues. Participants include youth, schools, residential programs, and a wide range of community-based services. This year, OnCare is supporting artist workshops at 14 agencies and will be encouraging programs to create family art projects or group art, such as murals, public service announcements (PSAs), and music ensembles. The exhibit and family event will both be held at a local science museum. Following the event, art submitted will be exhibited around the community. "Got Art?" will kick off a community-wide social marketing campaign to reduce stigma parents encounter when asking for help.

North Carolina

The Alamance Alliance for Children and Families and NC Families United will premiere the documentary, “Behind the Seen,” a year-long project that brought together 4 families and 16 artists to help reduce the stigma of mental illness in children. The alliance will premiere the documentary at a red-carpet event on May 9 at The Paramount Theatre in Burlington, NC, with an art viewing and refreshments beforehand, and their goal is to host 400 families, community stakeholders, and statewide targeted audiences that night. The alliance has invited dignitaries, including North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Aldona Wos, to join, in hopes of starting a conversation about children’s mental health. This community is also hosting a flash mob and a Chutes and Ladders game in Burlington.

BECOMING will be hosting a series of trainings and workshops during Mental Health Week. On Awareness Day, the organization will host its annual Making a Difference Awards and Breakfast to honor community Heroes of Hope. The organization will also organize a bubble launch at local schools with an appearance by the Mental Health Man mascot. To close the week, there will be a mini-conference, "Can You Heal Me Now?"

Mental Health Association in Cleveland County plans to have an awareness booth with educational materials at a local farmers market, as well as art projects for children to paint their own flower pots, plant seeds, and create stress balls using seeds and balloons.

North Carolina Families United, a state chapter of the National Federation of Families, and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) North Carolina, will host a rally on May 9, 2013, at the Legislative Building in Raleigh, NC, and have asked several legislators and key stakeholders to speak. They will have youth and family speak at the rally about their lived experiences and what it means to them to have NAMI’s support in their community. Green balloons will be released at 11 a.m.

Youth M.O.V.E. North Carolina (c/o NC Families United) will set up a table at a System of Care resource fair, where members of Youth M.O.V.E. will provide opportunities for youth leadership, RENEW Transition Mentoring Services, and involvement in Youth M.O.V.E. activities. Four members of Youth M.O.V.E. will present their photo voice (appreciative inquiry) project at a Leadership Institute, scheduled to be held in Asheville, NC, and sponsored by Reclaiming Futures National Program–Portland State University. In partnership with NAMI-NC, two Youth M.O.V.E. members will speak at the North Carolina State Legislative Building on Awareness Day. Recipients of the Dare to Dream grant will make a presentation on emotional support dogs to the Statewide System of Care collaborative on children, youth, and families. Youth M.O.V.E. will also hold its Strategic Planning Retreat in recognition of Awareness Day. Success For Families, of Guilford County, will host an event at the Festival Park, featuring a green balloon launch and guest speakers addressing children’s mental health awareness. Centerpoint, NC, has scheduled events throughout the month to promote children’s mental health awareness, starting with a county-wide green balloon launch on May 9 and ending with a children’s festival on May 28. Smoky Mountain Center (SMC), of Lenoir, NC, is planning a “HealthMeet” hosted by The Breakfast Club at Broyhill Civic Center on May 4. SMC Community Collaboration staff will be sharing information covering various mental health topics and distributing mental health awareness lapel ribbons and balloons. On May 18, Lenoir Parks and Recreation Department will hold a “Festival in the Park,” hosted by Mulberry Recreation Center.


Clermont FAST TRAC is hosting My Feelings Are a Work of Art activities throughout the month of May 2013 for more than 1,000 youth. These activities raise awareness of children’s mental health needs; demonstrate how children’s mental health initiatives promote positive youth development, recovery, and resilience; and show how children with mental health needs thrive in the community. Clermont FAST TRAC will provide art supplies and support to youth in community programs and schools to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to nurture the social and emotional well-being of children through art.

JOURNEY to Successful Living plans to host a "Hero of Hope and the Hero Within" photo voice and digital storytelling exhibit for Awareness Day 2013. The community will participate in various events throughout the week, including JOURNEY System of Care Cinema, Green Ribbon Campaign, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Walk, and a State of Ohio Meeting. In addition, there will be proclamations from the Board of County Commissioners of Hamilton County and the Mayor of the City of Cincinnati. To raise awareness about children's mental health, JOURNEY to Successful Living will also be working with various System of Care partners to implement social media campaigns.


Mental Health Services of Southern Oklahoma (MHSSO), along with Systems of Care, will co-host its third annual awareness day. The free family event will include games, interactive art, and family sharing, in an effort to have fun while raising awareness about mental health and resources available in the community.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health is sponsoring a community-wide Youth Leadership Summit, “Heroes of Hope,” on May 9, for grades 10–12. The purpose of the summit is to increase mental health awareness through education and prevention, all while having fun! Some features of the summit will include a break-out session on native wellness, a stickball/lacrosse demonstration, and a resource fair with local colleges and Vo-tech schools.

Oklahoma Systems of Care and a variety of statewide community partners will host a children and family picnic celebration on the Capitol lawn on April 22. The event will provide families from across the State with an opportunity to engage in conversations with legislators about the importance of children’s mental health. In addition, Oklahoma Federation of Families will deliver “Seeds of Change” to all legislators. Other free events include a family and youth leadership training, family-friendly activities, entertainment, and a picnic dinner.


The Native American Rehabilitation Association of the NW (NARA NW) is hosting a community event for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day at an elementary school. Native community members, agency partners, and NARA NW staff have nominated individuals who provide care for the children in their community. These “Unsung Heroes” will be honored at a ceremony that will include hand drum circles and storytelling. The event will also feature traditional native games, face painting, and traditional food tasting, and attendees will be encouraged to wear their regalia.


Pennsylvania System of Care Partnership has developed the slogan, “Shatter the Stigma–Children’s Mental Health Awareness” and has made Awareness Day materials available to all System of Care counties in Pennsylvania, several of which have already planned Awareness Day events for the month of May. Pennsylvania System of Care Partnership will also distribute PSAs to public and college radio stations. Lehigh County will be hosting a mental health informational fair featuring speaker Jim Tkach, founder of the Tkach foundation. The event’s key message will address suicide prevention efforts, stigma reduction, and mental health awareness. Montgomery County plans to organize a “Heroes of Hope” awareness message for high school students. Local high schools that participate will hang “Heroes of Hope” banners, and students will sign pledges to be “Heroes of Hope” to their peers and in their communities. Montgomery County also hosts an annual Mental Health Awareness luncheon in May to spotlight the success stories of youth and family members who face their own mental health challenges. Philadelphia County has planned an outdoor celebration at Love Park, which will include youth presentations and activities to promote mental health awareness and community resources. The “Shatter the Stigma” campaign materials will be integrated into this event, and Youth M.O.V.E., a local youth leadership group, is a central planning partner. In Venango County, Heart 2 Heart Parent Support Network (PSN) has planned a Mental Health Awareness Penny Carnival to engage youth and families in strengthening local awareness efforts and accessing leadership opportunities. Heart 2 Heart PSN’s Youth Coordinator and Youth Advisory members are collaborating with many community partners to organize this event. Crawford County’s event will center on the “Shatter the Stigma” campaign. Various activities designed to increase mental health awareness have been scheduled for this community celebration. Lastly, Value Behavioral Health of PA is planning a Mental Health Awareness Walk. On May 14, the Transition Age Advisory Group (TAAG) will host a 3-mile walk at Twin Lakes Park in Westmoreland County.

Youth Advocate Programs, Inc., (Y.A.P.) will offer two online trainings on May 9, “Anxiety Disorders” and “Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder,” to educate the broader community about children’s mental health. The organization will also send out a newsletter that will focus on Y.A.P.’s services across the country, as well as programs, staff, and kids/families.

Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (RIDCYF) will provide funding for four regional networks around the State to host Awareness Day activities. Each of the networks will work with their community to plan, support, and present local activities for Awareness Day during the month of May.

South Dakota

Ti Wahe Glu Kipini plans to provide a Lakota Mental Health First Aid Training Session in four communities spread over the Rosebud Reservation for Awareness Day. Trainings will be held on different days during the first 3 weeks of May, and will focus on community members who may not have means to travel to the system of care’s office. The organization will target youth by hosting a concert by a local group of hip-hop artists, as well as a basketball challenge, scheduled in May. The youth event will reinforce messages of overcoming stigma and being able to ask for help from the program and parents. They will also run PSAs, host a proclamation, and target youth grades 6–12 through an art contest. Ti Wahe Glu Kipini has about six partners so far.


Just Care Family Network will host a proclamation ceremony with the mayor of Shelby County for Awareness Day. Project Director Dr. Altha Stewart will begin the ceremony by declaring May 9 National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Memphis and discussing the importance of every child having the opportunity to receive appropriate mental health screenings and treatment. During the ceremony, families and youth will share their stories concerning mental illness. The mayor will present a proclamation promoting mental health and well-being for all. In collaboration with community partners at Memphis City Schools, Just Care Family Network will also host a mental health and wellness fair and town hall, “Building Healthy Minds: It Takes A Village,” to be held at a local middle school. The organization has invited a diverse group of mental health and wellness vendors to host informational booths and offer free health care screenings. Topics for the community town hall will focus on transforming the system of care in Memphis and Shelby County schools. School board members, legislators, and community leaders have been invited to sit on the panel. Families and youth will facilitate the discussion and ask questions.

The Middle Tennessee Children's Mental Health Coalition will be hosting "The Whole Kid Festival" on Saturday, May 4 at the Bicentennial Mall State Park. The community will also host two fairs to raise awareness about mental health; a health and wellness fair and an information fair. The health and wellness fair will include games, activities, and entertainment for all ages. The information fair will highlight community resources on mental health, school services, access to health care, after school programs, and safety.

The Rural Children’s Initiative (RCI) is planning the creation and distribution of posters created by young people, RCI team members, and partners, to be displayed in the stalls of restrooms throughout the community in schools, businesses, and agencies. The posters will promote the message that mental health matters and there is hope and help available, and will include tear-off slips with resources listed for individuals to take. RCI is also hosting its annual Champions of Hope recognition, and is preparing for this now by selecting and honoring individuals who are champions for children and families.


Hand in Hand will kick off its Awareness Day activities with an early childhood trauma public awareness campaign in May. The campaign will include county and city proclamations, movie ads, billboards, bus ads, posters, and other materials.

Texas System of Care will be leading a campaign for Awareness Day that encourages individuals or groups to submit photos posing with a sign that says, “Shine a Light on Children’s Mental Health,” along with their name or the name or their organization. To make the photos more interesting, the system of care is asking participants to pose at a landmark and creatively convey “shine a light” in their photos. The most popular entries will be included in a slideshow to be featured on the organization’s Web site and social media pages. Additional Awareness Day plans include, but are not limited to, supporting a statewide youth creativity contest. Winning entries will be displayed in the State Capitol building and on the Web. The system of care also plans to use social media to promote activities and raise awareness.


PASSAGES–VMH Tooele is planning a fun day in the park for community members to learn about children’s mental health. Information booths will be set up along with games for youth to get involved and learn more about children’s mental health-related issues. Through this event, the organization hopes to expose stigma and raise awareness about children’s mental health.

Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health’s Youth Advisory Council is organizing a children’s mental health awareness event on May 11. It will involve a T-shirt design contest for mental health, and will complement mental health awareness activities occurring throughout Utah the same day, including walks, 5K runs, fairs, open houses, and “Day at the Park” events.


Vermont Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health will be releasing two PSAs about reducing stigma.


The Children’s Mental Health Resource Center, a grant and foundation funded under Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Psychiatry Child and Adolescent Division, will run a table at University Hospital, to provide increased awareness and training on mental health issues to primary care physicians (PCPs).

Danville-Pittsylvania Community Service will host a mobile health and wellness unit from the Office of Child and Family Services during a day in May. The unit will include a dental tech, as well as information on prevention, gangs, mental health, and much more.

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is planning to hold an event at a Flying Squirrels baseball game on May 7. The Flying Squirrels are a local Virginia minor league baseball team. The event will include food; exhibit tables with children's mental health information; and speakers including family, youth, and possibly the Governor. There will also be a raffle for youth to throw the first pitch.


Youth and Family Link is planning a campaign for afterschool programs to focus on mental health through physical and recreational activities, nutrition, family relationships, and school success. The program will provide commercial and social media with resources on treating mental illness, as well as promoting and strengthening mental health. The campaign seeks to promote positive mental health in order to prevent mental illness.

West Virginia

Coalfield Community Action Partnership, Inc. Head Start Program will be observing Awareness week, May 6-9.

Collaborating Organizations

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) will host AACAP Advocacy Day on Thursday, May 9, and will engage regional chapters in Awareness Day activities. Each year, ACCAP puts up a banner for Awareness Day on the side of their building.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will develop tip sheets for young adults going to college. The tips sheets will address issues such as surviving the first day, what to think about when sending your kid to college, and seeking mental health services and supports.

American Art Therapy Association chapters across the country will be developing and conducting art therapy-themed events.

The American Legion Auxiliary will be encouraging local units to participate in and hold Awareness Day events at the national level. Units will be encouraged to write drop-in articles and participate through social media.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) will host two virtual chats relating to children and mental health. Listeners will have the ability to ask questions or simply listen in. “Infant Mental Health,” the first virtual chat, will be held on Thursday, May 9, at 2 p.m. EDT, and “Recess Promotion and Children’s Mental Health” will take place on Monday, June 10, at 4 p.m. EDT.

Compeer, Inc. will be distributing Awareness Day materials and information to its more than 50 affiliate programs in the United States. The national entity will also promote Awareness Day on its Web site and social media platforms. At the local level, Compeer affiliates will host events to promote Awareness Day.

The Jed Foundation operates several programs and campaigns designed to promote the emotional health of teens and college students, and looks forward to utilizing its resources and communication channels to promote Awareness Day 2013.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has agreed to support Awareness Day and promote it to its local affiliates. MADD will also encourage its chapters to host Community Conversations with System of Care communities across the country year-round.

National Federation of Families, along with Mental Health America (MHA), Bazelon, and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), is hosting a legislative briefing during Awareness Week. They will also continue with the annual green ribbon campaign. A poster contest will be hosted among network members. They are working with Child Mind Institute to host a series of panel discussions to air during Awareness Week. Panel members will include key Federation staff, content experts, and youth. “Barriers to care” is one topic. PSAs will also be distributed through local radio stations.

The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has encouraged its chapters to host school-based Community Conversations with System of Care communities.

Screening for Mental Health is planning to host a Community Conversation with a panel of experts, survivors, and students who have experience with the SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program. The Community Conversation will be held in coordination with the premiere of the video titled Time to ACT, which is the newest video component of the SOS Middle School Program.

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) has agreed to publish two newsletters articles about its support of Awareness Day. One SADD newsletter article will be distributed to parents, and the second will go to faculty advisors.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs to talk, please call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Return to main page of SAMHSA.gov/Children | For more information, click here to email AwarenessDay2014@vancomm.com