One of the best things about the National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day initiative is that it allows a broad range of organizations to come together to raise awareness about the importance of social and emotional development from birth. At the national level, 115 collaborating organizations, agencies, and programs have joined together to help promote the initiative. You can use these collaborations to expand your own efforts to promote the well-being of children.
The first step is deciding whom you will invite to work with you on Awareness Day activities. Click here for a list of the organizations collaborating for Awareness Day 2012. Many of the organizations that have signed on at a national level have chapters or affiliates in your region, and they would be good places to look for a local collaboration. For example, the American Psychological Association has State chapters that might be able to provide child psychologists who could be part of your event. Pediatricians' offices in your area might be willing to help get the word out about your Awareness Day event because the American Academy of Pediatricians is involved nationally.
This year, the American Art Therapy Association has once again dedicated a section of its Web site to Awareness Day, providing information and materials to help plan an art activity and links to articles about children's art and art therapy. Click here to learn more. (PDF - 256 kb)
If you're thinking of holding a dance, music or visual arts activity for Awareness Day, think of getting some of our collaborating organizations involved: The American Art Therapy Association, the American Dance Therapy Association, and the American Music Therapy Association came together to offer tips and activities at the national Awareness Day Turns 5 celebration in 2010 — perhaps one of these organizations in your region could use the tip sheets developed by their national organizations and help bring art, dance, and music to your event. Look in your yellow pages or visit the Web sites for the national organizations to find contacts in your area. Once you've made a list of people to contact, the key is to plan early and be specific in what you ask.
Once organizations have signed on to work with you, fill out the Pledge Form (PDF - 111 kb) to let us know your plans for Awareness Day 2012.
Remember to follow up. You'll want to stay in touch with your new collaborating organizations or individuals, and be sure to send a thank you for helping to make your Awareness Day a success!
If your community is interested in participating in Awareness Day, e-mail AwarenessDay2013@vancomm.com.