Each year, communities find incredibly creative and innovative ways to capture the essence of what National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day (Awareness Day) hopes to achieve.
More than 1,100 community-level events take place every year in honor of Awareness Day, ranging from book readings and workshops on children's mental health to talent shows and "human waves."
Here is a sample of the events that took place in 2013, where communities came together to celebrate and raise awareness of how children with mental health needs can and do thrive in their communities. Use the navigation links in the orange box to view events by location, program, and audience.
The East Central Children's Health Collaborative Project held health awareness events in Bullock and Pike counties to celebrate Awareness Day. Bullock County's 125 attendees celebrated with a fun run, speakers, games, dancing, and lunch. Pike County hosted an event at one of the schools, where speakers from Troy University spoke on topics including wellness, stress, mental illness, and defiant children. The local police department and sheriff's office provided information on drugs and safety, and community members provided informational stations addressing community resources.
In partnership with other Tribal programs and departments, Pascua Yaqui Sewa Uusim: Circles of Care conducted a 2-week brown bag lunchtime series leading up to Awareness Day on children's mental wellness, cultural and traditional roles, and reading engagement for young children. The organization also hosted an Awareness Day peace walk in the community and the Tribal Council proclaimed May 9 as Pascua Yaqui Tribe National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day.
Early Connections observed Awareness Day and National Mental Health Awareness Month by launching its new Web site. The site shares information about Early Connections' work as a growing partnership of parents, providers, and local agencies united to strengthen and sustain Alameda County's system of care for children between the ages of 0 and 5 with social, emotional, behavioral, and related developmental concerns. The Web site also provides ways to access the system of care's services and participate in its programs.
Project ABC brought together a diverse pool of community service providers to create the Me and My Shadow Family Fun Day. The event was designed to provide caregivers, care providers, professionals, parents, and other community members working with children between the ages of 0 and 5 ways to strengthen the adult/child relationship. In support of the national efforts to bring the conversation around mental health out of the shadows, Project ABC adapted the event's theme to support principles of infant mental health and strengthening social emotional development. Presented as a fair at a local park, the event provided a series of activities to promote interaction and relationship-building between the young children and adults by encouraging the adults to "shadow" their children and partner with them in exploration, discovery, and play.
Under the System of Care Expansion Implementation Grant: Humboldt County, the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services partnered with 0–8 Mental Health Collaborative to celebrate Awareness Day and May Is Mental Health Month by hosting an awareness walk and a Zumba flash mob.
Urban Trails Richmond hosted an Awareness Day open house for children, families, and community members. The organization invited attendees to explore the new Urban Trails Richmond space, learn about its services, and discuss available resources. The event included information about youth-led projects and digital storytelling, as well as refreshments, face painting, and raffle prizes. It also featured a facilitated conversation about opportunities related to the Heroes of Hope pledge, as well as the importance of community involvement in planning feature projects and initiatives.
Click to view the Web site: http://www.acearlyconnect.org/
In recognition of Awareness Day, Colorado's Trauma Informed System of Care, in partnership with Colorado's Office of Behavioral Health, the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council, Children's Hospital, and the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, hosted a Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training on May 6. YMHFA is primarily designed as a tool for adults who work with youth between the ages of 12 and 25, and also serves as a peer support program for older adolescents. The system of care was determined to set the record for the most people certified in YMHFA in a single day. Although Guinness World Records determined that the challenge would be too difficult to measure, SAMHSA's Child, Adolescent and Family Branch Chief Gary Blau provided remarks announcing that Colorado's accomplishment would serve as a challenge and benchmark for other systems of care around the country. Blau said, "Congratulations, Colorado, on establishing this record, and setting the bar for all other communities across America, and for all you do to support children's mental health. Let the competition begin!" Approximately 150 people were trained in this life-saving program at three different locations within the State on May 6. In addition to the YMHFA training, the community also conducted a social media campaign, using tweets to share information about the importance of mental health to a child's healthy development from birth. Through the effort, young people shared their experiences with mental health. Youth leaders also distributed Awareness Day ribbons, with Hero of Hope cards attached, throughout local communities, as well as to State partners and legislators.
Delaware's B.E.S.T. for Young Children and Their Families conducted multiple awareness activities during May, including its annual "Get the Scoop on Mental Health" event, in partnership with statewide Rita's Water Ice locations, as well as developing a Social and Emotional Toolkit for early care and education programs. The organization also sponsored an outreach event, "Blue Rocks Go Green for Children's Mental Health," at Delaware's minor league baseball stadium.
Children's National Medical Center hosted an Awareness Day activity in its main atrium space and inpatient units. Nearly 200 children and family members created power symbol artist trading cards, produced music on recycled drums, and practiced yoga poses with the center's yoga therapist. Activity planners distributed handouts about creative expression, healing, trauma, and mental health. All of the participants said they gained a greater awareness of children's mental health issues as a result of the event.
DC Gateway Project hosted an art event to promote awareness of children's mental health. The event engaged the entire student body, teachers, and administrative staff at Friendship Woodridge Elementary and Middle Public Charter School in Northeast Washington, DC. All of the activities were customized to be age-appropriate for students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. A variety of sessions took place simultaneously around the school. DC Mayor Vincent Gray and Deputy Mayor Beatriz "BB" Otero joined more than 650 participants in the event's activities.
FACES of Miami held their third Youth and Family Empowerment Summit on May 14 with more than 450 guests. The summit featured performances by families and youth from the organization Youth M.O.V.E. (Motivating Others Through Voices of Experience) National, as well as a dance by Haitian family members from the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health; an awards presentation to advocates, staff, and families; a mural created on-site by guests under the art leadership of Xavier Cortada; and breakout sessions.
Families and Communities Together in Seminole (FACTS) enlisted each of its seven cities and the local school board in organizing events to celebrate Awareness Day. Event highlights included an "Alive After 5" booth at an evening street party on Awareness Day, as well as a "Let's MOVE" walk for Children's Mental Health Awareness hosted by FACTS' Youth M.O.V.E. National chapter. The local school board proclaimed May as Children's Mental Health Awareness Month and May 9 as Awareness Day, and FACTS gave a presentation to school board members about the transformation in Systems of Care.
The Florida Art Therapy Association sponsored and hosted events in Gainesville and Miami for Awareness Day. The Gainesville event took place at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital, with the help of Florida Art Therapy Association member and art therapist Amy Bucciarelli, and in collaboration with the Arts in Medicine program. A teenage patient who participates in art therapy at the hospital shared her story and did a reading of a pop-up book she made during her treatment. Community members and other event attendees used the theme "peace of mind" to create approximately 65 mandalas. These mandalas will be incorporated into a collective work of art that will hang in the pediatrics area of Shands Hospital. In Miami, Florida Art Therapy Association members partnered with the St. Albans Child Enrichment Center and other community organizations to present a day of activities for children and their families. Representatives from Shine Bright Therapy, Act4Me, Early Steps, Miami Speech Institute, Miami Dade County Psychological Services, Healthy Marriages, Miami Dade Public Schools Art Therapy Department, Miami Behavioral Health Center, Very Special Arts, and One Diverse Universe shared available resources to community members.
Wraparound Orange in Florida hosted its third annual Healthy Minds Healthy Lives family fun day at Barnett Park in celebration of Awareness Day and Children's Mental Health Awareness Week. Healthy Minds Healthy Lives has now become a signature event in the community, having almost doubled in attendance and participation. More than 60 vendors and 800 families attended the event, where they received information about community resources. The day was a collaborative effort between the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Children and Families, Community Based Care of Central Florida, Orange County Parks & Recreation, Wraparound Orange Children's Mental Health Initiative, University Behavioral Center, and a host of community-based organizations throughout Orange County, FL. The Orlando-Sentinel profiled Wraparound Orange in Sanford in a June 2013 story . The article featured the experience of one of the 325 families enrolled in Wraparound Orange programs in Orange and Seminole Counties, and included data showing that children enrolled in these programs earn better grades, experience improved family relationships, and avoid incarceration in the juvenile justice system.
Staff from WIN Georgia conducted or participated in 21 Awareness Day activities across Georgia. Activities included a statewide poster drawing contest; Governor Nathan Deal's signing of a proclamation declaring a Mental Health Awareness Week in the State of Georgia; a radio public service announcement (PSA); a flash mob; a "Stop Stigma" balloon stomp; a balloon release; and a presentation on bullying, suicide awareness, and domestic violence. The community also provided a cultural and linguistic proficiency training for providers, "Cultural Diverse: Intimate Partner Violence in the Latino and African American Communities," as well as a training that focused on the mental health needs of LGBTQ youth.
The icareguam system of care hosted a Champions program, in which organizers visited local schools to speak with students about mental health and invite them to an Awareness Day open house. The open house featured an art exhibit, "icare for my mental health." Also as part of the Champions program, families nominated individuals working in the education community as system of care champions for going above and beyond for the well-being of the child. The system of care also obtained a proclamation from the governor in recognition of Awareness Day celebrations on the island.
Para Todu used a multipronged approach to celebrate Awareness Day. It obtained a governor's proclamation that included two Systems of Care agencies (I Famagu'on-ta and Project Karinu). Para Todu also organized a culturally appropriate Mass for child-serving agencies and providers at a local cathedral. Both agencies hosted a community wave that approximately 150 people attended.
Project Karinu hosted several events throughout the month of May in recognition of Awareness Day. Events included an open house and proclamation signing, a celebratory Mass, family peer support events, community trainings, and a Project Karinu birthday celebration on May 1.
In celebration of Awareness Day, Project Laulima sponsored an Awareness Day rally at the Hawaii State Capitol. On May 8, the Honolulu City Council issued a proclamation declaring Children's Mental Health Awareness Week.
Madison CARES hosted a Family, Friends, and Fun Night in celebration of Awareness Day. The event offered refreshments, games, activities, and mental wellness information to attendees. The Madison CARES Youth Group also presented a short program. Madison CARES organized the event in collaboration with the Madison School District and Sugar-Salem School District.
McHenry County Family Care in Illinois organized an event at Jefferson School in Harvard, IL, for fourth and fifth graders. Three handlers from the Centegra Health Systems Caring Paws program came with their therapy dogs and spoke to the students about how dogs help people experiencing anxiety, depression, grief, and other mental health issues cope with these feelings. Children in each of the 16 classrooms were given books on therapy dogs, as well as handouts with local mental health resources printed in both English and Spanish to take home to their families. The event was the result of collaboration between the McHenry County Mental Health Board and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of McHenry County, and was covered by a reporter and photographer from the Northwest Herald. The newspaper published an article on the event in its print and online editions.
Project Connect works to reach more people with every year with its Awareness Day celebrations, and 2013 was no different. From mayoral and school board proclamations to poster contests and walk-the-block events, Project Connect engaged community members who now know the significance of the green ribbon and its representation of children's mental health awareness.
One Community One Family hosted a series of events in celebration of Awareness Day, including a luncheon, a book reading, multiple community presentations, a proclamation signing, a statewide System of Care conference, and the distribution of stigma-related resources. The combination of events reached more than 2,000 people in southeastern Indiana.
More than 130 people attended an Awareness Day community event hosted by Kentucky's System of Enhance Early Development (KY SEED). At the "Planting Seeds to End Bullying and Suicide" event, speakers shared personal stories of being bullied, including several accounts of suicide attempts. Speakers also shared suicide prevention information and resources. At the close of the event, attendees released green balloons. During a separate event, KY SEED hosted its Champions of Early Childhood Systems of Care Awards.
Maryland Cares (MD Cares), MD Rural CARES, and MD SOC X-4 held a flash mob on McKeldin Square in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. More than 100 flash-mobbers descended on the square to draw attention to Children's Mental Health Awareness Week and the importance of encouraging positive mental health for children by addressing problems such as suicide, depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders.
Over the month of May, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (MA-DMH) hosted a number of statewide activities related to children's mental health to celebrate May Is Mental Health Month. MA-DMH partnered with multiple community providers to organize and host the events, and also involved families and children in the planning and coordination. The month of events drew great participation and the department received positive informal feedback from participants.
All seven community health centers affiliated with MYCHILD hosted Awareness Day activities in their pediatric clinics. One activity included hosting mental health awareness tables in clinic waiting rooms with therapeutic children's books, handouts about mental health, and ideas for simple activities parents can do at home. One community health center sent weekly email blasts to a wide network of child-serving agencies throughout the State, highlighting important and significant statistics and information about mental health and mental illness in young children. MYCHILD posted daily tweets on the Boston Public Health Commission's (BPHC) Web site, providing tips to help children develop healthy social and emotional skills, as well as weekly blog posts on the importance of early childhood mental health. MYCHILD and Project Launch collaborated with the Boston Children's Museum and transported more than 35 parents and children to the museum for a day of play and fun. BPHC staff participated in the Boston Children's Museum's Health Fair, hosting an information table about the integration of mental health and pediatric care.
On the evening of May 9, Screening for Mental Health hosted an event for 125 community members in Waltham, MA, to premiere its newest video component for the SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program, "Time to ACT," filmed and edited by Boston Digital Productions. At the premiere, a panel of experts, survivors, and students with significant experience in the SOS Program conducted a community conversation, where they discussed the importance of trusted adults in children's lives. Screening for Mental Health developed a separate video, which includes the full-length version of "Time to ACT," to send to community partners so they could host their own community conversation events. The organization also developed a video to show highlights of the evening to those unable to attend, which includes an introduction by its founder, Dr. Doug Jacobs, as well as the community conversation.
Community Family Partnership hosted its fourth annual UP2U Mental Health Festival. The festival took place in a large retail mall and, through a partnership with a realty management company, all space for the festival was provided in-kind. Event organizers set up a stage to communicate with attendees via a game show. The show allowed service providers to share what their organizations have to offer and provided the space for demonstrations such as "escaping" mental health stigma through an illusionist performance and stress reduction through "laugh yoga." The event also featured radio remotes, arts and craft vendors, and agency representatives who were available to answer questions and provide information on accessing their services.
Michigan Intertribal Council, in partnership with American Indian Health and Family Services of Southeastern Michigan (AIHFS) and the University of Michigan's School of Social Family Assessment Clinic (FAC), hosted a free Awareness Day event to inspire hope and wellness in the community's children and families through inter-agency outreach and activities regarding well-being and health services in the area. The event featured AIHFS department tables; vendors from local agencies; Hope and Wellness Screenings; a table with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention infographics around physical activity and nutrition; and activities such as a bouncy house, fitness activities, face painting, 3 Sisters Planting, fresh fruit/veggie smoothies, and Native dance demonstrations. The event was a great success—113 community members participated, and 9 fellow community agencies/organizations conducted outreach efforts.
Map Team distributed posters promoting mental health awareness in Calhoun, Panola, Lafayette, Marshal, and Yalobusha Counties. In Calhoun County, the organization hosted a book reading for children who attend the Excel Tutoring Program and conducted a group discussion with the children on the value of staying positive and making good choices.
Mississippi Transitional Outreach Program (MTOP) teamed up with 15 partner agencies in Jackson to conduct a treasure quest of informational booths, giving local children and youth the opportunity to participate in unique activities while gaining knowledge on children's mental health. The organization also planned Mississippi's first 5K run/walk for children's mental health in which children, youth, and families participated.
MTOP/NFusion X hosted a youth summit, "Our Voice, Our Choice, Our Community," in Meridian. The event featured a guest speaker who spoke with adolescents and teens about mental health and the messages that may be heard in popular music. The event also featured informational booths and a panel of youth and community leaders. Weems Community Mental Health discussed mental health and shared information and resources on children's mental health awareness. MTOP and NFusion created an evaluation form to capture 167 responses from participants.
NFusion IV hosted its "Drive for the Green Golf Tournament" in Corinth, where golfers received facts about children's mental health at each hole of the tournament, along with information encouraging them to become Heroes of Hope.
NFusion VII hosted a spring fling awareness event in Louisville that featured games, a barbecue, and information about mental health for an audience of youth, parents, and stakeholders. All participants wore green and received bags containing mental health statistics and quotes. A reporter from the Winston County Journal highlighted the event. NFusion VII partnered with MTOP's Mental Health Center and local businesses provided lunch. At the event, the organization also showed the Awareness Day 2013 virtual event featuring an NFusion youth, Alandra Jones, who shared his story and the importance of mental health and Systems of Care.
Region 9 Hinds Behavioral Health Services organized a parenting forum and mental health screenings and distributed mental health awareness materials to public and private schools in Hinds County.
NAMI NH Child and Adolescent Network organized a weeklong series of events to celebrate Awareness Day. The events focused on building resilience in children and highlighted the importance of screening for social/emotional disorders. The events included workshops, film screenings, and trainings, and covered topics of young children and anxiety, the impact of bullying on children's mental health, and youth-led anti-bullying. All activities culminated in a rally at the New Hampshire State House on Awareness Day, which drew 250 people and featured remarks from youth leaders, Governor Maggie Hassan, and a spokesperson representing U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen.
Organizations within the New Mexico Systems of Care hosted numerous events to celebrate Awareness Day. Santa Clara Pueblo hosted a Health Fair at the Santa Clara Day School (K–6), as well as a fun run. The system of care's staff hosted an informational booth and gave presentations on bullying and domestic violence, and the Santa Clara Day School hosted Sand, Art, and Play Therapy presentations by the Circles of Life Behavioral Health Network to students, teachers, and staff. The day's activities drew approximately 180 participants. In Albuquerque, organizers of the annual Head to Toe Conference, which promotes coordinated school health, shared experience, and knowledge about school health issues and networking with others throughout New Mexico, kicked off this year's gathering by honoring Awareness Day among its approximately 800 attendees. In her opening presentation of the conference, Secretary of New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department Yolanda Berumen-Deines discussed the importance of children's mental health and statewide programs, projects, and events supporting this important work. Also in Albuquerque, young people planned a community youth jam event, which focused on reducing suicide and substance use by linking youth and families to community health and mental health services and supports.
Click to see similar programs: Health Fair, Art Event, Community Conversation, School-based Event, Other Event, Young Children, Children, Youth/Young Adults, Families, Military Families, Providers, Educators, New Mexico
In its week of Awareness Day activities, Pueblo of San Felipe highlighted this theme: Our Children Are a Beautiful Tomorrow. Beginning with a kickoff celebration that drew 85 participants, the system of care also hosted an ice cream social for 190 participants; a community walk in which participants received tee shirts designed by a Kathishya Youth Leadership Institute youth leader; Tribal activity booths for families and children; and the pilot of the community's Equine Program, which drew 50 children and families.
Chautauqua Tapestry hosted a Strides for My Mind 5K Wellness Run/Walk, as well as a post-race wellness fair in which vendor and agency representatives shared wellness-related information and activities. The organization also hosted an Awareness Day poster contest that asked young people to illustrate their idea of acceptance, as well as an International Conference on Evaluation for Practice, featuring international and local guest speakers, and the Green Ribbon Gala, a family fun fair focused on stamping out stigma that brought families together for a casual evening celebration. Community donations to the gala covered food, games, and prizes.
In concert with seven affiliates in three States, Compeer, Inc., in Rochester, NY, participated in a Green Ribbon event in Wellsville; hosted a "Women's Health Night" dedicated to family and community caregivers; and sponsored a community-wide symposium focused on creating a culture that openly discusses mental illness and seeks to promote mental health supports, as well as suicide awareness.
Nassau County Family Support System of Care (NC-FSS), with Long Island Families Together (LIFT), celebrated Children's Mental Health Awareness Week with a Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies fair on May 4, followed by RiseUP!'s youth jam. The event drew 129 attendees and also featured informational tables set up by the program's community partners, sponsors, and local agencies, many of whom were returning for the second year.
Onondaga County System of Care in New York (OnCare) hosted the third annual Got Art event, a child and youth art exhibit in celebration of Awareness Day. This year, artwork illustrating the theme "I CAN" was submitted by 150 children and youth from the community with serious emotional/behavioral challenges, including children receiving home- and community-based services, students from schools and day treatment programs, children and youth served by community-based agencies, children in residential treatment programs, and youth from the detention center. On May 7, more than 450 people from the community came to view the artwork on public display at Museum of Science and Technology. At this recognition event, the young artists and their families enjoyed face painting, a photo booth, a craft activity, and refreshments. During the event, family members, youth, and government officials spoke about the need for early recognition and treatment. OnCare also unveiled its new anti-stigma video PSA , designed to send the message that it is OK to ask for help. After the event, the artwork traveled to 10 community sites, including Family Court, the County Executive's offices, Golisano Children's Hospital, several community-based agencies, and a community art gallery at a local shopping mall. Along with the artwork, organizers displayed information about children's mental health, how to get help, and how to get involved with the system of care.
Orange County System of Care held a 5K awareness walk for children's mental health using the "Out of the Shadows: Exposing Stigma" theme.
Alamance Alliance for Children and Families hosted a display and flash mob, led by Girl Scouts, mental health leaders, and North Carolina Division of Social Services leaders, at Burlington's Active City Streets Festival on May 4. The program also sponsored a viewing of the "Behind the Seen" documentary, an art show, and a reception at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Burlington, NC. The program partnered with Project Launch, the Alamance Partnership for Children, Alamance Regional Medical Center, Kernodle Clinic Pediatrics, Burlington Pediatrics, Healthy Alamance, and the Alamance County Arts Council. Along with Project Launch, Alamance Alliance for Children and Families distributed more than 50,000 copies of the "Give Your Child the Best Beginning" resource throughout the community in recognition of Awareness Day.
BECOMING conducted a number of events in observance of Awareness Day, including "Can You Heal Me Now": A Symposium on Trauma and Youth of Color; "Mental Health 101 Training"; "Stewards of Children Training"; and a screening of the documentary film, "Bully." BECOMING also promoted Awareness Day activities through its Web site, social media platforms, presentations, email listserv, and media outreach. As a result of its workshops, events, school visits, and social media interactions, BECOMING made contact with more than 3,000 children, youth, communities, and partner agency representatives from the Parks and Recreation Department, mental health providers, and other local community agencies. All of the survey respondents who participated in BECOMING's activities reported being more or very aware of the mental health issues facing children, youth, and young adults.
Clermont FAST TRAC hosted "My Feelings Are a Work of Art" activities throughout the month of May 2013 to raise awareness about the importance of mental health, nurture the social and emotional well-being of children through art, and encourage youth to use art to express their feelings. Clermont FAST TRAC provided art supplies and support to youth in community programs and schools. More than 1,000 children and youth and more than 200 adults across Clermont County participated in these activities in May. Partner sites included FAST TRAC Youth Advisory Group, Juvenile Court, Clermont Board of Developmental Disabilities, Genesis School, Boys and Girls Clubs, Child Focus Wasserman Youth and Adolescent Center, Foster Care, Head Start, Bilingual Preschools, and school partners.
Spokespeople from JOURNEY to Successful Living in Hamilton County, Ohio, spread the word about local programs that support children's mental health and Awareness Day as guests on "Impact Cincinnati," a local public radio program. They spoke with the host about the experiences of children and youth living with mental health challenges, as well as initiatives that provide support to the children and their families. The program aired on May 9.
Kno-Ho-Co-Ashland CAC Head Start provided support and resources to help seven Head Start centers in three Ohio counties host children's art shows in celebration of Awareness Day. Organizers made information on children's mental health available at each of the centers. The program donated refreshments, and attendees donated art supplies in exchange for admission to the event. A few of the centers made group projects that were auctioned.
Oklahoma Systems of Care (OKSOC) sponsored a picnic for approximately 500 children, youth, and families at the State Capitol on April 22, where attendees enjoyed food, games, and a family training. The theme was "Life: Play It Well, Get On Board." Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Terri White addressed the crowd gathered in support of children's behavioral health services, and 60 family and youth support service organizations were present at the event to connect with attendees. Lil' Mike and Funny Bone, a Native American brother rap duo; country music artist Jimmy Wayne; and Oklahoma Kids all provided entertainment at the picnic. Event organizers ran a TV and radio ad on Spanish media , and bilingual volunteers from the Latino Community Development Agency and a local Spanish-language church provided translation services.
Protecting the Future, a program of Muscogee (Creek) Nation, sponsored a community-wide youth leadership summit, "Heroes of Hope," for youth in grades 10 to 12. The purpose of the summit was to increase awareness of mental health and to promote ways for the 50 attendees to support mental health among their peers through education. The event included interactive breakout sessions on interviewing/job skills, Native wellness, stickball/lacrosse, healthy relationships, transition-age skills, and physical activity. The summit also featured a resource fair for representatives from local colleges and vocational-technical schools. Protecting the Future promoted the summit through Facebook and a radio PSA. Muscogee (Creek) Nation also collaborated with Indian Health Care Resource Center of Tulsa, Inc., and the Tulsa Indian Community Advisory Team (TICAT) on the Restoring Harmony Powwow on April 20 in celebration of Awareness Day. The powwow had the goal of educating the community about children's mental health issues and increasing access to services. This year's powwow, with the theme "Courage to Change," focused on bringing attention to the impact of bullying on the community's youth and empowering the community to make changes to reduce the incidence of bullying behavior.
A group of youth from Circles of Care who has been participating in ongoing youth leadership summits organized a community self-esteem day for Awareness Day. About 100 people attended the event, in which youth leaders led a conversation on ways to support wellness through positive discourse and mutual support.
Nak Nu Wit Program/System of Care in Oregon hosted an Awareness Day event on April 27 at Chief Joseph Elementary School in Portland. The event featured traditional Native games, storytelling, face painting, hand drum circles, and traditional food tasting. During the day-long event, Nak Nu Wit honored their children's unsung heroes. Prior to the event, Native community members, agency partners, and Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Inc. (NARA, NW) staff nominated individuals who provide care for the community's children and help them walk in balance. At the event, the 100 heroes wore tee shirts designed by youth in the community that corresponded to the colors of the Native American medicine wheel (composed of wellness, sobriety, culture, and mental health). The honorees then formed a circle to participate in a round dance while the Young Women's Hand Drum Circle and the Young Men's Drum Group performed, making a live, dancing medicine wheel. A video Nak Nu Wit created captures the living medicine wheel, as well as other highlights.
Erie County Children's System of Care hosted its mental health awareness annual conference and luncheon. This year's theme was "Dreaming, Growing, Achieving: The Roots of Success." The conference featured workshops, information tables, an art display by youth, and keynote speakers. The event was designed to inspire participants to continue working for the success of all families living in Erie County, PA.
PA System of Care Partnership sponsored and hosted a number of Awareness Day events drawing in large numbers of participants and partnering organizations in Lehigh, Montgomery, Venango, Westmoreland, Crawford, and Erie Counties. Events included an informational fair, mental health awareness penny carnivale, mental health and wellness fair, mental health awareness walk, shatter-the-stigma educational event, and a "Heroes of Hope" school campaign that reached 4,000 youth in 14 districts and 17 schools. Each participating county was invited to give a brief presentation on its Awareness Day event at the June 2013 System of Care Learning Institute held in State College, PA, on June 19.
Beaver County's Project Recovery recognized Awareness Day with an event at a local mall. The goal of the event was to raise mental health awareness for families and youth of all ages, with a special focus on older youth and young adults. With the help of more than 33 community providers, supports, educational vendors, and local politicians, the event's planning committee provided information about services and supports in the community, as well as free games, face painting, crafts, and music, to 113 participants.
RI System of Care Expansion Implementation Cooperative Agreement supported numerous activities to celebrate Awareness Day through May. These included public education events, media presentations, family events, health fairs, and school-based events throughout the State. In total, these events reached more than 1,700 individuals. Program staff also produced a radio broadcast and distributed green children's mental health awareness ribbons; SAMHSA's short report, which was made available online through the program's lead family organization; and 2,000 topic-related calendars. Community providers throughout the State partnered with schools, the YMCA, parent organizations, and community mental health providers.
Click to see similar programs: Health Fair, Art Event, School-based Event, Other Event, Partnership Involvement, Young Children, Children, Youth/Young Adults, Families, Providers, Educators, Rhode Island
Hand in Hand, in Fort Worth, launched a community-wide awareness campaign about trauma in children. Approximately 60 people attended a monthly collaboration meeting in which organizers kicked off the campaign with local mental health care providers. Organizers also obtained a proclamation from Tarrant County in recognition of Awareness Day.
Rural Children's Initiative conducted its "Up Close and Personal" campaign throughout May. The campaign involved distributing 580 age-appropriate and engaging posters in the stalls of restrooms throughout the community, as well as in businesses, health care entities, schools, and provider agencies. Rural Children's Initiative's team, youth, and families provided input on the posters, which shared mental health messages and encouraged people to seek help if they were experiencing mental health problems. The posters featured tear-off strips at the bottom with contact information for those seeking help. The organization also held a mini mental health rally and released green balloons at the Plainview City Park on Awareness Day. Rural Children's Initiative also participated by watching the live national virtual event. The system of care also participated in the Texas ASSET photo contest, "Shine a Light on Children's Mental Health," sending in photos that were included in the final video.
In celebration of Awareness Day, the Texas System of Care led a video campaign featuring the many faces and places involved in caring for children's mental health. The video, "Shine a Light on Children's Mental Health," provided data on the mental health needs of Texas children and opportunities for audiences and partner organizations to submit their own photos. They also asked participants to pose at a landmark and creatively "shine a light" in their photos. Campaign organizers also supported a statewide youth creativity contest led by the Texas Department of State Health Services that displayed winning entries in the State Capitol building and online.
The Children's Partnership sponsored and collaborated on community events throughout May. Organizers reached out to policymakers to promote awareness and provide education. The Children's Partnership engaged youth and their families in making a 10-foot poster of handprints, which they shared with policymakers. Both the City of Austin and Travis County issued proclamations and resolutions in honor of Awareness Day. The Children's Partnership also distributed green ribbons and an updated mental health fact card, created by the Texas System of Care core team, to help educate the community on children's mental health. It also announced the Henry McMahon Children's Advocacy Award, an annual award that honors the advocacy work of caregivers, teachers, and other informal supports that go "above and beyond" to protect the rights, safety, and well-being of children.
Youth in Transition of Montpelier produced two PSAs on the importance of children's mental health that aired on local TV in May. The system of care also hosted its annual Youth Adult Voice Movement Conference, bringing together a diverse group of 150 young people from across the State to network, learn leadership skills, and learn about promoting mental health. On Awareness Day, Youth in Transition set up an information booth on a busy street in downtown Burlington to share information about children's mental health in the local community.
The Virginia Art Therapy Association (VATA) gathered art therapists in the Richmond area at the Tuckahoe Library on May 9 in honor of Awareness Day. Volunteers spent the day assisting 25 toddlers, teens, parents, and retirees in making art. Grandparents and parents learned about VATA's statewide network, places of employment, legislative efforts, and Web site resources, including an art therapist locator. Also on May 9, art therapists and art therapy students in Hampton Roads gathered at the Virginia Beach Central Library to converse with the community and offer educational resources. Local community resources, including organizations supporting art therapy and art therapists in private practice, were also available. VATA launched a large social media campaign to raise awareness throughout Virginia and across the country, dedicating its Web site to Awareness Day resources and spreading the word by emailing, blogging, tweeting, and posting on Facebook. Through its social media outreach, VATA reached more than 2,500 people.
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services sponsored an event on May 7 before a Richmond Flying Squirrels game at the Diamond. The program distributed 200 tickets to local families, youth, and public officials concerned with children's mental health. Event exhibitors were prepared to share information about children's mental health, adolescent substance abuse, early childhood services, and suicide prevention. Unfortunately, a powerful thunderstorm came through at just the time families would have been coming to the event, which impacted the turnout and resulted in the game's cancellation. During a break in the weather, 50 people were able to visit the displays and hear the speakers, including Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel, Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Commissioner Jim Stewart, State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a parent of a teenager with mental illness, and a youth advocate who had past experience with the public mental health system.
Yakima Valley System of Care organized a number of activities in celebration of Awareness Day, including a suicide prevention walk with community stakeholders from schools, family, and youth. The Yakima County Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation that was shared with individuals, families, providers, and schools countywide, along with green ribbons to raise awareness of children's mental health needs. The system of care also hosted a Family Field Day at the Yakima Greenway's Sarg Hubbard Park. The event featured emotional wellness activities, mental health awareness information, "stigma-busting" puppet shows, and puppet-making activities.