Stand Up and Soar for Children’s Mental Health is our awareness campaign for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2015. Below is a comprehensive toolkit for your community to adapt and use as a guideline. We will continually update this page with more information regarding events in your area.
- Strategic Plan
- Press Release
- Stand Up and Soar for Children’s Mental Health
- Kite Flying Ceremony
- Art Contest
- Social Media
- Creative Partnerships
- Austin Event
- Tropical – Harlingen Event
- The Center for Health Care Services
- Community Checklist
National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is dedicated to recognizing the importance of children’s mental health as part of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s Public Awareness and Support Strategic Initiative. In Texas, awareness is more important than ever. One in five children and youth have a diagnosable mental health need.This could be due to lack of knowledge and access, or stigma. Whatever the reason, children and families need to know it’s okay to seek help. So help us recognize Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week on Saturday, May 2, and Stand up and Soar for Children’s Mental Health!
The Texas System of Care has created a public awareness campaign to support SAMHSA’s key messages: to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth. We will celebrate 2014’s theme,“Stand up and Soar,” to continue building momentum and branding across the state, and we ask for our system of care champions’ support. We aim to reach parents, youth and families across Texas who may be struggling with mental health issues through guerilla marketing, social media, creative partnerships and press. Below we outline each tactic, and how our champions can personalize and apply those strategies to their individual communities.
A press release is a distributed announcement containing the who, what, where, when and why of an event. It should be sent out to all relevant organizations, including but not limited to local media, your mayor and local politicians’ offices, commissioner’s court, relevant university groups and community stakeholders. Press releases should be one page and sent out early in the morning the day of the event. Often you can send a press release out early with an embargo until the specified date to give organizations advance notice. You can find a sample press release here:
In 2013 the NFL fined Brandon Marshall, a player from the Chicago Bears, $10,500 for wearing green shoes on the field in recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week. Marshall was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2011, and has been a vocal advocate for awareness ever since. SAMHSA has identified a green ribbon with mental health awareness for many years. We plan to continue the color association since media attention on Marshall catapulted green shoes and mental health awareness into the public domain.
Stand up and Soar for Children’s Mental Health Walk was a successful 2014 Awareness Day event, with all participants donning green shoes and flying or carrying kites. Shoe type doesn’t matter. If participants want to wear tennis shoes, Keds, flip flops, boots, etc. they can so long as they are green. Green shoelaces or pinning a green ribbon to shoes are also cost-efficient options. We suggest a mile long walk to match all fitness levels. We strongly encourage you to reach out to your city’s event department to secure all necessary city permits with as much lead time as possible.
At the end of the Stand up and Soar for Children’s Mental Health Walk, participants and others who wish to join will participate in a kite flying ceremony to recognize children’s mental health. A park or school area will be ideal. The Texas System of Care’s logo is a kite. With all the System of Care champions participating, the kites send one cohesive message across the state.
We encourage you to invite local schools, gyms, youth serving organizations, etc. to participate in the walks and kite flying ceremony (See more in the Creative Partnerships section).
Information on the 2015 Art Contest is coming soon!
Social Media offers a cost-efficient way to cross promote efforts. We will continue our Stand Up to Stigma social media campaign this year. We invite everyone to take photos of their green shoes (green shoe selfies) and post them to our Facebook page. Below is an example from 2014:
Also, below are sample tweets and Facebook posts folks can use to spread the word:
- Today is CMHAD! Communities in TX will #standupandsoar to raise awareness. #TxSOC
- Fact: 1/5 kids have #mentalhealth needs. Today let’s make sure they know we care #standupandsoar #Texas
- We hope you have your green shoes & kites ready. Lets #standupandsoar for #CMHAD! #TxSOC
- Be a voice for children’s #mentalhealth. #CMHA Week 2015, Let’s all #standupandsoar
- #Standupandsoar for children’s #MH. Join our #CMHA Week green shoe walk & kite flying ceremony here: [LINK TO YOUR EVENT]
- Today is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day! Communities across Texas will Stand up and Soar in support of raising awareness for children’s mental health. Will you stand with us?
- One in Five children and youth have a diagnosable mental health need. Let’s make sure they know we care, and that a group of devoted people are working hard daily to change this. Stand up and Soar with us on Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Join our walk and kite flying ceremony here: [LINK TO YOUR EVENT]
- Today we’ll Stand up and Soar for children’s mental health. Wear your green shoes and meet us at [LOCATION]. From there we’ll walk to [lLOCATION] for our kite flying ceremony. Open to all but please register here: [Registration Link]
- In support of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week please share & change your profile picture to our Awareness Week logo:
In order to hold a successful art competition, engaging kite ceremonies and Stand up and Soar walks we will seek out creative partnerships within our communities. For the statewide art competition, we have collaborated with the Texas Department of State Health Services.
For the walk and kite flying ceremony we should engage parents, colleagues, mental health providers, local gyms and youth serving organizations. You can find a sample letter of interest here:
For the walk it would be beneficial to engage the above groups, but especially local gyms and running groups who can spread the word within an active community, possibly leading to more participants. Encourage trainers to wear green shoes or shoelaces the day of the event as an additional guerilla marketing tactic to raise awareness for the walk and kite flying ceremony. We encourage posting printed materials within the gym and on windows of stores along the walk route; however, there will likely be a cost unless one of the creative partnerships agrees to sponsor the printed materials. You can find a sample letter of interest for a gym or runner’s group here:
Local media is an efficient and cost-free way to raise awareness for your organization’s efforts surrounding Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Call your local TV stations and ask if they can add an event to their “daybook.” This daybook contains daily, local events for coverage consideration. Also submit a media advisory to the TV station and your local paper’s calendar. Please see a sample media advisory here:
Email morning producers from your local TV station as well as managing editors from local papers to explain why the events are important, as well as offer an expert from your organization as a guest on the show to discuss children’s mental health. Be sure to include the example press release with your pitch. You can find a sample pitch here:
We also encourage your organization to submit an opinion editorial (op-ed) to a local paper for consideration. An op-ed should be no longer than 750 words and have a clear takeaway or call to action. You should submit the op-ed approximately a week prior to Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, giving editors a chance to review the piece. Successful op-eds typically contain current news information to keep the piece relevant, whether that is legislation, the awareness day or a current event. Be sure to preview your area’s events in the op-ed. You can find example mental health op-eds here:
- Mental health of children should be priority for all by Molly Lopez
- Childhood trauma exacts long, expensive toll by Josette Saxton, Texans Care for Children
- Getting past the polite silence on mental illness by Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times
Date: May 2, 2015
Location: The walk will begin at the Austin State Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701 (South Steps Pending)
Please park in the Capitol Visitor’s Garage (Free on weekends) at 1201 San Jacinto Blvd. Following the walk we will begin our kite flying ceremony at Wooldridge Square Park at 900 Guadalupe Street.
Time: We will gather at the Capitol at 11 AM to hear words from partners and begin our walk at Noon; We anticipate park activities to begin at 1 PM.
Registration Link Pending
Tropical – Harlingen Youth & Family had a fun filled week planned in 2014. Plans for 2015 are pending.
The Center for Health Care Services (CHCS) in Bexar County is celebrated Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day May 8 with a walk to the Bexar County Courthouse. 2015 plans are pending.