Stand Up and Soar for Children’s Mental Health is our awareness campaign for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2014. 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
- New Braunfels
- 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 10, 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 have decided upon “Stand up and Soar” as our campaign’s key theme, 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:
Many of us may recall when 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 in 2013. 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.
We propose a Stand up and Soar for Children’s Mental Health Walk 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.
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).
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is all about the youth! Through a creative partnership with the Texas Department of State Health Services, we invite students across the state to participate in an art competition. This year’s theme is “What Happiness Means to Me.” Communities will vote on the top entries, and winning entries will be on display at the Texas State Capitol during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Thanks to all those who submitted entries. We had a great selection this year. You can vote for the winners here.
Social Media offers a cost-efficient way to cross promote efforts. We will share photos from the Stand up and Soar walk and kite flying events, as well as share photos from the art competition. We plan to compile the photos to create a 2 – 3 minute recap video to share over social media. We invite community stakeholders, families and system of care champions to contribute blog posts for the system of care blog during the week. Blog posts should be approximately 500 words in length and have 1 – 3 clear points. We’ll also include Children’s Mental Health Awareness updates in our system of care e-blast that is distributed to more than 700 subscribers. Additionally, we’ll provide a quote of the day during mental health awareness week for distribution via social media.
Creative partners can also cross-promote efforts by sharing content via social media.
Sample tweets and Facebook posts for communities to use are below:
- Today is CMHA Day! 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. Today is our #standupandsoar walk for #CMHA! #TxSOC
- Be a voice for children’s #mentalhealth. #CMHA Week 2014, 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:
- 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. Download a contest entry form here.
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:
- Childhood trauma exacts long, expensive toll by Josette Saxton, Texans Care for Children
- Texas facing mental health care crisis by State Rep Sylvester Turner
- Getting past the polite silence on mental illness by Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times
Date: May 10, 2014
Location: The walk will begin at the North Entrance of the Austin State Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701 (Entrance closest to 15th Street)
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 9:30 AM to begin our walk at 10 AM; We anticipate the kite flying ceremony to begin at 11 AM
Registration Due by May 1, 2014. Please see the Austin registration here:
Kite Making and Shoe Decorating Activity Night hosted by The Children’s Partnership
Come enjoy a fun night of kite making, sign decorating and shoe painting in preparation for Stand Up and Soar for Children’s Mental Health. The event will take place May 6th from 6 – 7:30 PM at the Palm Square Community Center. RSVP to Christianna Hale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City of Austin: May 1, 2014 at 5 PM at Austin City Hall
Austin Travis County: May 20, 2014 at 9 AM at Travis County Commissioner’s Court
Thursday, May 8th is recognized as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and in honor of this important day, ACGC will be hosting their first ever Trivia Night at FRANK restaurant on 4th and Colorado.
ACGC invites all to participate in this fun, laid back and friendly competition to raise awareness and much needed funding for low-income, uninsured and under-insured families to continue to receive quality mental health care.
Time: 6 – 9 PM; Tickets are $25 per member and tax deductible.
Austin State Hospital
Austin State Hospital’s CAPS Unit is hosting a “Stand Up and Soar” event to include a potluck luncheon, a 1 mile walk, kite flying and a balloon release.
Tropical – Harlingen Youth & Family has a fun filled week planned May 5 – 9. Each day, the team will spread awareness as follows:
Monday: The team will give out Children’s Mental Health Awareness neon green bracelets.
Tuesday: The team will distribute an activity book about children’s mental health awareness; the activity book will include a pencil and 3 colors.
Wednesday: Staff would like to invite at least 2 youth per case worker to fly kites in their parking area. They will also invite the firemen and women next door to join the fun! This will take place during the last hour of the day.
Thursday: The team will wear neon green shoe laces, as well as give out 30 pairs to clients and the community.
Friday: Chili’s is helping Tropical spread the word! They will be giving out CMHAD bracelets to the first 30 customers and 30 activity books to the first 30 children. Tropical partnered with Chili’s “Give Back to our Community” event program. The team will pass out flyers to promote the event, and if a customer shows Chili’s staff the flyer, 10% of the bill will be donated to Tropical Texas Behavioral Health. Tropical plans to have monthlies at Chilis so that 10% of the meal can continue to be donated to TTBH Youth & Family clients. There will also be balloons and posters, as well as staff wearing their green shoe laces and t-shirts.
The Center for Health Care Services (CHCS) in Bexar County is celebrating Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day May 8 with a walk to the Bexar County Courthouse. Green shoes are encouraged in support of stomping out stigma. The walk begins at 11 AM, and will begin at:
The United Way of San Antonio
700 S. Alamo St.
San Antonio, TX 78205
Also, check out these cool tennis shoes from CHCS’ awesome “Children’s Mental Health Matters Because . . . ” campaign! Each tennis shoe explains why we should all care about children’s mental health.
Guadapalooza is a music festival and fundraiser in New Braunfels dedicated to children’s mental health awareness. The Texas Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health helps organize this event featuring more than 20 artists. The event takes place May 11 at River Road Ice House.