2015 Youth Poster Contest Voting is NOW CLOSED– Stay tuned for the winners!

27 03 2015

poster voting

**UPDATE: Voting is now closed. Thank you SO much for all of your wonderful engagement in this contest! We will be contacting our winners by April 15, and will announce winning posters on our blog shortly after. Stay tuned!
We are so excited to present this year’s poster finalists for your vote! We were lucky enough to get over 450 poster entries this year from across the state– WOW! That is more than 3 times the amount we received last year. Thank you participants, for all of your fantastic, thoughtful, creative entries. Choosing our finalists has never been harder, and even if your poster was not chosen as a finalist know that our committee was incredibly touched and awed by the level of artistry and heart behind every entry. We hope that you enjoyed creating your posters as much as we enjoyed seeing them. Please submit again next year!

*NOTE: Please click on the poster images to see a larger image.

Thank you for voting! First, second, and third place winners will be chosen in each age category based off of your votes. Winners will be notified by April 17, and will be announced on this blog soon after. Winners, their families, and the community are invited to celebrate these young artists at our Children’s Mental Health Awareness Event on May 7, at 1 PM, at the Overture Center in Madison, WI. More details on this event to come!

Here are a few photos from our poster judging group– thanks to all who helped us make some tough decisions!

Poster Judging_1Poster Judging 2

Mental Illness Stigma of Children, Adolescents and Their Families

9 03 2015

Tally Moses, M.S.W., Ph.D.

When you think of mental illness stigma, what comes to your mind? “Stigma” often refers to (a) prejudice that Postpic_1individuals diagnosed with a mental disorder are faced with when others view them negatively (as less smart, capable, good, worthy, (and so forth) simply because of a label, and (b) discrimination, when individuals are excluded, rejected, harassed disrespected, and otherwise treated unfairly by those who hold such prejudices. The stigma just described is called public-stigma: being mistreated by the public. There is also the problem of self-stigma, when people diagnosed with a mental disorder apply the negative attitudes they know are ‘out there’ to themselves –such that they feel ashamed, embarrassed, inferior, weak, unimportant (and so forth) because they have a mental health condition.


Both types of stigma are extremely harmful to adults, adolescents and children affected by mental disorders, and their families. Individuals diagnosed with a disorder may be deprived of opportunities in education, employment, housing, and socially, (and so forth); and the negative psychological effects of stigma can lead to further isolation and demoralization. Sometimes the effects of stigma are worse than the effects of the illness itself.  Children, and especially adolescents who are concerned about stigma report fears of being rejected by peers, being harassed at school, or treated differently (in a negative way) by teachers and other adults. Family members (especially parents) may be impacted by stigma in somewhat similar ways when they feel blamed, criticized, pitied, isolated or ashamed because of their association.

Does everyone with a mental health condition, or who are related to such a person, suffer from stigma? No. Many youth and adults with a diagnosed mental health condition report mostly support and consideration from others. They may look around and see that they are not alone, and that there are a great many people with mental health disorders who accomplish great things, who live good lives. They learn to accept themselves, to pay attention to the positive, not just the sad and painful. Family members also often find ways to see the person, not the disorder, and to remain optimistic. Why do some people experience more or less public-stigma and self-stigma than others? This is not an easy question. It requires more research.

How can youth diagnosed with a mental disorder and their family members fight against public Postpic_3stigma? Thankfully, many individuals resist and fight against stigma in different ways. Here are just a few:

  • Learn more facts about the mental health condition and about effective treatments.
  • Identify the positive aspects of self and life, and practice seeing the glass ‘half full’.
  • Spend more time with people who are positive, encouraging, or empathic, and less time with those who tend to be more judgmental. Sometimes this involves developing new friendships.
  • Reach out to others who have ‘been there’ and can support and coach you if and when needed.
  • Connect and maintain a connection with professionals (therapists, doctors, case-managers, etc.)  who see you as a full partner in your own recovery, and as full of potential—not simply a collection of symptoms.
  • Help someone else who can use your support and encouragement.
  • Find or develop new opportunities to speak out against stigma, educate others about the facts, and advocate for change in public views and policies.


Postpic_4Here are some advocacy coalitions working on anti-stigma initiatives in Wisconsin:

Wisconsin Initiative for Stigma Elimination (WISE)

Wisconsin United for Mental Health

Wisconsin Family Ties

National Alliance on Mental Illness (WI)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (Dane County)

Mental Health America

Exploring Art Therapy

18 02 2015

“The aim of art is to not represent the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance”



Want more information about art therapy? Check out the TEDx talk from Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPAT, LPCC, ATR-BC. Cathy is a Board Certified and Licensed Professional Art Therapist, as well as one of the founders of Art Therapy Without Borders.

Other Resources:

Wisconsin Art Therapy Association

American Art Therapy Association

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Art Therapy


Check out these resources to start exploring your emotions through art! Remember, “Your Feelings Matter!”

The Science of Happiness- Art Therapy

100 Art Therapy Exercises

10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

Time for the 2015 “My Feelings Matter” Youth Poster Contest!

12 01 2015

The Children’s Mental Health Matters Coalition is pleased to present our 2015 My Feelings Matter youth poster contest, in commemoration of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness week in May. Our Coalition is a Madison-based group of parents and professionals dedicated to promoting children’s mental health year-round. We encourage youth from Pre-K through high school to express themselves through their art on the theme of My Feelings Matter, as a way to support the development of children’s social emotional health and to generate age-appropriate conversations about the importance of mental health. Please see the contest entry form below for contest details and restrictions. Deadline for poster submission is March 20, 2015.


entry form-2015_Page_1


En Español:

CMHAD Poster Contest _2015-SP_Page_1

Why Children’s Mental Health?


According to the American Psychological Association (APA), an estimated 15 million of our nation’s young people can currently be diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Yet only about 7 percent of  youth who need support receive appropriate help from mental health professionals. Half of all lifetime cases of mental disorders begin by age 14 (National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)). With the right supports and resources a myriad of mental health issues can be tempered, or even prevented in childhood, before they have a chance to become more severe.

When these issues remain untreated, children carry these mental health issues into adulthood, where they become more entrenched and unmanageable, interfering with their daily life.

Studies show that promoting the social-emotional well-being of children and youth leads to a more successful adulthood. Those who receive early mental health supports show (mentalhealth.gov):

  • Higher overall productivity
  • Better educational outcomes
  • Lower crime rates
  • Stronger economies
  • Lower health care costs
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased lifespan
  • Improved family life

Why Art?

Art is a widely used practice in therapeutic and educational settings as a way for children and adults to express their c04-56_22aemotions in a safe, visual way. Art can be defined as anything from painting and drawing, to sculpture, dance, or music. Whatever the method, art offers a creative outlet for children’s feelings to help them deal with strong emotions, and gives adults in their lives insight into how their children are developing socially and emotionally. Putting your thoughts and feelings out into the world in the form of art is a powerful way to face those emotions, and begin to address them in a healthy way. Our hope is that this poster contest does just that, giving participants an outlet for their emotions and opening up the communication lines between children and their parents, teachers, and caregivers. If a photograph can say a thousand words we believe the artistic creation of a child can say so much more, and can act as a strong reminder of the importance of children’s mental health awareness.

For more information on the benefits of the arts in childhood check out:
The Importance of Art in Child Development.

What Can You Do?

Spread the word! Tell your friends, family, and work colleagues about our Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Celebration on May 7, and encourage children in your life to enter! This is a great opportunity to show your support for children’s mental health awareness and for children to experience the benefits of expressing their emotions through creativity. Prizes will be awarded to the winners in each age category. Please see the contest entry forms at the top of the page for more details.

Be informed. Learn about how you can help support children’s mental health in your life, whether it is directly working with children, advocating for early mental health supports, or by helping others become informed. Here are a few places for you to get started:

Information for Early Childhood Educators (CDC)

Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health

Mental Health America

National Center for Children in Poverty

2014 Poster Contest Winners

18 04 2014

Thanks to the youth throughout the state who participated in the 2014 My Feelings Matter Poster contest.  We had over 160 incredible entries.  After a week of voting we had over 1300 visitors to the website 500 people viewed the poster finalists and over 3000 total votes on the poster finalists.  Thanks to every one who participated and helped to spread the message that My Feelings Matter!

With no further ado, the community has selected these wonderful posters:


Preschool Entry 6

Preschool 1st Place

Preschool 2nd Place

Preschool 2nd Place

Preschool 3rd Place

Preschool 3rd Place


K-2 1st Place

K-2 2nd Place

K-2 2nd Place

K-2 3rd Place

K-2 3rd Place Tie

K-2 3rd Place Tie

K-2 3rd Place Tie

3rd-5th Grade

3rd-5th Grade 1st Place

3rd-5th Grade 1st

3rd-5th Grade 2nd Place

3rd-5th Grade 2nd Place

3rd-5th Grade 3rd Place

3rd-5th Grade 3rd Place

6th-8th Grade

6th-8th Grade 1st Place

6th-8th Grade 1st Place

6th-8th Grade 2nd Place

6th-8th Grade 2nd Place

6th-8th Grade 3rd Place

6th-8th Grade 3rd Place

High School

High School 1st Place

High School 1st Place

High School 2nd Place

High School 2nd Place

High School 3rd Place

High School 3rd Place

2014 Poster Contest Voting–Vote Now!

8 04 2014

2014 collage

We received over 150 incredible entries! Youth were asked to create are based on the theme “My Feelings Matter”.

Finalists were selected in each age category based on the number of entries.

Please vote on your favorite posters in each category. You can vote for up to three posters per age group. Click on the poster to see a larger picture.

Please save the date for our Mental Health Awareness Day Event on Thursday, May 8 from 1:00-2:00 PM at the Overture Center in Madison to celebrate the winners and promote children’s mental health with performances by area youth. CMHA Day Invitation 2014

Voting is open for one week. Winners will be notified on 4/18/14.

Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry.

My Feelings Poster Contest Deadline Extended to 4/2/14!!

21 03 2014

Get your poster contest entries in (postmarked) by 4/2/14. There is still time to enter.  The top three winners in each category get a prize and their artwork featured on the blog and shown at events throughout the state!

To find out more: CMHAD Poster Contest _2014 new deadline


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