Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Celebration Recap!

14 05 2015

On Thursday, May 7, the Children’s Mental Health Matters Coalition hosted our Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Event. Winning artwork from our youth poster contest on the theme of “My Feelings Matter” was on display for winners, their families, and the community to admire. Local youth performers provided some fantastic entertainment, while Elizabeth Hudson, Director of the Office of Children’s Mental Health, presented the Governor’s proclamation declaring it Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Wisconsin. It was a wonderful event with a great turnout, that started some important discussions surrounding children’s mental health supports. We invite you to take a look at some of the photos and video from the event below, and we look forward to seeing you at next year’s event!

Video of Proclamation Presentation:

Poster Winners:

Chavez Elementary School Marimba Club:

Lincoln Elementary School Choir Performance:

Madison Country Day School Dance Club:

Presentation of the Proclamation and Poster Awards:

THANK YOU to all of the children and families who participated in this event, and in our “My Feelings Matter” poster contest. Children’s mental health is a critical topic in our community, and together we can ensure that children have the supports and resources they need to cope with their emotions in a safe and healthy way. Don’t forget to check out our Children’s Mental Health Matters Toolkit, and stay tuned for next year’s contest and event!

A special thanks to our event sponsors:

Barnes and Noble–Madison East
Ian’s Pizza
Mental Health America of Wisconsin
Overture Center for the Arts
Project LAUNCH

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Celebration is May 7!

3 05 2015

Come one, come all to the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Celebration, Thursday, May 7, 1 to 2 PM at the Overture Center for the Arts, Rotunda Stage in Madison, Wisconsin. Walk through an exhibit of winning artwork from our “My Feelings Matter” poster contest, appreciate local youth performances, and hear more about how you can support children’s mental health. Click on our press release and the event schedule below, to learn more. Hope to see you there!

Press Release:

CMHA Pre-Event_PR_2015

Event Schedule:

CMHA Day Program 2015_Final_Page_2 CMHA Day Program 2015_Final_Page_1

Announcing the 2015 Contest Winners!

19 04 2015

THANK YOU to all who took the time to vote on the talented entries we received for this year’s contest, and THANK YOU to all of our amazing participants. The competition was extremely close this year, and even if you didn’t win this time around, we strongly encourage you to enter in years to come. Below are the first, second, and third place winners selected by YOU, the voters, in each age category. Winners and interested community members are invited to a Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day event celebrating the winning artists, on May 7, from 1 PM to 2 PM at Overture Center for the Arts in Madison. Winning art will be displayed, local youth will provide dance and music performances, and a proclamation recognizing Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day will be presented.

(*Contest Winners: You should have already been contacted regarding your placement in the contest. If you were not reached directly and have further questions, please write to us via the blog to let us know, so that we can contact you with any further information you might need. Rest assured that you will not be disqualified if you do not get back to us right away. The winners we have chosen will not change).

Without further ado, here are our 2015 “My Feelings Matter” poster contest winners! Congratulations to all!


First Place: Reese Moravits

Pre-K_1st Place

Second Place: Samuel Raymond

Pre-K_2nd Place

Third Place: Ellie Burnet

Pre-K_3rd Place


First Place: Cana Raymond

K-2_1st Place

Second Place: Ayda Klein

K-2_2nd Place

Third Place: Damian Guzman

K-2_3rd Place

3- 5th Grade

First Place: Emma Meydam

3-5_1st Place

Second Place: Alison Haag

3-5_2nd Place

Third Place: Leela Schuch

3-5_3rd Place

6-8th Grade

First Place: Anja Raymond

6-8_1st Place

Second Place: Trinity Raymond

6-8_2nd Place

Third Place: Zoe Botes

6-8_3rd Place

High School

First Place: Karly Kolehouse
High School_1st Place

Second Place: Antonia Beranek
High School_2nd Place

Third Place: Alyssa Krause

High School_3rd Place

Thanks again to the Wisconsin youth who submitted a poster for sharing your artistic talents and thoughtful insight into why “My Feelings Matter.” We hope that all who entered the contest used the opportunity to discuss or explore their emotions and how to deal with them in a safe and productive way. As a reminder we offer our FREE Wisconsin Knows Children’s Mental Health Matters Toolkit to help guide discussions about emotions and dealing with them in a healthy manner. If you did enter the contest this year, whether you placed or not, we would love to hear about how you used this activity as a platform to delve into your emotional health, or that of your child/student. Please make sure if you share anything of a personal nature about a student, or a child that you are not the legal guardian to, that you maintain their anonymity. Meanwhile, stay tuned for details from the May 7 Children’s Mental Health Awareness event. We are already looking forward to next year’s entries!

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 (

  • 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


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