Effort shines a bright light on NH children and youth dealing with mental health issues
Concord, N.H. (February 24, 2022) – Magnify Voices Expressive Arts Contest, an initiative of the New Hampshire Children’s System of Care (CSoC), extended the deadline to March 18 for students in 5th through 12th grade, providing two additional weeks to submit expressive art based off their experiences with mental health. With one in six youth in New Hampshire experiencing a mental health disorder annually, Magnify Voices is in its fourth year of raising awareness and effectuating change to help ensure the social and emotional health of children and youth.
Early intervention for mental health improves outcomes throughout life and an inadequate mental health system negatively impacts individuals, families and communities. According to NAMI, 57% of the 15,000 New Hampshire youth aged 12 to 17 with depression did not receive any care in 2020.
“I know there was a point in time when staying wasn’t a realistic thought and there were nights that felt like they could have been your last,” said Erin and Amy Murphy who were voted the 2021 People’s Choice Winner. “But as time went on, you realize life goes on…I wanted to thank you for getting the help that you needed and deserved. Admitting that you needed help was probably one of the hardest things you’ve ever done but it was so worth it.”
At the time of their submission, Erin Murphy was in 10th grade at Windham High School and her cousin, Amy Murphy was a senior at Salem High School and together they presented their video submission titled “Dear Younger Me”.
CSoC started Magnify Voices in 2019 during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month in May to highlight the inadequacies in the system that serves Granite State youth and families in NH. Magnify Voices is part of a larger, national effort to recognize the vital importance of positive mental health for a child’s healthy development.
“Last year’s submissions were extremely personal and powerful, and epitomized the purpose of why we started Magnify Voices,” said Michele Watson, Magnify Voices committee chair and NH Family Network Coordinator at NAMI NH. “This unique effort gives youth a creative outlet to share their feelings and emotions in a way that is comfortable for them and that they may not be able to express otherwise. Mental health is a very serious issue, and our goal is to build greater awareness for children and youth and create ways that they, in turn, can influence decision-makers to effect change in our state.”
Submissions for Magnify Voices will be accepted through March 18 and can be in the form of a short film (two minutes or less), an essay or poem (1,000 words or less) or through visual art, song or sculpture. Ten finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges and will be announced at a celebration event at the Tupelo Music Hall, in Derry, on May 4 along with the People’s Choice Award which will be voted on by the public. In addition to the Celebration Event, work submitted by the students will be displayed at an exhibit at the Jaffrey Civic Center from June 6 through July 16 and at other events around the Granite State.
Magnify Voices partner organizations include NH Department of Education Bureau of Student Wellness and Nutrition, NH Department of Health and Human Services Bureau for Children’s Behavioral Health, NAMI NH, New Futures, Reach 1 Teach 1 Love 1, the NH Office of the Children Advocate and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and Endowment for Health. For more information about Magnify Voices, visit tinyurl.com/magnifyvoices2022.
The NH Children’s System of Care (CSoC) is transforming NH’s children’s behavioral health care services and supports into an integrated, comprehensive system of care. Through a network of resources and support, CSoC is youth and family-driven and community-based.