It’s a wrap! Check out the 2024 Magnify Voices submissions here and stay tuned for 2025 details!

In a Crisis?

Magnify Voices 2024 Expressive Art Contest Shines a Light on Youth Mental Health in NH

Summary

New Hampshire students in fifth through 12th grade used their voices to share their individual mental health journeys through the Sixth Annual Magnify Voices Expressive Art Contest, held on May 22 at New England College in Henniker, NH.

Youth share their stories through creative works in a broad range of media

Henniker, N.H. (May 23, 2024) – New Hampshire students in fifth through 12th grade used their voices to share their individual mental health journeys through the Sixth Annual Magnify Voices Expressive Art Contest, held on May 22 at New England College in Henniker, NH. The 44 pieces of artwork submitted used a variety of mediums, from paintings, essays, and poems to short videos, songs, and performances. An initiative of the New Hampshire Children’s System of Care (CSoC), Magnify Voices raises awareness, erases stigma, and effects change to help ensure the social and emotional health of youth in the Granite State.

“By giving youth a voice through their art, we are reducing stigma around mental health issues. We are helping everyone know that they are not alone. It is very powerful to have everyone come together and see that,” said Deb Jurkoic, Magnify Voices Committee Member and NAMI New Hampshire (National Alliance on Mental Illness) NH Family Network Coordinator.
The celebration event included an exhibit of 2024 submissions; a keynote presentation by Alexa Felix, a Plymouth State University graduate student studying clinical mental health counseling; and an awards presentation announcing the following 12 finalists:

  • Enough by Morgan R.
  • Overload by Tyler J.
  • Girl in the Picture by Summer D.
  • Reflection of the Hidden Self by Haleyann S.
  • Internal Collapse by Eliza B.
  • Talk: A Mental Health PSA by Cait H.
  • In One Ear, Then Stays with Me Forever by Graysin G.
  • You’re Never Alone by Lindsay G. and Dom H.
  • Trans by Sorren C.
  • Heart Map by Abby B.
  • Melancholy by Trisha K.
  • Life Used to Be Brighter by Oliver H.

The nearly 200 people in attendance voted on the recipient for the People’s Choice Award, which went to Morgan B. for “When Will It Stop.”

“Anxiety makes it feel like the weight of the world is falling down on me,” wrote Morgan B. in her essay. “It feels like I am on fire, but there is nothing I can do to diminish the flames… While life may not stop or slow down when you have a mental illness, life is too short to be at war with yourself every day. It is too short to constantly feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, and to spend so long engulfed in the fire that your mental illness lights.”

The works from the 12 finalists were featured in an academic planner distributed at the end of the event. Submissions will be displayed around the state beginning on May 23 at Oyster River Middle School in Durham. The Magnify Voices Expressive Art Contest exhibit will also be featured on October 6 at NAMIWalks New Hampshire in Concord.

The New Hampshire Children’s System of Care (CSoC) created the Magnify Voices contest in 2019 during Mental Health Awareness Month in May to highlight the inadequacies in the system that serves youth and families. The art contest is a part of a national effort to highlight the vital role of positive mental health in a child’s healthy development.

NH CSoC is transforming New Hampshire’s behavioral health care services and supports for children into an integrated, comprehensive system of care. The Advisory Council, established by the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services and the N.H. Department of Education, is comprised of more than 50 child and family organizations and agencies across the state focused on improving mental health and addressing substance use disorders for children, youth, and their families.

Magnify Voices is a collaboration between the agencies and individual volunteers who come together to create this annual event. Partner organizations for Magnify Voices include N.H. Department of Education Bureau of Student Wellness and Nutrition, NAMI New Hampshire, Endowment for Health, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, NH State Council on the Arts, NFI North, NH Coalition for Suicide Prevention, New Futures, NH Department of Health and Human Services Bureau for Children’s Behavioral Health, and NH Office of the Child Advocate. For more information or to view the 2024 submissions and finalists, visit NHCSoC.org/magnify-voices.