Effort shines a bright light on NH children and youth experiencing mental health challenges
Derry, N.H. (May 5, 2022) – The New Hampshire Children’s System of Care (CSoC) recognized youth in fifth through twelfth grade at the Fourth Annual Magnify Voices Expressive Arts Contest celebration held during both Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Month. The 48 youth artists were featured at the 2022 Magnify Voices Celebration Event on May 4 at the Tupelo Music Hall, in Derry, to showcase artwork and stories portraying personal struggles with mental health. The event included an art exhibit, a resource fair and an awards presentation for 12 finalists.
The CSoC created the Magnify Voices contest in 2019 to highlight the inadequacies in the system that serves Granite State youth and their families by raising awareness, effectuating change and erasing the stigma around mental health, Magnify Voices is part of a larger, national effort to recognize the vital importance of positive mental health for a child’s healthy development.
“We are so proud of the bravery that is portrayed in the Magnify Voices submissions this year,” said Michele Watson, CSoC communications committee chair and NH Family Network Coordinator at NAMI New Hampshire (National Alliance on Mental Illness). “We received so many amazing and powerful entries. Each submission is worthy of being recognized as they all shine a light on our New Hampshire youth who are open about their mental health challenges and want to see change in our systems. The intent of Magnify Voices is to provide Granite State youth an opportunity to share their story, to recognize that they are not alone in this fight, and to provide hope for the future.”
Participants had the opportunity to view the 48 submissions which included short films, essays, poems, and a variety of expressive art. In addition, attendees gathered information from organizations focused on improving the mental health of our youth, listened to music by West African drummer, Theophilus Martey who was recently named the New Hampshire Laureate for 2022-2024, and experienced Fraglets Art, an adjustable art form using painted magnetic shapes. The event was headlined by a formal awards presentation for the 12 finalists with keynote speaker Dr. Alison Roy, a licensed clinical psychologist and trauma expert who has devoted her career to the study and treatment of traumatic and chronic stress.
Nearly 150 people were in attendance, with others watching remotely. The audience voted on the People’s Choice Award which went to Emily W., Emily A., Lindsey K. and Lana. G for a submission titled Short Film which discussed mental health illnesses and statistics for those who are suffering. The group of juniors were inspired to create this video to help others feel heard. Audio from the video includes “If you suffer from any of these conditions, you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a trusted loved one or a professional…”. The NH Rapid Response Access Point is available to anyone suffering from a mental health or substance use crisis and can connect by calling or texting 833-710-6477.
The 12 finalists were broken into two categories with three middle school and nine high school submissions:
- Comparison by Maggie A. (middle school)
- Train Wreck by Ayanna V. from (middle school)
- I’m Sure You’ve Known the Feeling by Brenna C. (middle school)
- My Colors by Lillian B. (high school)
- Graveyard of Dreams and I Want To by Arden C. (high school)
- Safe in My Room by Leo W. (high school)
- Pharmaceutical Haze by Mars D. (high school)
- Fight Depression by Braden Y. and Charlotte S. (high school)
- Real People, Real Stories by Gabby F., Joah D., Tyler K. and Zack M. (high school)
- Short Film by Emily W., Emily A., Lindsey K. and Lana G. (high school)
This year’s submissions will be on display June 4 through July 16, including a reception open to the public on June 17, at the Jaffrey Civic Center in Jaffrey, N.H. and other events around the Granite State. On May 15, NH CSoC will be featured as the non-profit of the day at Fisher Cats game against Binghamton at 1:35 p.m. celebrating Children’s Mental Health Awareness. Information and resources for families will be available on the concourse during the game.
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. The Advisory Council, established by the NH Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education, is comprised of more than 50 New Hampshire child and family organizations and agencies focused on mental health and substance use disorders for children, youth and their families. Through a network of resources and support, CSoC is youth and family-driven and community-based. For more information, visit NHCSoC.org.
Photo caption: Artwork by Mars D. titled “Pharmaceutical Haze” originally painted with acrylic on a 24 by 18 canvas. (Courtesy of Mars D.)