Effort shines a bright light on NH children and youth experiencing mental health challenges
Plymouth, N.H. (May 25, 2023) – The New Hampshire Children’s System of Care (CSoC) showcased and recognized youth in fifth through 12th grade at the Fifth Annual Magnify Voices Expressive Art Contest celebration held during National Mental Health Awareness Month. A record number of entries from 61 youth artists across New Hampshire were featured at the celebration event on May 24 at Plymouth State University’s Silver Center for the Arts to showcase artwork and stories portraying personal struggles with mental health conditions. The event included an art exhibit, a resource fair, a dance performance and an awards presentation for 11 finalists and the People’s Choice Award.
NH 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 stigma around mental illness. Magnify Voices is part of a larger, national effort to recognize the vital importance of positive mental health for a child’s healthy development.
“Each year we become more and more impressed by the submissions from New Hampshire’s youth,” said Holly Fenn, Magnify Voices committee co-chair and Reach 1 Teach 1 Love 1 co-founder. “The artwork and stories that we received are extremely powerful and help shine a light on youth mental health in the state to help make a difference. We applaud each and every individual for their bravery in sharing their story to let others know they are not alone and that there is hope for the future.”
Submissions for Magnify Voices came in the form of a short film, song, performance or interpretive dance; an essay or poem; or a design medium such as a sculpture, photograph, painting or diorama. All 61 entries from this year’s contest were on display at an art exhibit. Many organizations came in support of the event to share information focused on improving the mental health of our youth. Kicking off the opening of the awards ceremony was an interpretive youth dance performance by The Broadway North Competition Troupe.
Nearly 150 people were in attendance at the event, with others watching remotely. The audience voted on the People’s Choice Award which went to high school student Makayla P. for her artwork titled The Shadows of Anxiety.
All submissions can be viewed here. The event was headlined by a formal awards presentation for the 11 finalists as follows:
- My Mind in Meer Minutes by Kyra F. (middle school)
- Wanted by Alyvia Y. and McKayla P. (high school)
- Speak Up by Carissa L., Alyssa R. and Salem E. (high school)
- My Shadow and Me by Yahli R., Samantha M. and Jillian M. (high school)
- My Head Talks by Terrence D. and Rhaily R. (high school)
- Go to the Dogs by Bee S. (high school)
- Dependence, Avoidance, Acceptance by Mars D. (high school)
- Lose Yourself by Brenna C. (high school)
- Sometimes Space by Skylar H. (high school)
- I Just Want to Live by Leo W. (high school)
- Love Your Reflection by Mary Clare L. (high school)
The Magnify Voices Expressive Art Contest exhibit with 2023 submissions will remain on display at Plymouth State University’s Silver Hall through June 4 before heading to Great North Woods Center for the Arts in Columbia from June 5 through July 5.
Partner organizations include N.H. Department of Education Bureau of Student Wellness and Nutrition, N.H. Department of Health and Human Services Bureau for Children’s Behavioral Health, NAMI New Hampshire, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Reach 1 Teach 1 Love 1, N.H. Office of the Child Advocate, N.H. State Council on the Arts and Carroll County Coalition for Public Health. For more information or to view the submissions and finalists, visit NHCSoC.org/magnify-voices.
The N.H. Children’s System of Care (CSoC) is transforming New Hampshire’s children’s behavioral health care services and supports 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. Through a network of resources and support, CSoC is youth and family driven and community based.