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DHS News Newsletter April 2009 

DHS youth to perform at national event in D.C.

April 2009

DHS is proud to announce that two teens from the DHS Office of Behavioral Health System of Care Initiative will be featured as one of six youth acts to perform at the national Hear Me NOW: A Celebration of Resiliency through the Performing Arts event, to be held on May 7, 2009 at the Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, DC as part of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (NCMHAD).

In February, as part of a national talent search,  diverse group of individuals who have varying roles and responsibilities in our nine System of Care communities the System of Care Initiative and the DHS Office of Community Relations held local auditions for youth involved with the System of Care Initiative and selected the finalists. The finalists were recorded on DVD by Jamie Walker, DHS Office of Community Services, AmeriCorps, KEYS Service CORPS. The final, edited DVD was sent to judges in Washington D.C.

According to organizers of the event, the act was selected because “it not only demonstrated talent in the performing arts, but also conveyed the performer’s strength and resilience in facing life’s challenges.”

Local mental-health violence event on MAY 16

In addition, the two youth will also perform in front of family and professionals on May 16 at the Father Ryan Arts Center (FRAC) in McKees Rocks when the System of Care Initiative communities recognize National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day with a day focusing on how violence affects children’s mental health.

In support of this theme, a panel of mental health and violence prevention professionals will participate in a forum discussion with the older teens and parents in attendance. The younger children – between 3 years old and 13 years old – will participate in a variety of creative classes, from dance instruction to working with paper mache. The event at the FRAC will begin at 11:00 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m.

BUST IT on the bridge

Many of the System of Care Initiative families will also attend the Pittsburgh Pirates game that evening, but not before helping to combat mental health stigma at the pre-game disabilities awareness fair. As part of a national campaign called BUST IT! – “it” being the stigma surrounding mental health – staff and families will converge on the Roberto Clemente Bridge and simultaneously “bust” balloons that are imprinted with derogatory mental health related phrases.

Post NOW Campaign

From January through May 2009, DHS assisted the NCMHAD national Post Now Campaign by distributing via email a new poster each month addressing the important issue of how violence affects children’s mental health. OCR also created a Children’s Mental Health Twitter page to help spread the message from the posters in social media circles. For more information about Twitter and other social networking sites, please see last month’s e-vice article on the DHS NEWS web page, www.county.allegheny.pa.us/dhs/newsletter.aspx 

For more information about the System of Care Initiative, visit the DHS web site at www.county.allegheny.pa.us/dhs/soci.aspx 


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