Families and Youth Celebrate Awareness Day

Over a hundred and fifty children—including a 19-day-old baby-and their caregivers celebrated NH Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday, May 7.

Families from near and far enjoyed the music and dancing, face painting, and crafts. Community providers hosted tables with information about wellness and mental health and activities for youth, such as blowing bubbles, stringing beads, and coloring.

“It was really great to see young people dancing. One family had arrived just two days ago from Africa, and they are part of a community celebration here,” said Amadou Hamady, Director, NH Office of International Institute of New England and member of the Collaborative steering committee.

Tables with information and activities were hosted by the Collaborative, NAMI NH, Project LAUNCH, Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, Southern New Hampshire Services Early Head Start, YWCA, Youth MOVE, Granite State Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, CLM, and The Upper Room. Thanks to all the volunteers who made the day fun and full of learning for families.

The formal program was brief. Mayor Gatsas delivered a resolution, and Kathleen Abate, Granite State Federation and member of the Collaborative steering committee, read a proclamation from Governor Hassan. Fritz Manson, Youth MOVE, directed people to enjoy the many activities.

Although it was drizzling at times, people streamed to the photo booth and lined up for Italian ices, and took breaks to string beads and make masks. The soccer shootout was busy as well.

The Collaborative provided financial support for the event as did our partners Project LAUNCH, the Department of Education Office of Student Wellness, NAMI NH, and Granite State Federation. Other sponsors included the Institute on Disability at UNH, and the NH Community Behavioral Health Association, the International Institute of New England, and the Manchester Community Health Center. The Collaborative is grateful for the support of this annual event.

Families having fun together, learning about community supports, and spending time with others all help strengthen children, youth, and their families, an objective of the Collaborative.