Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week

Youth Poster contest Kicks off the Celebration

Montgomery, Ala. – One out of 5 young people experience mental health problems. Despite that, the stigma associated with mental health often discourages parents from seeking appropriate treatment for their children.

Unaddressed problems can have both short- and long-term impacts, including early withdrawal from school, unemployment and involvement with the criminal justice system. Early education, identification and intervention are critical to alleviating pain and distress and to assuring young people receive the supports and services necessary to leading happy, productive lives.

“Studies show that the earlier you can offer treatment, intervention and education, the better. … With education and awareness, kids know, ‘I’m not the only one. It’s not just me” Caddell said.  “So, it’s important to identify problems early so they have a better long-term prognosis.”

In addition to the celebration of Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week, a poster contest was held. During the first full week of May as part of the nationwide observance of Mental Health Awareness Month, Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week aims to destigmatize and promote acceptance of mental illness and highlight the importance of children’s mental health and of the availability of services and supports for young people.

A teenager at a residential living facility in south Alabama has been named the winner of the annual art contest for children and teens with mental health disorders. “We want those with mental health issues to truly feel accepted in all aspects of their lives,” said Gayla Caddell, senior program manager for Child and Adolescent Mental Illness Treatment Services in the ADMH Office of Child and Family Services. “It’s about accepting them where they are and helping them find their voice and advocate for themselves.”

The contest entries were submitted through community mental health providers around the state, with the winning poster chosen by ADMH Commissioner Kimberly Boswell from more than a dozen entries. The contest was open to artists up to 21 years old.

The winning artist – whose name is subject to confidentiality – will join ADMH staff for a May 9 proclamation signing ceremony at the Alabama Capitol. Printed copies of the winning poster also will be distributed to mental health providers around the state. Other entries in the contest are being spotlighted on ADMH social media accounts.

Behavioral health information, supports and services for children and teenagers are available from the following Alabama organizations and providers, including but not limited to:



For more information on Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week, please contact the Office of Public Information at or 334-242-3417.


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