Art meets awareness

A spied this child-friendly quilt featuring animals and flowers during a recent visit to the United Nations Visitors Centre in New York City

The U.N.’s World Health Organization notes that mental disorders are responsible for 13% of the global disease burden — and urges all countries to allocate more resources to mental health care. Here in the Valley, several organizations are holding events with an art twist in recognition of May as National Mental Health Month (Kids are the focus on May 9).

Detail of quilt at the U.N. Visitors Centre in NYC

The People of Color Network in Phoenix invites Valley families to join their “2nd Annual National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day” celebration from 10am to 8pm on Wed, May 9 at 4520 N. Central Ave. They’re joining several community partners for the event designed to “raise awareness about the importance of mental health in a child’s life.”

Event organizers note that “mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth,” adding that their priority is “building resilience in children and youth dealing with trauma so they can reach their fullest potential.” Wednesday’s event includes an art contest and exhibits, children’s activities, and workshops for kids and parents.

Detail of quilt at the U.N. Visitors Centre in NYC

The People of Color Network provides behavioral health care services to children and adults in Maricopa County, and seeks to raise awareness throughout the state of the importance of good mental health. They’ll have information about childhood mental health at the event.

Their partners include Chicano Por La Causa, Native American Connections, Empact, Ebony House and Centro de Amistad. All work to foster best practices delivered with respect for cultural heritage.

Folks who ride the bus or light rail to the event can present their ticket at the information booth when they arrive, and they’ll be entered into a free raffle. Learn more at www.pocn.com.

— Lynn

Note: You can find “People Colors” arts and craft supplies at Lakeshore Learning Materials in Phoenix and Paradise Valley — or online.

Coming up: Disco meets “Dark Shadows,” Developing new plays for young audiences

Update: I’ll be blogging about art and mental health all month. If your Arizona organization offers art-related programs by and/or for people living with mental illness, I’d love to hear from you at rakstagemom@gmail.com. 5/8/12

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