My Feelings are a Work of Art

Clermont FAST TRAC has begun planning for the National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day initiative, My Feelings Are a Work of Art, throughout the month of May 2014.  The initiative raises awareness of children’s mental health needs; demonstrates how children’s mental health initiatives promote positive youth development, recovery, and resilience; and shows how children with mental health needs thrive in the community.

For the last four years, FAST TRAC has provided art supplies and support to youth in community programs and schools to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to nurture the social and emotional well-being of children through art.  The My Feelings Are a Work of Art activities use art to help youth express their feelings.  Some activities last year included making and painting face masks and Child Focus Wasserman Youth & Adolescent Center’s “The Tree of Progress” where students talked about where they started and how far they have come with their mental health and a full size monster from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are from Milford’s Siepelt Elementary.  Clermont FAST TRAC had 1,200 children and youth across Clermont County participating in “My Feelings are a Work of Art” activities in May.  Partner sites included:  FAST TRAC Youth Advisory Group, Juvenile Court, Clermont Board of Developmental Disabilities, Genesis School, Boys and Girls Clubs, Child Focus Wasserman Youth and Adolescent Center, Foster Care, Head Start and Bilingual Preschools and various school partners, including Holly Hill, Williamsburg, Amelia and Siepelt Elementary, New Richmond Middle and Live Oaks Vocational School.

“National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and Mental Health Month is really all about raising awareness that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth,” said Gretchen Behimer, Clermont FAST TRAC Project Director. FAST TRAC is a System of Care initiative of the Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board, with the mission to provide a collaborative, sustainable system of care that is family-driven and youth-guided, providing community-based and individualized supports and services that are responsive to the cultural characteristics of Clermont County’s multi-need children, youth and their families, strengthening them with hope and supporting them to lead successful lives.

If your community agency or school is interested in participating in next year’s My Feelings Are a Work of Art activities, which will occur in May 2014, please contact Tara Keith, FAST TRAC Social Marketing Coordinator at 752-1555.