Thursday, May 4, 2017
Charles Smith, Executive Commissioner
Kelli Weldon, 512-424-6951

An event at the Capitol on May 6 will recognize Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week with music, a rally and speakers highlighting this year’s theme of flight to freedom from stigma associated with children’s mental health challenges.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas System of Care will co-host the event and rally sponsored by Sen. Jane Nelson, on the south steps of the Texas Capitol. The rally will feature keynote speaker Anne Grady, a mental health awareness advocate with personal ties to children’s mental health, as well as remarks by Rep. Garnet Coleman. There will also be live music, a performance by the Austin Children's Choir, an award presentation and a pep rally.

Attendees will then participate in a half-mile walk through downtown Austin to Wooldridge Square Park for a celebration with children’s activities and a mental health resource fair.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Postpartum Depression Awareness Month. Like chronic diseases, mental health requires ongoing treatment with medications and therapy, which can help people improve and recover. Local efforts aim to reduce the impact of mental illness on Texas communities by raising awareness about the importance of children’s mental health so that children receive help for mental health disorders with the same urgency as other health conditions.

Fast Facts

  • 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives.
  • 1 in 20 people will develop a serious mental illness.
  • Half of all cases of mental illness start by age 14, and three-quarters by age 24.
  • Only 44 percent of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20 percent of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. (
  • Stigma presents a major barrier to treatment.

Earlier this spring, children from around the state entered in the annual Children’s Mental Health Awareness Creativity Contest and submitted artwork representing why mental health is important to them. Winning entries are posted on the HHSC's Office of Mental Health Coordination website.

WHAT: Children’s Mental Health Awareness rally, walk and children’s activities

WHEN: May 6, 2017
9 a.m. Rally at the Capitol
9:45 a.m. Walk to Wooldridge Square Park
10 - 11:30 a.m. Activities at the park

WHERE: South Steps of the Texas Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave., Austin (Rally)
Wooldridge Square Park, 900 Guadalupe St., Austin (Celebration)

VISUALS: Speakers, children’s activities, a fire truck from the Austin Fire Department, a therapy horse, and the release by attendees of wind-up paper butterflies, which represent transformation and the flight to freedom from stigma associated with children’s mental health challenges.

More information is located at: and