Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day 2012

On May 9th The Virginia Art Therapy Association hosted an event in Richmond in recognition of Children’s Mental Health Awareness day. The Children’s Museum of Richmond co-hosted the event and provided a wonderful space to exchange knowledge , foster awareness, make art , and have fun. If you were outside in Richmond on May 9th,  it was a chilly and stormy day, however, inside the walls of the Children’s Museum of Richmond it was warm and buzzing with families learning and making memories.  The theme this year was “Heroes of Hope” , which honored children who experienced or were experiencing  trauma and how the people who rallied around them became heroes.

The day opened with a panel of professionals who are directly involved with children and adolescents coping with trauma. The panelists: Bekah Miller, Art Studio Associate, Children’s Museum of Richmond; Dudley Olsson, MHP, Program Coordinator, Children’s Mental Health Resource Center; Stephanie Schuchert/LCSW, CSOTP, Associate Director, United Methodist Family Services;  Gretchen Graves, MS, ATR, CDAT and Dr. Matt Bitsko/Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Children’s Hospital of Richmond MCV were all present to answer questions from a group of parents and other professionals regarding trauma in children. Questions were raised regarding how trauma presented itself in children, what to do if it does, various resources in the communities and  the various facilities that the panelists worked in.

After a delicious lunch provided by The Children’s Museum of Richmond, parents and their children could enjoy different art making processes, such as; hat making using paper bags, collage making, some electronic art, and the all time favorite was  hand molds using Plaster of Paris. Parents and children alike relaxed and created. Several mother’s “Ooed” and “AHHed” with their children’s small hands casts set inside their own.

All day on May 9th, the Children’s Museum was host to the  “Heroes of Hope” art exhibit. The collection of artworks were created by children, youth and their caregivers in honor of their  “Heroes of Hope”. Each piece of art displayed was accompanied by a brief statement sharing about the “Hero” depicted. 

Parents, caregivers, and museum patrons visiting the exhibit were provided with information on how to respond to children’s artwork. For a copy of this resource please click here How_To_Respond_To_Art[1]

The Virginia Art Therapy Association was proud to organize the event and grateful for the support and participation of the Children’s Museum of Richmond. We look forward to hosting an event again next year!

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