Community Members Gather at State Capitol to Celebrate Children’s Mental Health and Advocate for Integrated Health Care  

On May 7th, 2015, Youth M.O.V.E Oregon was joined by 250 Oregon youth, young adults, families, and advocates at the Oregon State Capitol to celebrate the 10th annual National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (NCMHAD). 

NCMHAD was created to shed a light on the mental health related challenges facing children and their families. Now ten years later, National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day continues to serve as an opportunity for the advocacy community to come together, celebrate, raise awareness, and advocate for system change. 

This year our focus was on transitioning to a one-system approach for Oregon health care; an approach that would integrate mental and behavioral health with primary health care, child welfare, education, and other systems of care. 

“Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is a special opportunity. It’s the one time of year that we can come together as a state and take a stand against stigma, advocate for system change, and support our fellow citizens. Across the country, youth, young adults, and their families are facing a fractured and imperfect healthcare system but now, in Oregon we are seizing the opportunity to move towards an integrated system that delivers unified, effective, and efficient care to all.” said Martin Rafferty, Founder and Executive Director of Youth M.O.V.E. Oregon.

We want to thank our event cosponsors, Oregon Family Support Network and Oregon Health Authority for all their hard work, dedication, and ongoing support. We’d also like to thank our many powerful and inspiring speakers:

Amy Baker, Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services Manager, Oregon Addictions and Mental Health 
Brandy McGloughlin, Parent, OFSN Lane County
Cody Dolf, Young Adult, Young People Connect
Ermila Rodriguez, Family Member, OFSN

Haylie Boehringer, Peer Support Specialist, Kairos 
Johnny, Young Adult, Kairos
Julie Magers, Parent & Child and Family Program Director, NAMI Oregon
Koty Davis, Young Adult, YMO
Madeline Olson
Pam Martin, Director, Oregon Addictions and Mental Health
Representative Andy Olson
Representative Lew Frederick
Senator Sara Gelser
Zar Oelke, Peer Support Specialist, YMO

Most importantly, we'd like to extend our most sincere thanks to the hundreds of advocates who joined us in celebrating mental health and the betterment of Oregon healthcare.