May is mental health acceptance month. Awareness is simply not enough.

Valerie Compagna is the Communications Director for Maine Behavioral Healthcare and is passionate about improving our mental health. She said,

I just can’t stress enough how critical it is for people to build connections for their overall well-being. As a world society, we’ve been through a terrible trauma that has impacted everyone. The frightening stats around increased suicide in youth, self-harm, anxiety, and depression has been a wake-up call for people to take these issues seriously.

She's right. But talking about mental health can sometimes be difficult, that's why Jammin' for Mental Health Through the Arts is a fantastic event open to all.


What is going to take place on May 3?

Jammin’ for Mental Health Through the Arts will take place May 3 from 3 – 7 p.m. at Windham High School. It was organized by Be The Influence with community partners Maine Behavioral Healthcare and RSU14 and is open to the public. Their goal is to bring the community together to focus on improving our mental health through art, music, and sharing a variety of resources that can help people.

  • Youth and family art project displays
  • Hands-on art projects
  • Hip Hop performance by Unique Unknown
  • Door prizes
  • Refreshments
  • Screening of the documentary Angst followed by a panel discussion on overcoming anxiety and depression.

Vendors are welcome at no cost. Contact Laurie Cavanaugh at

Why are they doing this?

Maine Behavioral Healthcare YouTube
Maine Behavioral Healthcare YouTube

There is a huge community need to educate kids and families about ways to improve their emotional health. Due to the pandemic, social media, and other factors, we are essentially in crisis. This event is critical to share information, and resources and encourage participation in the arts to combat this hectic and stressful world we live in. Building resilience and connection in more constructive ways is key.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:

  • 1 in 5 adults experiences mental illness each year
  • 1 in 6 youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
  • 14,000 Maine youth aged 12-17 have depression
  • High school students with depression are more than 2x more likely to drop out than their peers
  • 7 in 10 youth in the juvenile justice system have a mental health condition

This event is designed to build connections among those in our community and help reduce the stigma of mental illness. Doing it through the arts is a way to improve overall well-being. Especially for our kids.

How can people get involved?

Come and join everyone! Or be a vendor. Accept. Advocate. Act. Because Awareness isn’t Enough. It’s okay not to be okay.

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