Children's Hospital Colorado
Pediatric Mental Health Institute
Pediatric Mental Health Institute
  • Additional Information:

    Phone numbers for specific programs: • Eating Disorder Program: 720-777-6452 • Medical Day Treatment Program: 720-777-2900 • Neuropsychiatric Special Care Program: 720-777-3191 • Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy Program: 720-777-4360 • Psychiatric Day Treatment Program & School Refusal Program: 720-777-7794

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The Youth Action Board

The Children’s Hospital Colorado Pediatric Mental Health Institute (PMHI) Youth Action Board (YAB) consists of up to 15 youth from across the Denver metro area who are interested in raising awareness about and de-stigmatizing mental health issues.

The YAB was created as part of an effort to engage the community and stakeholders in improving mental health services. Specifically, the goals of YAB are to:

  1. Advise Children’s Colorado’s PMHI faculty and staff on projects and materials to improve patient care
  2. Raise the awareness of child and adolescent mental health issues in the communities the hospital serves by executing a project each year that will support social change
  3. Develop the leadership and advocacy skills of each youth board member

Since its inception in 2013, the YAB has had 50 total members representing 24 schools, in eight school districts. The group is led by Tony Edelblute, LPC, MT-BC, a music therapist in the hospital’s Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy Program and Heather Kennedy, MPH, a youth leadership expert.

Youth Action Board Projects

The 2017-2018 YAB will work side-by-side with staff from the PMHI to plan and implement a large social action project to serve as a conversation starter about how mental health is a human issue that begins with dialogue, connectedness, authenticity and compassion.

In addition, all YAB members are offered the opportunity to participate in Youth Mental Health First Aid training, in which they learn how to help peers in crisis or who may be experiencing a mental health or addiction challenge.

Call for youth mental health stories  of survival, hope and strength

We are collecting stories and artwork to create a book that can be read by teens and adults alike. We believe that sharing your story, poem or artwork may be a positive and healing experience for yourself and others.

For teens and young adults ages 12-24

Tell us about your experience with a mental health problem, emotional challenge or personal struggle. We are looking for stories or artwork that involve aspects of survival, strength and hope. What obstacles have you faced? What strengths and supports have helped (like treatment, friends or family)? What have you learned from your mental health journey?

Write your story in up to 750 words in such a way that it does not include personal identification such as your name. Entry forms will be separated from the stories for selection purposes. If you choose to submit poetry or other visual art, be sure that it is no more than 3 double-spaced pages, or 3 pages of artwork. All visual art will be considered.

Story submission details

Some stories will be selected for an honorarium of $100.00. Our ratings will be guided by narrative flow, quality of writing, engagement and relevance to the topic. Submissions will be reviewed by teenagers on the Mental Health Youth Action Board. In order to meet our editorial goals, we reserve the right to offer editing suggestions. We will not publish anything without your permission. If you are under 18, and your art, poem or story is selected for publication, your parent/guardian will have to sign a consent form as well. Your entry will be printed under whatever name or pseudonym that you provide. Some honorees may be asked to share their stories in presentations or publications if they are willing to do so.

All submission are due by February 16 at 5 p.m. Include your name, age, pseudonym, phone number, e-mail address and title of artwork. Email submissions to

Download the full details (.pdf)

"I've learned stuff about myself and I know that I'm very creative and that I'm a whole lot stronger than I thought I was. If I need to speak out, then I know how to and I know how to make a difference" 

- Kelsey, YAB member from 2014-2016