AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) — In an effort to raise awareness of mental health issues, the annual Texas Mental Health Creative Arts Contest has announced that they have opened submissions to the public.

The annual contest is hosted by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, along with help from the Texas System of Care and the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health at the University of Texas at Austin.

From Dec. 1, 2021 to March 15, 2022, participants will be able to submit their creative work in one of three categories — original artwork, writing, or photography — that draws on the contest theme, “Why Does Mental Health Matter to You?”

“When people share their perspectives and experiences through art, it can help them process their emotions and kickstart conversations that inspire connection, provide encouragement, and give hope to others facing similar challenges. Those healthy discussions can be the push someone may need to seek support and really start taking care of their mental health, and that can save lives.”

Dr. Courtney Harvey, associate commissioner of the Texas HHSC Office of Mental Health Coordination

The contest is open to Texans of all ages and will be judged based on four age groups: elementary, middle school, high school and adult. In 2020, there were a total of 687 submissions in the contest.

In terms of requirements for the artwork itself, submissions will be judged on originality, creativity and how well it expresses the contest theme. Each category and age group will have a winner that will receive prizes and even have their work displayed and published on the Texas Mental Health Creative Arts Contest website.

To find out more information about the contest or how to submit your own work, visit gallery.txsystemofcare.org.

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