Newsroom > DHHS News Release


May 1, 2008


Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287 or


Week-long Activities Promote Children’s Mental Health Week

Lincoln – Motorcycle "Pony Express" riders, a statewide candlelight vigil and a presentation of letters from families to Governor Dave Heineman will highlight Children’s Mental Health Week, May 4-10.

The volunteer Pony Express riders start on May 4 th in Scottsbluff, Alliance and Bridgeport, moving on during the week to Sidney, North Platte, Kearney, Norfolk, Omaha, and ending in Lincoln on May 10. Anyone interested in joining the riders should contact 308-830-0944 or

"These events raise public awareness about the significant number of children and adolescents who have emotional, behavioral and mental health challenges," said Scot Adams, Ph.D., director of the Division of Behavioral Health in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). "My division now has a children’s behavioral health focus in recognition of this area of need."

Adams said that it’s important for families to know that supports and services are available to help them meet their children’s needs and that treatment can give children the opportunity to grow up healthy and maximize their potential.

Express riders will collect letters at each stop written by families, providers and friends of children who have behavioral health challenges. The letters thank Governor Heineman for his support of children’s mental health and will be delivered to him at the north steps of the State Capitol Building at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 10 th.

"It’s important to hear about the experiences of families, youth and children who have and continue to experience mental health challenges," said Candy Kennedy, executive director of the Nebraska Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health.


The schedule for the week includes:

Activity One: Letters and Pony Express Riders, May 4 - 10

May 4: Scottsbluff , Alliance, Bridgeport to Sidney Contact: SPEAKOUT 308-632-2051


Alliance: Riders meet at Eagles Club at 10:30 a.m., depart at 11:00 a.m., traveling on Hwy 2 to Hwy 385 South to Bridgeport.
Scottsbluff: Riders meet at Scottsbluff National Guard Armory, 2810 1 st Avenue Scottsbluff (across from Frank park) at 10:30, depart for Bridgeport at 11:00 am, traveling on Hwy 26 to Hwy 385 to Bridgeport Eagles Club, 1018 South Main Street.
Bridgeport: All riders travel to Sidney Arby’s restaurant, 829 Old Post Road.

May 5 - Day 2: Sidney to North Platte Contact: SPEAKOUT 308-632-2051

4:00 p.m. M.S.T. Leave Sidney’s Arby’s Restaurant, 829 Old Post Road, arrive North Platte 7:30 p.m.C.S.T.

May 6 - Day 3: North Platte to Kearney Contact: SPEAKOUT 308-632-2051

3:00 p.m. C.S.T. Leave North Platte from Harvest Christian Fellowship, 1501 South Dewey, ride to Kearney

May 7 - Day 4: Kearney to Norfolk Contact: Families CARE 1-877-225-0500

4:00 p.m.: Kearney: Celebration/open house, Region 3 Behavioral Health Services Conference Room, 4009 6 thAvenue.
4:30 p.m. Leave Kearney, arrive at Norfolk at 7:30 p.m.

May 8 - Day 5: Norfolk to Omaha Contact: Parent to Parent 1-877-379-9926

Norfolk: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Picnic/Awareness Event at Skyview Lake, main shelter (1900 West Maple Avenue).
  Speakers include Senator Mike Flood and Candy Kennedy, with a meal and entertainment
Omaha: Riders meet at All Saints Episcopal Church, 9302 Blondo Street.

May 9 - Day 6
: Omaha to Lincoln Contact: 1-800-245-6081

Omaha: 9:00 a.m. Riders meet at Midlands Hospital (84 th & HWY 370)
  Route: Midlands Hospital to Boys Town to Uta Halee to Cooper’s Village to Immanuel Hospital to Boys Town Hospital to Miller’s Landing
  3:00 p.m. Riders leave for Lincoln from Miller’s Landing, Abbott Drive So.
Lincoln: 4:00-7:00 p.m.: Welcoming activities at Holmes Lake Park, 70 thand Normal Blvd

May 10 - Day 7: Lincoln Contact: Families Inspiring Families 1-888-441-4369

10:00 a.m. Riders leave Lee’s Restaurant, 1940 West Van Dorn, ride to north steps of the State Capital

Activity Two - May 9 - Candlelight vigils. Lighting at 8:30 p.m. C.S.T. at each location.

The flame will travel with Pony Express riders through the week.

Scottsbluff: 7:00 p.m. M.S.T. National Guard Armory
Alliance: 7:00 p.m. M.S.T. Eagles Club
North Platte 7:30 p.m. Harvest Christian Fellowship Church on 1501 South Dewey
Kearney: 7:30 p.m. Richard Young Hospital
Norfolk: TBA Contact 1-877-379-9926 for more information.
Omaha: 7:00 p.m. Candlelight Vigil at Miller’s Landing
Lincoln: 7:30 p.m. at Holmes Lake Park.

Activity Three – May 10 – Presentation from youth to Governor, State Capitol Building, Lincoln

10:00 a.m. Lincoln: Riders leave Lee’s Restaurant, 1940 West Van Dorn to north steps of State Capital
11:00 a.m. Youth will deliver letters to Governor Heineman, who will sign proclamation

Other planned activities in Lincoln:

12:00 p.m. Cornhusker Hotel (333 S 13 th) Complimentary lunch, speakers, youth panel and entertainment
12-5 p.m. Silent Auction, Food, and Information Booths
12:00 p.m. Welcoming by Candy Kennedy and Stan Bills
12:15 p.m. Scot Adams
12:30 p.m. Entertainment Music provided by Complete Music
1:00–1:30 p.m. Youth Panel
1:30–2:00 p.m. Entertainment Music
2:00–2:30 p.m. Speakers
2:30 –3:00 p.m. Entertainment Music
3:00–3:30 p.m. Youth Panel
3:30–4:30 p.m. Entertainment Music
4:30–5:00 p.m. Silent Auction winners and closing remarks