Newsroom > DHHS News Release

May 8, 2008

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


“Pony Express” Riders Promote Children’s Mental Health Week

Lincoln – Motorcycle “Pony Express” riders, a statewide candlelight vigil and a presentation of letters collected during the ride from youth, families, professionals, and community members highlighted Children’s Mental Health Week, May 3-9.

The volunteer Pony Express riders started in Alliance at 9:00 a.m. (MST) on Thursday, May 7th and stopped in each Behavioral Health Region. Riders in Alliance traveled to Bridgeport, Scottsbluff, Oshkosh, North Platte, Lexington and Kearney. On May 8th, riders left Kearney and traveled to Grand Island, York, Columbus, Schuyler and Fremont. On Saturday, May 9th, riders will leave Fremont and travel to Wahoo and Lincoln.

“This event raises 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). “We want to work together to reduce the stigma that can be associated with seeking treatment for a mental illness.”

Candlelight vigils signifying the unified voices of all families of children who have struggled with mental health challenges will take place on Friday, May 8th at 8:30 p.m. (CST). Lincoln’s event begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Antelope Park enclosed shelter, 30th & “A” Streets. North Platte’s event begins at 8:00 p.m. at the Eagles Club, 620 N. Chestnut.

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. The easy-to-use Network of Care for Behavioral Health Web site at contains information about services, medications, insurance, pending legislation, advocacy, and the latest research about mental health and substance abuse issues from around the world.

On Saturday, May 9th, a motorcycle parade is planned through Lincoln, starting at 1:30 p.m. at Frontier Harley Davidson, 205 N W 40th Street, and arriving at the State Capitol at 2:00 p.m.

Riders collected letters written by youth, families, professionals and friends of children who have behavioral health challenges at each stop. The letters express thanks for support of children’s mental health and will be delivered to State Senators on the north steps of the State Capitol Building at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 9th.

“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 Saturday, May 9th: Day Three for Pony Express Riders

Fremont, Wahoo, Lincoln

Leave: Fremont Eagles #200 649 North Main Street, 402-721-9946 at 10:00 a.m., head towards Wahoo #2971, 140 West 5th, 402-443-9982.
Blair will join in Fremont, 23 Miles (Estimated time 36 minutes); Travel U S Hwy 77

Arrive: Wahoo #2971 at 10:36 a.m., Fuel and Letter Pickup
Leave: Wahoo #2971 at 11:06 a.m. to go to Frontier Harley Davidson, 205 N W 40th Street, Lincoln Nebraska, 402-466-9100, 45 Miles (Estimated time 60 minutes); Travel U S Hwy 77, 56th Street, Cornhusker Hwy, Sun Valley Boulevard, West O Street

Arrive: Frontier Harley Davidson 12:06 a.m. VISINET will provide a Welcome Event and refreshments.
Staging Time and Area for Parade: Frontier Harley Davidson, 1:30 p.m.
Leave: Frontier Harley Davidson for parade, to arrive at the State Capitol at 2:00 p.m.