Break the Cycle of Children's Mental Illnesses

The Tools

Please use the following toolkits – event planning, social media, media, visual, and resources – to choose how you want to get involved in Break the Cycle! Download an overview of the toolkits to develop a start-to-finish plan. For questions, contact

Plan your own event to raise awareness and/or funds for Break the Cycle! Use the provided timeline and example to get started, but be sure to customize your event for your audience!


  • Gather your planning team
  • Choose a date, time, location, and audience
  • Set goals – raising awareness and/or raising funds
    • Decide if you will raise funds via sponsors, by selling tickets, by accepting donations, or through any other method of your choice!
  • Approach AACAP with questions about Break the Cycle
  • Make a budget
  • Determine paperwork to be completed
  • Reserve the location
  • Make an event schedule


  • Contact potential sponsors (optional)
  • Advertise - start early!
    • Social media
    • Flyer
    • Radio, TV, newspapers
    • Contact related organizations
  • Take a lot of pictures during your event to post on social media

Wrap up

  • Submit your total amount raised online at by clicking Make a Donation
  • Send check to:
    • AACAP, Attn: Break the Cycle
      3615 Wisconsin Ave NW
      Washington, DC 20016
  • Send thank you letters to sponsors, donors, etc.

Event Example: Spin Class

AACAP Staff hosted a spin class to kick off Break the Cycle! Here are the steps we took to get participants ready and excited for the initiative:

  • Elected members of our steering committee to lead this project
  • Chose a potential date, time, and local studio
  • Decided to focus on raising awareness and promoting BTC
  • Contacted local cycle studio, Zengo, to determine pricing and possibilities
  • Confirmed date, time, and contract with Zengo
  • Invited AACAP staff and local DC AACAP Members
  • Decorated the studio in a Break the Cycle theme on the day of the event
  • Provided instructor with relevant facts to share throughout the work out
    • Ex. Thank you to our participants for raising awareness and support for children’s mental health!
    • Ex. Children are currently caught in a cycle of limited access to mental health care, delayed treatment, and worsening illnesses – it’s time to break the cycle!
  • Took plenty of pictures and shared on social media with the hashtags #AACAPBTC and #WhyWeRide

Share how and why you got involved in Break the Cycle to inspire your friends and family to get involved as well! Use these tips and samples to post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These ideas will help you get started, but we also encourage you to be creative!

Get involved

  • Follow @AACAP on Twitter
  • Like AACAP on Facebook
  • Say 'you're going' to AACAP's Break the Cycle Facebook event and share the event on your page
  • In any post, we recommend you include:
    • A call to action – ask your network to pledge, spread awareness, ride, plan an event, fundraise, etc.
    • A link to
    • An image – use the images in our Visual Toolkit or relevant personal pictures
    • Break the Cycle hashtag(s) – #AACAPBTC and #WhyWeRide
  • See samples for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Getting the word out about Break the Cycle to your community is key to its success! Use this toolkit to learn how to sell your story and who to sell it to by creating a media list, giving a media pitch, writing a press release, and writing an op-ed!

Create a media list

  • A media list is a list of journalists, reporters, bloggers, or other members of the media; their contact information; and associated outlet
  • Research:
    • Local writers who cover children's mental illnesses and mental health
    • Local writers who cover bike-related stories
    • Others in your area who will be interested in your story, in relation to the topic and planned event
  • To identify these writers, search:
    • Local newspapers (online or print)
    • Local radio stations
    • Local television stations
    • Blogs
    • Social media accounts

Give a media pitch

  • Contact your media list and sell them on your story by answering the following questions:
    • Who? You, with the support of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
    • What? Break the Cycle - a cross country bike ride from Washington state to Washington DC, Summer 2017, led by Andres Martin, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and prominent AACAP member, in an effort to help raise awareness and support for children's mental health
    • When? Your event's date
    • Where? Your event's location
    • Why do YOU ride? Share your personal story

Please use these graphics to promote your event, spread awareness about Break the Cycle, and support the ride on social media. Don't forget to use #AACAPBtC and #WhyWeRide!

AACAP creates resources for families to better understand problems that their children may be facing. Not all children grow from infancy through their adolescent years without experiencing some bumps along the way. While every child is unique and special, sometimes they encounter emotions, feelings, or behaviors that cause problems in their lives and the lives of those around them.

Check out our most visited Facts for Families below and visit our Facts for Families Guide to view all 120.

  1. Video Games and Children: Playing with Violence
  2. Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  3. Teen Suicide
  4. Teen Brain: Behavior, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  5. TV Violence and Children

In addition to our Facts for Families, we’ve created Resource Centers around issues that commonly affect children. AACAP’s Resource Centers empower consumers like yourself through patient and family education. Visit our Resource Centers on the following topics: