Have you ever had reason to talk to your kids about mental health? Theirs, yours or others'? My Mr 7 is a devoted Sydney Swans supporter and when Swans star Lance (Buddy) Franklin missed the 2015 AFL finals season citing mental ill health I suddenly found myself trying to find the words to explain exactly what this meant to one of his biggest fans.
Not long after, this book - My Mum Has Depression - crossed my desk. The author, Nina Mitchell, is primary school teacher, mother of three and someone who has experienced depression for several years. She says that while being treated for depression she has found it challenging to explain to her sons the highs and lows of the illness and what it means to them. Nina says, 'My association with fellow sufferers has led me to the conclusion that like me, most adults have difficulty explaining what depression is to their children.'
Nina's answer was to write and self-publish her first picture book, My Mum Has Depression. It explains depression is simple words and pictures suitable for children of all ages. Nina says, 'The purpose of my book is to provide a tool to adults so they can start the conversation with children.'
My Mum Has Depression is available for purchase through Nina's web site www.nutsaboutnina.com.au
TEENS AND SELF ESTEEM
Another recent conversation with a mum about the challenges of teens and self esteem led me to this book, Think Confident Be Confident: For Teens by Marci G. Fox & Leslie Sokol. Unlike many books about mental health written for teens this one is less focused on specific illnesses or issues such as self harm, and more focused on improving the general psychological health and well being of teenagers.
One sentence in the introduction describes it perfectly: "This book will teach you how to conquer confidence's greatest opponent: doubt"
The authors describe how cognitive therapy works and gives us an understanding of how the way we think can have a big impact on our confidence and self-esteem. It's a practical workbook full of exercises and it gets a great rap from teens on both Goodreads and Amazon.
Do you have any book recommendations for talking to kids about mental health? I'd love to hear about them as I'm always keen to fill my kitbag with useful tools and resources. Drop me a note in the comments.