The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that 1 in 5 children will contend with a treatable mental health condition by the time they are thirteen years old.

Mental health is common, treatable, and nothing to be ashamed of.

According to the CDC, ADHD, anxiety, and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children.

In children between the ages of 3-17 approximately 6 million youth live with ADHD, 5.8 million contend with anxiety and nearly 3 million struggle with depression.

Brian Wray, former Disney writer, and award-winning children’s book author joins Gayle Guyardo the host of the nationally syndicated health and wellness show Bloom with how he uses picture books to tackle the topics of mental health concerns in youth.

Way told Guyardo, his recent book, Fen’s Drop of Gray, “is dedicated to helping children through difficult times of grief and sadness by helping them process tough emotions.”

Here are some suggestion Wray shared to help parents open up communication lines with their children.

•        Conduct daily check-ins. Whether at the dinner table, in the car ride to sports practice, or as you are getting them ready for bed, ask children what was something that made you smile today? Was there anything that upset you? Who did you talk to/play with/eat lunch with today? While these seem like simple questions, these open-ended questions offer a window into the daily experiences of your child and can help identify any alarming trends or changes in behaviors or experiences.
•        Listening to children with empathy. Children do not always need you to fix their problems, and sometimes you can’t fix their problems! What they do need is to know that you are there to listen without judgment. This is especially important in letting your children that they can come to you with concerns or when they have made a mistake or error and that you will listen calmly, kindly, and with judgment-free compassion.
•        Creating positive moments with children. Children need bonding experiences. They need to make memories with those they love to help them feel grounded, secure, loved, and cared for. This can be any range of things from cooking dinner together, and walks in the park, to family movie nights, or creating art projects together.