Foreword by Her Royal Highness Crown Prinsess Mary of Denmark:
"Sometimes we get sick. We can all be physically ill – but, it is also possible to be ill in the mind. And this is what we call mental illnesses.
When you have a mental illness, you are not quite yourself. Mental illness is not easy to understand – it is especially difficult for children when an adult in their life is suffering from one. “Why is my mother crying all the time?” “Why is my dad in bed all day?” Many children even think that it is their fault.
Anxiety and depression are the most well-known mental illnesses. In Denmark as well as in Australia where I was born, these illnesses are widespread. It is estimated that one in five families are affected. This means that every child knows an adult who has a mental illness – either in their own family or in their friends’ families. The best way of supporting these children is by making sure they know something about mental illness.
Wars, catastrophes, and life as a refugee can also harm the human psyche. This type of mental illness is called trauma. Trauma is also very difficult for children to understand.
This book ’talk about it…’ is informative and very helpful. The illustrations and text discuss issues that might seem difficult to share with children. The book is also a tool that makes it easier for us to talk about our thoughts and feelings – and this, is so important for both children and adults."
In every school class, between 2 and 5 children have a mother, father, brother or sister with a psychiatric illness. Schools know about some of these children, but by far the most are overlooked.
What do children know about mental illness?
Unfortunately, the answer is: Very little.
This book provides children with knowledge, understanding for each other, and insight into the fact that it is never the child’s fault if adults become ill. The book is written for small children, older children, and adults, who themselves were once children.
The first part discusses anxiety, depression, stress and trauma.
The second part deals with children who are grappling with mental illness in their family.
The last part provides ideas about how we can talk with every child about difficult things and how people can become well.
Do not put this book up on the bookshelf. Keep it out and accessible, so children can flip through it and read for themselves. You can also read it together, research the topic, and talk about the pictures. Pay attention to what the children are interested in. Stay there. Listen, think out loud, and talk together.