EL PASO, Texas — Something as simple as picking up a pencil and coloring for a few minutes can make a big difference.
That’s the message from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which offers a new way to help kids open up about their mental health.
Local affiliate, NAMI El Paso, distributed the “Meet Little Monster” coloring book to Borderland schools just in time for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.
The book is meant to be a fun tool for children to explore different feelings with the goal of getting them to open up to a parent or teacher.
“We know the pandemic has had such a huge impact on our mental health collectively, but right now we’re seeing a huge impact among our young people,” said NAMI El Paso executive director Isidro Torres. “We (place) a lot of emphasis on our young people, helping them, helping their parents or families understand mental health, so they can figure it out, get the help they need, and hopefully as soon as we head out of this pandemic, we can get them to a better place.”
Torres went on to say that schools have asked for their help to deal with some of the mental health impacts caused by the pandemic. This comes just months after the US Surgeon General issued an advisory on mental health, calling it a youth mental health crisis.
“The sooner (children) are able to express their symptoms, the sooner they will get help and the better the uptake will be,” Torres said. “Right now the average time between having symptoms and someone getting help is eight to 10 years and so much can happen between that time.”
The books will be distributed to the children on Friday. If you are an educator, you can always request copies through NAMI El Paso.
The book is also available for download in English and Spanish.
To learn more about NAMI El Paso, click here. For a full list of events happening across the county during Mental Health Awareness Month, click here.