CHI Health rolls out new book for kids to help deal with mental strain during pandemic

3,000 books have been sent out to area schools
Posted at 7:22 PM, Sep 16, 2020

BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in different ways. Mentally, it has been a straining time for adults and kids. CHI Health is hoping to have a direct impact on the mental well-being of children with a new book.

The book, titled "A New Norm," is aimed at elementary school students and tells a story about a boy who just didn't know how to deal with his feelings.

“It really is meant to help teachers and kids and parents open up a conversation about depression and mental health issues that kids struggle with," CHI Health VP of marketing and communications Tina Ames said.

The book's purpose is to be used as a teaching lesson so kids can understand their emotions and how to deal with them. It's something that CHI Health child psychiatrist Dr. Monica Arora says she doesn't see enough of.

“I really believe that even before the pandemic came into light we had underrepresented our children who were struggling with mental health issues. I think they were under identified and I really think the pandemic is just a catalyst for us to recognize all the mental health issues," Dr. Arora said.

CHI Health has already sent out 3,000 books to area schools in Nebraska and southwest Iowa, including St. Mary's Elementary School in Bellevue. Fourth grade teacher Mary Jankovich says it's hard seeing her students struggle with the mental difficulties of the pandemic.

“I had a parent talking about their child just breaking down. It makes me emotional because he just didn’t know what to do with all these feelings," she said.

The book also includes lesson plans for teachers to help facilitate healthy conversations on mental health.

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