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Kansas City counselors create book to help kids navigate anxiety and depression, build resilience

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During the pandemic, mental health issues have been on the rise for children of all ages.

Three leading pediatric organizations announced in October a national emergency for children's mental health.

The rate at which mental health issues arise in kids and adolescents had already been escalating prior to the pandemic. But now, COVID-19 is taking a substantial toll.

In response to this uptick, two Kansas City-area mental health professionals are working to help families navigate the current crisis they face through a series of books.

"The Invisible Riptide" is the first in a series of books. It was written by Kansas City counselor Carron Montgomery who says the COVID restrictions that were needed for physical safety did not allow children to explore and engage in many of the developmental tasks that their brains need.

"As clinicians, we could see that we were in a mental health crisis, and the pandemic kind of acted as a catalyst accelerating the negative impact of social media," says Montgomery. "And, the most vulnerable ages for that tends to be teens."

Caroline Danda, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist who helps patients in Prairie Village and Leawood. She co-authored the next book in the series, "From Surviving to Vibing", with Montgomery. She says children of all ages are capable of feeling anxiety and depression.

"Kids can sense the anxiety or the emotions of parents and the adults and caretakers around them. And they take their cues, a lot," says Danda. "So, one of the things I often tell parents is: make sure to take care of yourself and check in with your own emotions first before trying to work with your kid and help your child work through those emotions."

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