What are the Books About?

Zoey has worry thoughts. She worries about doing well at school. She worries about her family. She worries about every day life. But sometimes, worry gets in her way. After talking to her mom about her worries, Zoey goes to see the doctor and a counsellor. With their help, Zoey learns how to manage her worry thoughts and feelings.

 

This book is intended to:

  • Describe the symptoms of anxiety

  • Normalize anxiety by comparing it to a physical injury such as: a broken leg

  • Stress the importance of counselling

  • Suggest ways of explaining anxiety to family members and friends

  • Suggest ways family members and friends can help

  • Suggest various kid-friendly coping strategies and self-care activities

Zoey Has Worry Thoughts

Zack's Moods Are Like a Rollercoaster

Zack’s moods are like a rollercoaster. When Zack is on the down-swing, he feels extremely glum. When Zack is on the up-swing, he is extremely happy, giddily, and fun to be around. Zack’s parents notice that Zack’s moods are like a rollercoaster for no reason, so they take Zack to see the doctor. With the help of Zack’s doctor and counsellor, Zack and his family learn new ways to manage the rollercoaster, and the rollercoaster eventually flattens out.

This book is intended to:

  • Describe the symptoms of bipolar disorder
  • Stress the importance of medication and counselling
  • Suggest various kid-friendly coping strategies and self-care activities

Zoey has very glum days. She doesn’t want to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, even when it is her favourite meal: grilled cheese. She doesn’t sleep well. She doesn’t even want to play with her friends. After talking to her mom about how she is feeling, Zoey goes to see the doctor and a counsellor. With their help, Zoey learns how to manage her sadness and turn her frown upside down.

 

This book is intended to:

  • Describe the symptoms of depression
  • Normalize depression by comparing it to a physical illness (like diabetes)
  • Stress the importance of medication and counselling
  • Suggest ways of explaining depression to family members and friends
  • Suggest ways family members and friends can help
  • Suggest various kid-friendly coping strategies and self-care activities

Zoey Has Very Glum Days

Why I Wrote the Children's Mental Health Series

I have two passions:

1) Writing

 2) Everything mental health related

Zack is a very active kid, always on the go. But because of A.D.H.D., his excitement and his energy sometimes gets in his way. And when it does, Zack’s room is a pig-sty. Zack struggles with understanding and remembering instructions. Zack forgets to take things home from school. But most of all, Zack can’t sit still, no matter how much he tries. Zack cannot concentrate, especially at school. With the help of Zack’s doctor and counsellor, Zack learns how to control his impulses and emotions so that he can be the good kid he knows he is inside.

 

This book is intended to:

  • Describe the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (A.D.H.D.)
  • Stress the importance of counselling and accommodations
  • Suggest various kid-friendly coping strategies and self-care activities

Zack, The Very Busy Kid

For years, I have personally struggled with severe, debilitating mental illness, and have seen family members struggle with it to varying degrees, as well. Throughout my struggles, myself and my caregivers/loved ones have experienced a great deal of stigma, ignorance, and isolation from others (i.e. friends, peers, family members, professionals) because others did not understand. They were not educated.​

While education about mental illness does not necessarily mean a complete understanding of what those with mental illness and their loved ones experience, it is the first step towards a society that includes, accommodates and supports those who experience mental health challenges and/or mental illness and their loved ones.

A big part of my recent mental health advocacy work is my books.

 

In December 2015, I decided to combine my passions for mental health and writing, by using my personal experiences with mental illness as inspiration to write and publish a series of educational children’s books on various mental health topics including: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and ADHD. My hopes with my books was to make information related to a variety of mental health problems, coping strategies, treatment and accommodation strategies easily understandable and accessible to children, parents and educators, alike, so that children, peers, parents and educators could be educated to recognize the warning signs for possible mental health problems, how to cope, as well as how to support others.​

For about a year, I collaborated with a number of professionals in different fields, from those in the mental health and education fields to those in the illustrating and editing fields to publish and make the Children’s Mental Health Series and free educational package an accessible and finished product.

Each book in the series has been vetted by a number of mental health care professionals, and has been endorsed by a registered social worker and by two Canadian psychiatrists, who are practicing in the field.

“Stories help to humanize mental illness. Reading about Zoey and Zack, children with anxiety and mood concerns are given a narrative that they can relate to. In particular, the books by Ms. Legault-Donkers emphasize that no child should be defined by their illness and that they are always going to be ‘bigger and stronger’ than the problems they face.” 

​– Dr. Javeed Sukhera, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Senior Designate Physician Lead, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, London Health Sciences Centre

Since the release of my books, I have received a great deal of positive feedback from readers, including parents, educators and professionals that utilize my books in their practices.

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© 2020 Children's Mental Health Series