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Nonprofit Offers Free-To-Download Activity Book To Help Kids And Adults Talk About Mental Health

Mental Health Association Oklahoma is offering a free-to-download mental health coloring book for kids.

The coloring and educational activity book offers an opportunity for kids and trusted adults to talk about what it means to have a healthy brain. MHAOK Graphic Design Coordinator Matt Dean said he created the book because the organization reaches a lot of older youths through homelessness outreach and other work, but young kids’ mental health needs attention, too.

"It’s very important to have — to start out talking about these mental health themes at an early age so they’re more socially conscientious about mental health and making it less stigmatized and easier to talk about," Dean said.

On one page, the book asks kids to write down things that make them happy. Another page says everyone has rainy days and is sad sometimes and encourages kids to tell a grown-up how they’re feeling. 

The coloring and activity book provides what Youth Mental Health Program Coordinator Cheryl Delk called a "soft opening" to talk about processing thoughts and emotions, and parents just need to be able to listen.

"I just want parents to know it’s OK to be confused and lost. This isn’t something that should just be second nature that you feel like you have to do on your own. The second nature should be, 'Oh, my gosh. I’m going to reach out,' because that’s a sign of strength, and we want the kiddos to feel like they can reach out as well," Delk said.

The book is available at mhaok.org, along with mental health resources. Help for people struggling with their mental health is also available by calling 211.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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