Books for helping kids and teens
understand mental health

When dealing with issues such as anxiety, depression, or intense emotions, sometimes it can be difficult for a child or teen to make sense of what is happening in their mind and body, especially if they don’t have other experiences for comparison. For kids, reading about these topics can be effective in promoting problem solving, increasing compassion, developing empathy, and enhancing self-awareness. Here are some of our favorite books to help children and teens gain a better understanding of these complex topics. Books like the ones listed below can spark meaningful conversations with your kids and help make talking about mental health easier, more relatable, and a part of daily routine.

Middle School

Middle School & High School

Okay to Say Girl Scout Patch Program

The Okay to Say Girl Scout patch program, designed to help girls gain greater social and emotional confidence, is free to all Girl Scouts in Texas. Through a series of hands-on activities, participants develop their social awareness and interpersonal skills. As they explore the impact that emotions and thoughts have on their behavior and that of others, girls also learn how to be more caring and considerate of fellow Scouts, family and friends.

This unique program was created with the support of child and adolescent behavioral health professionals through a partnership between Okay to Say, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, and Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.



Create a Mental Health Safety Plan

According to the Child Mind Institute 2016 Children’s Mental Health Report, mental health disorders are the most common health issues faced by our nation’s school-aged children. A mental health safety plan can help families formulate coping strategies for situations that cause children and teens increased stress and anxiety, as well as identify potential red flags that signal a need to seek professional help. Complete this worksheet as a family to gather important information and plan ahead to prioritize your child’s mental health.


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Helping Kids Cope

Looking for resources while parenting during COVID-19? You’re not alone. See our parent and caregiver resource guide to help maintain you and your family’s mental health.


Get The Facts

Prevention and early intervention are essential to children’s mental health!

Every child deserves to grow up healthy and strong, emotionally as well as physically. Yet, the facts are:

50% of all mental illnesses begin by age 14.

1 in 5 children (age 0-11) experience a mental disorder in a given year.

10% of children experience some impairment in daily functioning at home, in school, or in the community due to mental health problems.

It’s also true that most mental illnesses are treatable, and early detection and treatment offers the greatest opportunity for hope and recovery allowing children to grow to be productive, emotionally healthy adults.

Each year, over 550,000 Texas children and adolescents experience severe mental health needs. Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and its partners are working to change that through policy and system reforms to improve access to mental health services in our communities and schools.

For the latest information on this work, please click the “Learn More” button below.


These resources are for general information purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a mental health professional. It is not intended to provide mental health advice about any specific condition, or treatment for any specific condition and you should not disregard mental health advice or delay seeking treatment based on your use of this worksheet. MMHPI does not promote, recommend, or endorse any particular service, test, procedure, product or course of treatment and you are strongly encouraged to call or see a mental health professional with any related questions.