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Developing Health Literacy for Kids With Mental Health Concerns | The image shoes a lot of hands holding up books

Developing Health Literacy for Kids With Mental Health Concerns

kids/parenting Oct 09, 2019
Timothy Culbert, MD, IFMCP


Information is Empowering: Why Health Literacy Matters

Just like adults, children and teenagers benefit from being informed and empowered so that they can participate in important decisions regarding their health and wellness. The team here at Natural Mental Health is dedicated to enhancing “health literacy” for our readers, by providing up-to-date information that supports the development of self-care and self-regulation skills for all ages. 

Defining Health Literacy

Health literacy is set of skills people use to realize their potential in health situations. They apply these skills either to make sense of health information and services or provide health information and services to others. Anyone who needs health information and services also needs health literacy skills.

Developing Health Literacy in Teens and Kids

One way in which children and teenagers can enrich their health literacy is to read age-appropriate books that are both educational and entertaining about a particular symptom they may be experiencing such as anxiety, depression, or inattention.

Where Do You Find Age-Appropriate Mental Health Literature?

Recently, the staff at the Child Mind Institute published a wonderful article reviewing their favorite books for children of all ages on topics related to mental health. Relevant to this discussion on fostering health literacy amongst children of all ages, these books help kids name and understand feelings and experiences they may be struggling with.

This review includes books for kids up to age 12 ranging from picture books for preschoolers to chapter books for independent readers and older children. As we approach the holidays this fall and winter season, these might be books that would make good gifts for someone you care about.

Find the Child Mind Institute's booklist here:
44 Children's Books About Mental Health.

Book topics include abuse, ADHD, anxiety, autism, bullying, depression, dyslexia, feelings, grief and loss, identity, neglect, OCD, self-esteem, selective mutism, sensory processing disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and trauma. 

I have long been a fan of the Child Mind Institute which provides a variety of online resources related to supporting mental health for children of all ages. Our team at Natural Mental Health hopes you will find this booklist helpful.



Mental Health Books for Kids 


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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice and is not a replacement for advice and treatment from a medical professional. Consult your doctor or other qualified health professional before beginning any diet change, supplement, or lifestyle program. See our terms for more information.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call the NAMI HelpLine: 1-800-950-6264 available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., ET. OR text "HelpLine" to 62640 or email NAMI at [email protected]. Visit NAMI for more. You can also call or text SAMHSA at 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.