Aaylah and Dayton Mott, a young brother and sister duo, are striving to help children who are facing mental and emotional problems as a result of the pandemic.
The pair themselves struggled to cope and experienced mental and emotional difficulties. One day, they decided to create a goal-centered coloring book for themselves.
“It was tough, there were days when we felt drained and bored from being stuck inside the house,” Aaylah, 12, says. “We really missed being able to see some of our friends.”
They reasoned that other children must be going through similar issues. Since the coloring book helped them, they guessed it could also help other kids.
“We wanted to be able to give them something to do while helping them feel better about their day,” says Dayton, 8.
The goal-based coloring book titled, “I AM… I AM,” is aimed at school-aged kids. The 85-page book, which also includes puzzles, mazes and more, sells for $20 on Amazon.
It’s critical that people look after their mental health, Aaylah says. “Life can be stressful and hard sometimes so taking care of our health has helped us be more balanced and feel better.”
Dayton says he hopes their book will inspire other children.
“Creativity is something that we all need, and goal setting is important,” he says. “So we hope the book will inspire everyone to reach their goals and do it in a fun and unique way.”
The siblings offer this advice for kids who are still attempting to deal with the pandemic’s effects on their mental health.
“Take time to enjoy things you like,” Aaylah says. “We went from having a lot of time to do all the things we wanted to getting back to normal and being busy.”
Dayton says he believes that having a bad day sometimes is OK.
“What’s most important is to keep pushing forward,” he says.
The United States continues to face a youth mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic. Between March and October 2020, hospital emergency department volume for mental health visits for kids ages 12 to 17 increased 31% compared to the same period the year before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was a 24% increase for ages 5 to 11 over the same time period.
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