This Story is For You

Children's Books for Mental Health

Before we begin, breathe in deeply.  And breathe out, slow down and enjoy this story.  Because it’s for you.

And so begins a beautiful children’s story by Ewain Black, author and owner of the Deep Breath Publications series.  The books are aimed at 2 – 7-year-olds and are also aimed at helping worries, loneliness, isolation.  A beautiful sentiment and purpose in a world where even our younger children seem to have a weight on their far too little shoulders.  

Ewain is a Westender, having lived in Woodlands for the past 8 years.  For the past decade he worked for charities supporting homelessness and its associated isolation and mental health issues.  Now Ewain works with adults that have survived Adverse Childhood Events (ACES), which as adults they are still trying to heal from. Ewain says,

“I started writing initially as a way to switch my brain off from this work and I just wanted to write nice stories really. I’m not sure work could fully escape me though and I think my stories just naturally started to take on this emotional element. I thought it would be nice to write something that might be soothing or reassuring to a child but also to the person that has to read a book over and over again to them.”

Soothing Words

Ewain writes short messages at the beginning of his books and dedications at the end.  ‘These are really for whoever might be reading it. It’s a nice thought that something I have written would help a parent’.  Many parents who have children experiencing worries, mental health problems, understandably feel anxiety themselves and concerns for their children.  The bedtime story is a perfect time for both child AND parent to breathe out.

If the kindness and compassion shown through Ewain’s books wasn’t enough, there was something else he wanted to achieve with his writing.  In thinking of the support parents often need, he had something else on his mind. 

‘” thought wouldn’t it be good if some of the money (from the books) went towards supporting parents or care givers from an organisation that really know exactly what they need.”  And so began his collaboration with PANDAS UK, a charity supporting those experiencing perinatal depression.  Perinatal depression is a condition that can affect women during pregnancy and for the first year following birth.  Ewain explains.

Children's Books for Mental Health
children’s books to help with mental health
Collaboration with PANDAS UK

“I met with Lauren, who works for PANDAS UK in Glasgow.  She let me know more about peri-natal depression, how common it is and how much shame there still is around it. PANDAS employees all have lived experience of peri-natal depression, have been through it and know what helped.”

PANDAS services include a helpline, text and email service as well as group classes.  The skilled volunteers work with women and of course partners and families affected by perinatal depression.  With support, information and advice, it’s a service that reflects the themes of Ewain’s books: no one should feel isolated or alone.

He says “We support PANDAS by donating 25% of any money made through sales of our books. So far we have donated over £1300 but are hoping for good Christmas sales to be able to donate more to them.  I have the sticker on my books to let people know that money is donated so I hope that I am also raising the profile of the charity.”

Talking Does Help

Ewain is also keen that having the sticker on the front of the books ensured that there is no shame in talking about the condition, that it shouldn’t be hidden and should be discussed openly.

And talking, having people around is what it’s all about, in Ewain’s opinion.  Having worked with so many charities, having worked with so many people feeling isolated and alone, he should know. Through humour in his books, like Catherine the Cactus being stuck in a drain on Great Western Road, themes such as feeling different, feeling low or asking for help can be put out there and create a conversation.

 He says “the thing that I have found to be of most help to people is people. Our relationships are the things that help us get through. You often hear people say: ‘I could never have done it with without that person.’ I hope that my stories reflect that in some way”. 

For more information on this series of children’s books to help with mental health visit – 
Instagram @deepbreathpublications 
Twitter/X @ewaindeepbreath

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