My inspiration for The Little Blue Elephant came from my own personal experiences in dealing with mental illness and watching close family members deal with it as well.
In our education system, there is a lack of support for children’s mental health awareness. I remember growing up, I had trouble coming out to talk about my anxiety and depression in school. Growing up desi, we never spoke about mental health at home. My grandma showed signs of dementia but nobody ever took it seriously. I’ve seen close family members deal with alcoholism and nobody took that seriously either. It wasn’t until I developed PTSD and Anxiety in University and my grandma’s dementia worsening that my family begun to recognize what mental illnesses were.
I always felt if I talked about it I would be isolated or looked at differently. 1 in every 5 children has a mental or behavioural disorder in Ontario and all before the age of 6.
It is important for educators, parents and children to have these conversations and learning experiences early on to help these individuals better understand mental health and it’s significance.
It is my goal to help children, parents and educators look at The Little Blue Elephant as a resource to have conversations about "feeling blue" and depression. Emotional and mental health is just as important as physical health and teaching children about it will not only reduce stigma, but it will also help build a strong and supportive community.