PITTSBURGH — Mental health has been a big topic of discussion during the pandemic, mainly focusing on how adults are coping with uncertainty and anxiety.
“Conversation is so important, not only always, but especially right now,” Jordan Corcoran said.
Corcoran is no stranger to the subject of mental health.
For years now, her organization, called Listen, Lucy, has been helping people cope with their anxieties.
Corcoran herself suffered from anxiety and panic disorder, conditions that are often hard to talk about and often have a stigma attached to them.
But through her website, workshops, speaking engagements and forums, she’s made it more comfortable for people suffering from mental illness to open up. After becoming a mother in 2019, Corcoran decided to expand her focus and write a children’s book.
“From the very beginning we talk to our kids about physical health, about eating healthy, about exercising playing sports gym class health class and mental health should be right in there but it sounds like a really intimidating topic,” Corcoran said.
So, to introduce the topic to parents, Corcoran wrote “Little Lucy.” It highlights a girl named Lucy who’s struggling with going to school, but thanks to her mom’s encouragement is able to talk about her feelings and learn how to deal with anxieties about school.
“The goal of Little Lucy is to help parents kind of navigate that conversation in an informal way you don’t have to use words like mental illness or diagnosis or coping techniques,” Corcoran said.
The book focuses on helping children up to 8 years old cope with their anxieties by teaching them different techniques to manage how they feel. And in this current climate, Corcoran said, it’s especially necessary for children to know they aren’t the only ones who may be feeling anxious about things.
“Not only do you support them and create some options for them on how to deal with those feelings, but to let them know that it’s ok that they don’t need to be scared, and to hopefully show some empathy and say, you know I felt that way too,” Corcoran said.