BRACEBRIDGE, ON – Mental health is a big issue and a book from a local author is helping kids and their families recognize and deal with anxiety.

Christine Fishman’s son Maverick deals with pediatric anxiety and it inspired her to tell the world about a topic many don’t know exists.

“I found that there was a gap in literacy materials for younger children who broached this important subject,” Fishman said. “So, I put pen to paper and here we are.”

Her book, Sweet Honey Kisses for an Anxious Bear, has sold over 700 copies and is loosely based on the experience Fishman had with her son a few years ago.

“I have had anxiety my entire life so I was fairly intuitive when I saw signs in our son,” Fishman said. “Some children exhibit anxiety through sensory outbursts, so they don’t tolerate loud sounds or bright lights very well.”

She said there are multiple signs that a child is experiencing anxiety like biting on the collars of their shirts or cuffs of their sleeves. Fishman said the biggest sign she notices though, is tummy aches.

“These little ones aren’t able to articulate very well and they say that their stomach is hurting,” Fishman said. “That is usually, or might be, a sign they are experiencing anxiety.”

The mother added that the Muskoka community has been incredibly supportive. Fishman said the Bracebridge Public Library, Family Connexions and Family Focus has a copy of the book and all three Minds Alive stores in the area have it available.

Above teaching parents the warning signs and how to handle a child experiencing anxiety, Fishman wanted to teach the children that they are not alone.

“Through perseverance, love and gentle guidance you can do anything,” Fishman said “You can overcome your fears. The world can be very big and intimidating but you can do it.”

Fishman has been donating books and wants to collaborate up with a group to help children dealing with anxiety even more.

“I’m definitely open to teaming up with a charity or a mental health organization in the near future to help support and get the word out there,” Fishman said.