Ashbourne teacher helps kids to talk about anxiety

Áine Murray, primary school teacher and children’s book author speaks to the team from The Kids Are All Right! podcast, a kids podcast all about Health, Happiness and Wellness about a book she has written called ‘The Pain in the Chest’ to help kids understand and manage their worries.

Currently teaching 4th class in Ashbourne ETNS, Áine has an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology. She is passionate about her teaching and has a particular interest in youth mental health, which can be seen in her new picture book which tackles the issue of anxiety through rhyme and beautiful illustrations.

The book reaches all primary school ages from 4-12 years, and she chats with Michelle and her (puppet) co-hosts Buster and Buddy about how when we talk, our worries walk!

The team behind the podcast have over 50 years experience working with kids and are on a mission to help kids Feel Great and Live Well! Each week they feature a different topic speaking with experts who have the best advice and tons of experience to share as Buster and Buddy ask the types of questions the kids want to know!

With a background in psychology, Áine believes it’s really important to understand that talking about your mental health doesn’t mean that something is wrong. Our mental health, how we feel in our head, changes all the time; sometimes it’s great and we feel really positive and then sometimes it’s more negative and we feel not so great.

But when we learn it is constantly changing, we know that if we are feeling anxious or down, that it won’t last forever and there are lots of things we can do to help ourselves.

The girl who features in her book has lots of worries as she grows up, but at the end of the book she decides to talk to her Mom about her anxiety and then we learn that when we start to talk, our worries start to walk…and we feel better!

It introduces the language of anxiety, allows for reflection on what anxiety might look like, and normalises talking about our feelings in a child friendly way. It is engaging, inclusive and most of all, important.

Áine explains to Buster and Buddy how it is so important to learn about your own mental health from a young age and to understand how your worries can show themselves in your body in a very physical way; so the girl in her book feels it as a pain in her chest, but other kids might get pains in their tummy, or headaches or in other ways when they feel anxious or worried. And once we can begin to understand why this happens and importantly begin to notice where and when these feelings happen, then we can begin to make a plan on things we can do to help ourselves feel better.

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