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There is a mental health crisis in America. While the general public is increasingly aware of the benefits of seeking treatment for mental health, many don't have access to the system.

According to The National Council, 42% of Americans say that cost and poor insurance coverage is the number one barrier to getting help.

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The Florida State Board of Education recently voted to require all students in the sixth grade and up to receive five hours of mental health instruction every year. Florida may have more than its fair share of questionable legislation, but this is highly commendable.

Florida isn't the first state to mandate such courses—New York, Virginia, and Maine all passed bills requiring mental health to be part of the required curriculum last school year, and more states are sure to follow suit.

It's a huge move in the right direction—and it's about dang time.

I taught in public schools fresh out of college, and even two decades ago I saw how much of a need there was for mental health education. Today, my thoughts on the matter are much more personal. Our oldest daughter spent much of her tween and teen years struggling with a mental health disorder called emetophobia—a clinical fear of throwing up. It got to the point in her mid-teens where she had a hard time doing normal, everyday things, like eating or being around people.

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All good parents want their children to live happy and healthy lives. But for parents of sick kids, particularly those with chronic and congenital health conditions, that's a much more difficult goal to achieve.

Unsurprisingly, anxiety is ever-present in both these parents and kids' lives.

As a mother of two children with congenital health conditions, I know first-hand how scary it can be when you’re worried and trying to process the “what if” or expected eventuality of surgery.    

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I have struggled with anxiety since high school.

As I've learned recently, it can get really bad sometimes — especially due to my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety triggers.

Lately, my anxiety has resulted in panic attacks in social settings and insomnia at nights brought on by a fear of nightmares.

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