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Hi, I’m Zara! I’m a mother of three young children from South Australia, with passion to positively impact the mental health of our kids.

Anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges have impacted the people I love since I was a child. I’ve struggled with my own anxious feelings throughout my life. While working in corporate business, friends and colleagues would often confide their own mental health struggles. But you don’t always see it, and many people don’t feel supported to work through it.

Beyond Blue estimates that around 45% of Australian adults will be affected by a mental health condition at some time in their life and that one in seven children under fourteen years old will experience a mental health condition during childhood. They also tell us that given half of all mental health conditions in adulthood begin before the age of fourteen, the time to act is early, during childhood.

Then I became a mother. I now have the responsibility and privilege to try to help my own little people navigate the stormy seas of emotional challenges that face so many of us. I want to help them build a toolkit so that they have the skills to work through their challenges, whatever and whenever they may arise. 

The idea for Brave and Able was born out of my own attempts to find ways I could effectively help my children through their big feelings. In conversations with other parents, I realised I wasn’t the only one struggling to find a way to connect to my child in these moments and that there were limited tangible tools readily available. So, I researched. I sought input from children's psychologists and educators on the approaches they took to help children develop coping skills. I wanted to create something that would empower kids to feel safe with their feelings, and confident to play and learn and try new things – even when it feels hard or a bit scary – something I often struggled with myself when I was a child.

I want kids (and parents!) to realise that being brave is not about not being afraid – it’s about having that fear and feeling able to give it a go anyway. Even if the bravest thing to do is to tell their friends that they actually don't feel ready to join in that game today. Saying 'no, I don't want to' or 'no, I'm not ready to try that' is also very brave! 

I hope you and your family will reap the benefits of the Brave and Able Breathing Buddies. 

Sending my most brave and able wishes your way,

xx Zara

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