The Little Chairs – Helping Young Children Understand Mental Illness

Presented by Kate Salley Palmer.

In 1999, Warbranch Press published The Little Chairs, a story based on real life experience in Kate’s family. Kate’s father, a WWII veteran, was chronically depressed and would retreat to a dark corner when he didn’t feel like participating in family activities. The book shows in vivid colors and narrative how Kate’s mother eventually got her father to rejoin the family using the task of painting little chairs. In talks, Kate emphasizes that the children in the story or the Mama didn’t make the Daddy sad, and further that they couldn’t make him well again. This book does not mean to suggest that painting chairs is a “cure” for depression, but does illustrate that the love and compassion of a family member can have an effect, if only temporary.

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