Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Anxiety resources for families

Seattle Times Education Lab multicultural mental health guide. Illustration by Jennifer Luxton

Unmasking anxiety: Resources for families

Kids in Washington State are suffering from alarmingly high levels of anxiety and stress, a situation some parents fear will be elevated by the state’s upcoming mask mandate lift. In fact, Washington, in line with many states across the country is experiencing a crisis in children’s mental health since the pandemic started.

According  to National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMH) 2021 Washington Fact Sheet, 82,000 Washington kids ages 12-17 struggle with anxiety and depression. More than 50% of Washington children ages 11-17 years old have thought about suicide or self-harm during the pandemic according to the Washington Chapter of The American Academy of Pediatrics.  And, the CDC reports that emergency room visits for children ages 5-17 have increased by more than 24% since the beginning of the pandemic. For pediatrician tips on helping to manage anxiety in kids, check out Dr. Sarah Bergman Lewis’ article When Anxiety Takes a Room in Your House.

Below are a list of resources for families dealing with child anxiety or other mental health concerns:

Anxiety Reduction Programs for Kids

  • Seattle Children’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Anxiety Program. Anxious children (ages 5 to 17) and their parents participate in concurrent groups (based on age group) to learn proven anxiety management techniques. or 206-987-2164.
  • The Child Anxiety Center at EBTCS. A place for kids dealing with diagnosed anxiety disorders or just in need of a good therapist to navigate the ups and downs of growing up in a pandemic. Evidence Based Treatment Centers of Seattle: or call 206-374-0109.
  • Seattle Times Education Lab mental health resource guide for teens: Children ages 13 and up can self-refer for mental health care. The Times, King County Public health and local teens created this multicultural guide to help young people find the help they need:

COVID-19 Parental Resource Kits

Books for parents

  • Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance by Christopher McCurry, Ph.D.
  • Helping Your Anxious Child by Ronald Rapee, Ph.D.
  • Getting to Calm, The Early Years by Laura S. Kastner, Ph.D.
  • Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens + Teens by Laura S. Kastner, Ph.D.

Books for children

  • I Bet I Won’t Fret: A Workbook to Help Children with Generalized Anxiety Disorder by Timothy A. Sisemore, Ph.D.
  • What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety (What to Do Guides for Kids) by Dawn Huebner, Ph.D.


Ask your school or library for a screening of Angst, by Seattle resident and documentary filmmaker Matt Skerritt. This hour long film explores the disturbing uptick in anxiety in children; its causes, effects and how to deal with it. The filmmakers have also created an online resource for parents at

Anxiety Reducing Games

Check out the Mightier program developed by clinicians from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. With Mightier, anxious kids practice cooling down/calming down or “taking a pause” in a fun play environment:

Smart Device Apps (search your device App Store)