EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The American Academy of Pediatrics is among medical groups calling the state of children’s mental health a national state of emergency.

Experts say a key way to support children’s mental health is for parents and caregivers to have what are called regular “check-ins”.

The obstacle many adults may have done is using a way that helps kids freely express how they’re feeling. A national campaign is helping make that possible.

The opening lyric of the song “One Breath” by Empress Of gets right to the heart of what many middle school-aged children have been feeling the past couple of years.

Given their age and life experience, they may have a hard time expressing those heavy feelings. That’s where the ‘Sound It Out’ campaign comes in.

“I think that music is such a powerful… I think it transcends language. It can transcend culture and provides really an opening and opportunity for people and young people to have these conversations,” stated Dr. Charmain Jackman, Psychologist, ‘Sound It Out’ Campaign

The ‘Sound It Out’ campaign is more than just a selection of songs with highlighted follow-along lyrics. It also features a free downloadable ‘Conversation Starter Pack’.

“The ‘Start The Conversation’ starter pack is really a way to, like, how do we start these really can be difficult conversations. How do we get our kids to open up,” said Dr. Jackman.

The pack includes just-for-fun questions to get the conversation flowing, along with more serious topics like anxiety, friendships, and social media.

New data from the American Psychiatric Association finds more than half of adults with children under 18 say they’re concerned about their kids’ mental state.

More than a quarter of parents say they’ve sought professional help for their children’s mental health because of the pandemic.

While ‘Sound It Out’ is no substitute for professional help, it can be a significant communication tool.

“This, one, is going to help me to connect to my child and build that relationship but also if give you and inside, like, inside view of their brain like what’s going on for them, what might be some emotions that they’re struggling with and trying to name and trying to have the vocabulary for,” explained Jackman.

Dr. Jackman recommends using your child’s school as an additional resource where counselors may have a different perspective.

Head to the ‘Sound It Out’ website to learn more about the campaign and its free content.