Author Cara Bean of New Bedford has developed a unique way for teens to better understand emotional and mental health issues. She has written and completely illustrated the book Here I Am, I Am Me: An illustrated Guide to Mental Health.

Bean, a former teacher, visited Townsquare Sunday this week. Bean spent 10 years teaching art at Lexington High School, and more recently served as the Artist in Residence at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.

"We all have brains, we all have nervous systems and when we get upset, it takes awhile to calm down," Bean said. "There are some simple things we can learn about our mind and body so we can sort it out."

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Bean readily admits that she is not an expert on mental health issues, but she has consulted with many professionals to make sure she's getting it right.

"I wouldn't have written this book if I didn't have the help of some really brilliant experts," she said.

"I've had various therapists, social workers, and people who are in the trenches helping people, reviewing the book, and I hope it can be a tool for professionals to use while being safe for kids to read," Bean said.

Photo by Josh Souza for New Bedford Creative
Photo by Josh Souza for New Bedford Creative

The really unique feature about the book is that it's totally illustrated, and at first glance looks like a 270-page comic book, written in a way for kids to understand.

Bean said the book is a great way for parents to start a conversation with their children.

"I would like parents to read the book, so they can decide whether its important for their kids to read," she said. "There's a lot of feelings that come up with this book, but the reaction has been very positive so far."

Here I Am, I Am Me: An Illustrated Guide to Mental Health is available at local bookstores and on Amazon.

Townsquare Sunday is a community affairs program heard Sunday mornings on WBSM.

If you would like your organization highlighted on Townsquare Sunday, please email the host at

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Gallery Credit: Ariel Dorsey

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