PARLIER, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A local sixth grader is now a published author after she wrote a book about her struggles with anxiety during the pandemic.

It was an emotional day for sixth-grade author Kayluh Beltran as she stood in front of her classmates and shared her ongoing battle with anxiety.

Kayluh was just nine years old when she experienced her first anxiety attack.

Her parents initially said they didn’t know what was happening but could tell something was wrong.

“Little by little, she was distant, she wasn’t as friendly, she was getting upset with the kids, with myself … after about a month she came and said this is what’s going on,” said Olga Beltran, Kayluh’s mom.

After finding out what was bothering her, Kayluh’s parents quickly sought help from doctors.

“We never experienced this, I didn’t know what she was going through,” said Steven Beltran, Kayluh’s father.

After she was diagnosed with anxiety, Kayluh decided to write down her feelings in her book “My Anxiety Journey.”

She later entered her book in the Fresno County Superintendents of School’s Young Author’s Fair.

“I wanted to submit my book but I didn’t think any of this was gonna happen,” said Kayluh.

Her book received honorable mentions at the fair and also caught the eye of Ahmad Bahrami, Fresno County’s Department of Behavioral Health’s Division Manager.

“With a title like that we can’t really get adults to talk about their social-emotional health and here we have a fifth grader talking about her experiences and that’s really brave,” said Bahrami.

With her book, Kayluh hopes her story can serve as a call for hope for others.

“I hope for people to take mental health more seriously and to just help out people you know who have mental health issues,” said Kayluh.

The Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health will assist Kayla in her mission to break the stigma around mental health by publishing 1,000 copies of her book.

The books will then be distributed to all classrooms in Fresno County.