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Responding to the Invisible Child

A Tactical Response Guide To Mental Health Disorders In Children

by Courtney Willegal

A one-of-a-kind book for responders


As a First Responder, you are prepared to handle many unexpected situations you encounter on a call. What happens though when the emergency challenges the training, instincts and professionalism of even the most experienced First Responder?

As a First Responder you come in contact with children almost every day. Some of the children you interact with may appear ‘different’ than other children their age.  They act different, respond differently or not respond to you at all. You may question their behavior, intent, safety or mental health. With 17.1 million children in the United States currently living with a Mental Health Disorder, it is imperative for First Responders to be proactive in learning about Mental Health Disorders in children and what you as a First Responder can do to help them.

Get ready for a one of a kind book that will open your eyes to what life is actually like for children affected by Mental Health Disorders.


Meet Sean, an 8 year old boy living with 4 Mental Health Disorders and discover the daily struggles he endures. Educate yourself on what childhood Mental Health Disorders are and the behaviors/symptoms associated with each disorder, as well as obtain resources and techniques you can use to develop an appropriate tactical response.


Readers will get the chance to meet 15 amazing kids, just like Sean, who are living everyday with Mental Health Disorders. This is a definite must read for any First Responder.

"The biggest life lesson I have learned being a mother is that I thought I would have to teach my son about the world.  Turns out, I have to teach the world about my son."   ~Courtney Willegal

About the author:


Courtney Willegal is a Trauma and Crisis Counselor trained in psychological first aid and crisis response. She has a Masters in Clinical Professional Counseling and is the mother of two energetic boys who have both been diagnosed with Mental Health Disorders.  When her youngest was very little, she knew that he was developing much differently than other kids his own age. Although he looked ‘normal’, he didn’t act or react the way that his peers did. After a horrific incident involving her youngest son, Courtney discovered that First Responders are not trained to respond to children who are wired differently like her youngest son. She set out to change this. Educating First Responders on Mental Health Disorders in children and sharing what life is like on a daily basis for her youngest son and other kids like him, became her passion. Courtney currently lives outside Madison, WI with her two boys and their Labrador. 

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