Forest PsyD student Bryce Gray spends most of his free time working for a psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents in Springfield.
He says that was his inspiration to write a children's book titled "Elephant in the Room," which released to major booksellers this month.
"I created this as an avenue to help the children relate to other people, so they know I'm not the only one having problems. Other kids are also having problems," said Gray.
He said he noticed younger children have a hard time opening up and talking about what's going on at home.
"Nobody wants to talk about the elephant in the room, so I wanted to relay to the kids, that if there's a problem, let's talk about it," said Gray.
The book is about a boy named Taylor, which happens to be Bryce's middle name, and his dog Wyndel, which was also a family pet.
The story takes place in a day of Taylor's life. The boy comes home from school and struggles through his afternoon, not wanting to play with his dog or engage in other activities. Eventually his parents notice the elephant he's carrying around and decide to talk to the boy.
Gray says he hopes the book, full of colorful illustrations and simple text, will open up conversations between children and their superiors.
"I hope that the child will have someone whether it be a parent, a brother, a sister, a counselor, just someone they can vent to," said Gray.
He commented that often children don't know their situations are not normal, so teaching them to open up and talk is important.
Gray began writing "Elephant in the Room" a couple of years ago, and says after being pushed by Dr. Bradley Powers he decided to pursue publishing it.
He says was hesitant to get it published at first because he thought, "who am I to write a book?" But eventually that changed.
"It took getting over the 'imposter syndrome' and saying I can do this," said Gray.
In the Fall of 2011 Forest Institute held a book signing with Gray and his illustrator Erica Miller.
"Elephant in the Room" was published by Trafford Publishing and is available at most book stores for around 13 dollars.
The book's ISBN is 1426969791.