By Marlee Ginter

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Helping kids get back on their feet after the pandemic can be a challenge, especially after missing out on sports and milestone events, but there’s a program now launching at schools across California to help kids cope.

For Maya Gomez, there’s more to being a strong student than studying. She pays just as much attention to her mental health, especially after going into the pandemic with a sports concussion.

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“It was really challenging,” Gomez said. “I was having to do physical therapy for my brain at the same time that I was just dealing with the emotional weight of being sent home.”

But Gomez had a mental health tool even before the pandemic called “Angst“.

“Angst” is an IndieFlix film program raising awareness about anxiety and teaching kids, their parents and teachers how to cope.

“What we did was we wove together enough stories that everybody can really identify with someone in the film,” said Scilla Andreen, an Angst filmmaker.

Andreen admits it wasn’t even a film she wanted to make until a struggling friend told her it was necessary. Tina died by suicide before the film even went into production.

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“And I knew she was struggling but I didn’t know it was that bad,” Andreen said. “And I think we say that a lot.”

But Andreen put her words into action and is now teaming up with CalHope to bring “Angst” to schools across the state.

“CalHope is our statewide effort to address the stress and anxiety that we’re all feeling and one of the areas that we really wanted to focus on was our young people,” said Jim Kooler of CalHope.

“I hope that our work empowers people to be able to affect many people, millions of people because there’s really no point in struggling and suffering in silence,” Andreen said.

A project that started with heartbreak is now bringing hope to young people like Gomez around the world.

“It is comforting to know that there’s a resource out there for people and this resource is being expanded so so many people have access to it,” she said.

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More than 400 schools across the state have signed up for the “Angst” program, but Andreen dreams of taking it further and making it available to schools across the nation for free.