Books To Help Discuss Mental Health

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As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, let us not stop this important discussion. Mental Illness is a topic that needs to be discussed more in society and although this month makes us aware about our daily mental health, it also alerts us about the everyday struggles that most people go through. Mental illness may be a difficult subject for most to approach, however, here are some great book selections, for various age groups, that will help get this much-needed conversation started:

For Children

  • Silly Billy by Anthony Browne – This books takes a gentle look at childhood anxiety
  • Michael Rosen’s Sad Book by Michael Rosen and Quentin Blake – With unmitigated honesty, a touch of humor, and sensitive illustrations by Quentin Blake, Michael Rosen explores the experience of sadness in a way that resonates with us all. (Credit: Candlewick Press)
  • The Bear Who Stared by Duncan Beedie – A funny book about a socially awkward bear that is trying to make friends.
  •  Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand – Finley Hart battles with depression as she deals with her parents’ marital problems and meeting her grandparents for the first time in this fantasy novel.

For Teens

  • Turtles All The Way Down by John Green – The story focuses on 16-year old Aza Holmes, a high school student that lives with multiple anxiety disorders and is on a search for a fugitive billionaire.
  • Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley – A story about 16-year-old Solomon, an agoraphobic, who has not left his home in three years.
  • I Have Lost My Way by Gayle FormanAround the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs.(Credit: Penguin Teen)
  • All Better Now by Emily Wing Smith – In turns candid, angry, and beautiful, Emily Wing Smith’s captivating memoir chronicles her struggles with both mental and physical disabilities during her childhood, the devastating accident that may have saved her life, and the means by which she coped with it all: writing. (Credit: Dutton Books)
  • A World Without You by Beth Revis – 17-year-old Bo suffers through delusions that he can travel through time.

For Adults

  • Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee – Two sisters: Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister’s protector; Lucia, the vibrant, headstrong, unconventional one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life changing. When their mother dies and Lucia starts to hear voices, it’s Miranda who must fight for the help her sister needs — even as Lucia refuses to be defined by any doctor’s diagnosis. (Credit: Pamela Dorman Books)
  • Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari – From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, a startling challenge to our thinking about depression and anxiety. (Credit: Bloomsbury USA)
  • First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Story About Anxiety by Sarah Wilson – In her new book, she directs her intense focus and fierce investigatory skills onto this lifetime companion of hers, looking at the triggers and treatments, the fashions and fads. She reads widely and interviews fellow sufferers, mental health experts, philosophers, and even the Dalai Lama, processing all she learns through the prism her own experiences. (Credit: Macmillan Australia)
  • Defying the Verdict by Charita Cole Brown – During her final semester of college, Charita Brown suffered a psychotic episode frighteningly reminiscent of her grandmother’s own breakdown and subsequent hospitalization. Afterward, she was diagnosed as bipolar. Vowing to remain honest, Charita details her struggle after her diagnosis—a life full of love, hope, and success. (Credit: Curbside Splendor Publishing)

  • The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R. Pan – With lyrical prose and magical elements, Emily X.R. Pan’s stunning debut novel alternates between past and present, romance and despair, as one girl attempts to find herself through family history, art, friendship, and love. (Credit: Orion Children’s Books)

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