Mental Health in YA

… and why we need so much more of it.

On October 10th it is World Mental Health Day. It’s a day celebrated internationally to spread awareness and knowledge about Mental Illness and how to keep your own Mental Health good and healthy!

I currently volunteer at a mental health charity in my city and our current goal is to try to get rid of and teach about the stereotypes and stigma surrounding mental health in young people and I think that books are an amazing way of addressing this.

The whole point of a fictional novel is that it’s the own author’s world – they can choose most if not all of what goes into their writing. And despite the fact that writers all over the world – especially those who write YA – are increasingly starting to diversify their books I think we have a very long way to go.

Books are a beautiful medium to help educate and inform about varying types of mental health issues. It can be so much easier to be read about heavy topics in a story you know isn’t 100 real. And some books do exactly that – More Happy Than Not is one of my favourite novels that deals with mental health. The writing is raw and real; and Adam Silvera as someone who has deals with depression avoided the two things that worry me the most about mental health in YA fiction. Romanticizing and/or stereotyping.

Yes, there is a steadily rising amount of books centered around or including mental health but this community needs more than that. I’ve never even heard about a book where a boy suffers from an eating disorder, or where a girl suffers from anger problems. Nearly every book I have read with mental health as much as I don’t like to admit it does have a sense of romanticizing and I don’t understand why because it honestly isn’t hard. Not everything has to be romantic – people can heal for themselves you know? And I want to see that happening.

The YA book community is such a loving and caring one and as a whole we should strive for diversity. Whether you pick up a book talking about mental health or even write one yourselves – YOU ARE HELPING – and with everyone’s help we can strive for so much more.

Just for reference here are some of my favourite books that deal with mental health:

And I’d like to give a special spot to the following book whose author is someone who so many people love and miss – may he rest in peace.

 

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