#MentalHealth has such a stigma around it. So many people all over the world have struggles with their #MentalHealth . I aim to erase that stigma. For now, the only way I know how to do that is by spreading awareness through literature.
So here are some books that feature characters with mental illnesses:
1.”The Art of Insanity” by Christine Webb
*This book has mentions of attempted suicide that may be triggering for some readers.
High schooler Natalie Cordova has just been diagnosed with #BipolarDisorder . Her mom insists she keep it secret. Putting up a front and hiding her mental illness from her classmates is going to be the hardest thing high schooler Natalie Cordova has ever done. It’s her senior year, and she’s just been selected to present her artwork at a prestigious show. With the stress of performing on her shoulders, it doesn’t help when Natalie notices a boy who makes her heart leap. And then there’s fellow student Ella, who confronts Natalie about her summer car “accident” and pressures her into caring for the world’s ugliest dog. Now Natalie finds herself juggling all kinds of feels and responsibilities. Surely her newly prescribed medication is to blame for the funk she finds herself in. But as Natalie’s plan to self-treat unravels, so does the perfect façade she’s been painting for everyone else.
2.”Your Voice Is All I Hear” by Leah Scheier
April won’t let Jonah go without a fight. He’s her boyfriend—her best friend. She’ll do anything to keep him safe. But as Jonah slips into a dark #Depression trying to escape the traumatic past that haunts him, April is torn. To protect Jonah, she risks losing everything: family, friends, an opportunity to attend a prestigious music school. How much must she sacrifice? And will her voice be loud enough to drown out the dissenters—and the ones in his head?#Schizophrenia
3.”The Program” by Suzanne Young
*This book mentions suicide and self-harm, which might be triggering for some readers.
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program. Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories. Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. #Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.
4.”How It Feels To Fly” by Kathryn Holmes
*This book may be triggering to those who have #EatingDisorders , #BingeEatingDisorder , #BulimiaNervosa , #Anorexia , #AnorexiaNervosa , and/or #BodyDysmorphicDisorder .
For as long as Samantha can remember, she’s wanted to be a professional ballerina. She’s lived for perfect pirouettes, sky-high extensions, and soaring leaps across the stage. Then her body betrayed her. The change was gradual. Stealthy. Failed diets. Disapproving looks. Whispers behind her back. The result: #Anxiety about her appearance, which threatens to crush her dancing dreams entirely. On her dance teacher’s recommendation, Sam is sent to a summer treatment camp for teen artists and athletes who are struggling with mental and emotional obstacles. If she can make progress, she’ll be allowed to attend a crucial ballet intensive. But when asked to open up about her deepest insecurities, secret behaviors, and paralyzing fears to complete strangers, Sam can’t cope. Sam forms an unlikely bond with Andrew, a former college football player who’s one of her camp counselors. As they grow closer, Andrew helps Sam see herself as he does—beautiful. But just as she starts to believe that there’s more between them than friendship, disappointing news from home sends her into a tailspin. With her future uncertain and her body against her, will Sam give in to the #Anxiety that imprisons her?
5.”Four Weeks, Five People” by Jennifer Yu
They're more than their problems. Obsessive-compulsive teen Clarissa wants to get better, if only so her mother will stop asking her if she's okay. Andrew wants to overcome his #EatingDisorder so he can get back to his band and their dreams of becoming famous. Film aficionado Ben would rather live in the movies than in reality. Gorgeous and overly confident Mason thinks everyone is an “idiot”. And Stella just doesn't want to be back for her second summer of wilderness therapy. As the five teens get to know one another and work to overcome the various disorders that have affected their lives, they find themselves forming bonds they never thought they would, discovering new truths about themselves and actually looking forward to the future.
6.”Every Last Word” by Tamara Ireland Stone
Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off. Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist. Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of “misfits” who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
📚 Please don’t read anything that triggers you. My hope in sharing this post was that someone who has mental health challenges would find a character to relate to. As always, if you need/want to discuss anything, please reach out and ask. 🤍