May is Mental Health Awareness Month, sponsored by the Americal Psychological Association. Mental health is critical to our overall health and well-being, and yet mental health is often not prioritized as it should be. Those with mental illnesses are often reluctant to talk to someone, or even admit to themselves that something isn't right. Teenagers are not exempt from mental illness -- how often do we hear of teen suicide, cutting, or teens with eating disorders? Most of us likely know someone with ADD/ADHD, anxiety or depression, or we have dealt with these issues ourselves. Autism is a mental health disorder, as is obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and Tourette Syndrome. Post-traumatic stress disorder isn't just reserved for veterans of war, but often affects those who've experienced abuse, assault, a traumatic experience or the death of a close friend or loved one. We are all touched by mental illness in some way. We all need to recognize that our mental health is just as important as our physical health.
Please click here for a list of local mental health resources.
One of the most difficult parts of mental illness is how alone we can feel. Bibliotherapy is finding help through books and poetry. We find characters who have similar thoughts and experiences -- this helps us feel understood and not alone. We relate to these characters, empathize with them and others, and learn from their experiences and reactions. Below is a list of books compiled by a teen librarian and blogger whose awesome mental health blog post inspired me to do the same. Books in bold type can be found in the ALHS Library.
Bibliotherapy list here.