By Zack McDermott (B McDe)
Zack McDermott, a 26-year-old Brooklyn public defender, woke up one morning convinced he was being filmed, Truman Show- style, as part of an audition for a TV pilot. Every passerby was an actor; every car would magically stop for him; everything he saw was a cue from "The Producer" to help inspire the performance of a lifetime. After a manic spree around Manhattan, Zack, who is bipolar, was arrested on a subway platform and admitted to Bellevue Hospital.
So begins the story of Zack's freefall into psychosis and his desperate, poignant, often hilarious struggle to claw his way back to sanity. It's a journey that will take him from New York City back to his Kansas roots and to the one person who might be able to save him, his tough, big-hearted Midwestern mother, nicknamed “The Bird,” whose fierce and steadfast love is the light in Zack's dark world.
By Alisa Roth (364.38 Roth)
An expose of the mental-health crisis in America's courts and prisons reveals that nearly half of the nation's inmates are actually afflicted by a psychiatric problem, examines how inmates are denied treatment, and suggests a more humane approach.
By Mira Lee (Fic Lee, Q Lee)
Two sisters: Miranda - the older, responsible one and always her younger sister's protector, and Lucia - the headstrong and unpredictable one, whose impulses are huge and often life changing. When their mother dies and Lucia starts hearing voices, it is Miranda who must find a way to reach her sister.
By Matt Haig (616.89 Haig)
The societies we live in are increasingly making our minds ill, making it feel as though the way we live is engineered to make us unhappy. When Matt Haig developed panic disorder, anxiety, and depression as an adult, it took him a long time to work out the ways the external world could impact his mental health in both positive and negative ways. Notes on a Nervous Planet collects his observations, taking a look at how the various social, commercial, and technological "advancements" that have created the world we now live in can actually hinder our happiness. Haig examines everything from broader phenomena like inequality, social media, and the news; to things closer to our daily lives, like how we sleep, how we exercise, and even the distinction we draw between our minds and our bodies.
By Ron Powers (362.26 Powe)
From the centuries of torture at Bedlam Asylum to the infamous eugenics era to the follies of the anti-psychiatry movement to the current landscape in which too many families struggle alone to manage afflicted love ones, Powers depicts our fears and myths about mental illness and the fractured public policies that have resulted.
Braided within the history is the moving story of Ron Powers’s beloved son Kevin--spirited, endearing, and gifted--who triumphed even while suffering from schizophrenia until finally he did not, and the story of his courageous surviving son Dean, who is also schizophrenic.
A blend of history, biography, memoir, and current affairs ending with a consideration of where we might go from here, this is a thought-provoking look at a dreaded illness that has long been misunderstood.
By Stephen P. Hinshaw (B Hins)
A clinical psychologist uses his own experiences growing up with his father's mental illness, a secret that was kept from him for 18 years, to advocate for the importance of destigmatizing mental health conditions in the 21st century.
By Mark Lukach (B Luka)
Mark and Giulia's life together began as a storybook romance. The fell in love at eighteen, married at twenty-four, and were living their dream life in San Francisco. When Giulia was twenty-seven, she suffered a terrifying and unexpected psychotic break that landed her in the psych ward for nearly a month.
Eventually, Giulia fully recovered, and the couple had a son. But, soon after Jonas was born, Giulia had another breakdown, and then a third a few years after that. Pushed to the edge of the abyss, everything the couple had once taken for granted was upended. A story of the fragility of the mind, and the tenacity of the human spirit.
By Maggy Van Eijk (616.89 VanE)
What no one tells you about living with anxiety and depression--learned the hard way. Maggy van Eijk knows the best place to cry in public. She also knows that eating super salty licorice or swimming in icy cold water are things that make you feel alive but, unlike self-harm, aren't bad for you. These are the things to remember when you're sad. Turning 27, Maggy had the worst mental health experience of her life so far. She ended a three-year relationship. She lost friends and made bad decisions. She drank too much and went to ER over twelve times. She saw three different therapists and had three different diagnoses. She went to two burn units for self-inflicted wounds and was escorted in an ambulance to a mental health crisis center. But that's not the end of her story. Punctuated with illustrated lists reminiscent of Maggy's popular BuzzFeed posts, How Not to Fall Apart shares the author's hard-won lessons about what helps and what hurts on the road to self-awareness and better mental health. This is a book about what it's like to live with anxiety and depression, panic attacks, self-harm and self-loathing--and it's also a hopeful roadmap written by someone who's been there and is still finding her way.
By Thomas J. Brennan, USMC (Ret.), and Finbarr O'Reilly (958.1047 Bren)
Through the unpredictability of war and its aftermath, a decorated Marine sergeant and a world-trotting war photographer became friends, their bond forged as they patrolled together through the dusty alleyways of Helmand province and camped side by side in the desert. It deepened after Sergeant TJ Brennan was injured during a Taliban ambush, and both returned home. Brennan began to suffer from the effects of his injury and from the fallout of his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. But war correspondents experience similar rates of post-traumatic stress as combat veterans. The causes can be different, but guilt plays a prominent role in both.
Edited by Kelly Jensen (YA 616.89 Dont)
This anthology collection of essays and illustrations explores a wide range of topics, from the authors' personal experiences with mental illness and understanding how our brains are wired, to exploring the do's and don'ts of talking about mental health.
By Louise Gornall (YA Gorn, CD YA Gorn)
Norah has agoraphobia and OCD. When groceries are left on the porch, she can't step out to get them. Struggling to snag the bags with a stick, she meets Luke. He's sweet and funny, and he just caught her fishing for groceries. Because of course he did.
Norah can't leave the house, but can she let someone in? As their friendship grows deeper, Norah realizes Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can lie on the front lawn and look up at the stars. One who isn't so screwed up.
Readers themselves will fall in love with Norah in this poignant, humorous, and deeply engaging portrait of a teen struggling to find the strength to face her demons.
By Meg Haston (YA Hast)
Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert. Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at meal time, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she's worked so hard to avoid. Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn't plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh's death--the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she, too, will end her life.
Paperweight follows Stevie's journey as she struggles not only with this life-threatening eating disorder, but with the question of whether she can ever find absolution for the mistakes of her past…and whether she truly deserves to.
By Amy Bleuel (YA 362.28 Bleu)
No one struggling with a mental illness is alone; you, too, can survive and live a life filled with joy and love. Project Semicolon began in 2013 to spread this message of hope. In support of the project, thousands of people all over the world have gotten semicolon tattoos and shared their stories of hardship, growth, and rebirth. At once heartfelt, unflinchingly honest, and eternally hopeful, this collection tells a story of choice: every day you choose to live and let your story continue on.
By Allison Britz (YA B Brit)
After awakening from a vivid nightmare in which she was diagnosed with brain cancer, fifteen-year-old Allison Britz is convinced the dream is a warning. Believing that she must do something to stop the cancer in her dream from becoming a reality, she starts avoiding sidewalk cracks and quickly grows to counting steps as loudly as possible. Over the next weeks, her brain listed more dangers and fixes. Unable to act "normal," the once-popular Allison became an outcast. Her parents questioned her behavior, leading to explosive fights. Finally, Allison allows herself to ask for help and is diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
This brave memoir tracks Allison's descent and ultimately hopeful climb out of the depths of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Edited by Jessica Burkhart (YA 616.89 Life)
Thirty-one YA authors share their own struggles with mental illness, ranging from such topics as neurodiversity and addiction to OCD and PTSD.
By Sarah Moon (YA Moon)
Fourteen-year-old Sparrow Cooke of Brooklyn has always been the kind of child who prefers reading books to playing with friends (not that she has many of those) and since fifth grade the one person who seemed to understand her was the school librarian. So when Mrs. Wexler was killed in an accident, Sparrow's world came apart, and when she was found on the edge of the school roof everyone assumed that it was a suicide attempt, which Sparrow denies, but cannot find the words to explain.
By Stephanie Elliot (YA Elli)
Sixteen-year-old Pea looks normal, but she has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, which means she can't eat very much because nutritious foods frighten her. Having ARFID is like having a monster inside of her, one that dictates what she can eat, what she does, and who she socializes with. This monster is growing and controlling more than just her food issues - it's causing anxiety, depression and thoughts that she doesn't want to have. When she falls crazy-mad in love with Ben, she hides her disorder from him, pretending that she's fine. At first, everything really does feel like it's getting better with him around, so she stops taking her anxiety and depression medication. And that's when the monster really takes over her life. Just as everything seems lost and hopeless, Pea finds in her family, best friend, and Ben the support and strength that she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn't have to control her.
By Aubre Andrus, with Karen Bluth, Ph. D. (YA 155.518 Andr)
More than 50 ideas for students interested in ways to combat the everyday stresses of school, family, and friends.
By Mariam Gates (E 158.128 Gate)
An accessible and fun guide to meditation and mindfulness for young children.
Kids will learn how to focus on their breath, on the sensations in their body, and on the sounds around them to help them relax, settle their busy minds, and understand their emotions. Illustrated with cheerful drawings. It's an invigorating first experience of mindfulness that can be shared by parents and children at home, or by teachers and students in the classroom.
By Cindy Baldwin (J Bald)
When twelve-year-old Della Kelly finds her mother furiously digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and talking to people who aren't there, Della worries that it's happening again--that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. That her mama is going to be hospitalized for months like she was last time.
With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what's happening, it's up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she'll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady's magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations.
But when the Bee Lady says that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama's brain and more to do with healing her own heart, Della must learn that love means accepting her mama just as she is.
By Tae Keller (J Kell)
How do you grow a miracle? For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific method. But Natalie's botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that's important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope.
Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.
Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She's going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids--flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. Because when parents are breakable, it's up to kids to save them, right?
By Mary E. Lambert (J Lamb)
Seventh-grader Annabelle's mother is a hoarder, and their whole house is full of canned goods, broken toys, fabric, and old newspapers--but when a pile of newspapers (organized by weather reports) falls on Annabelle's younger sister Leslie and their mother is more concerned about the newspapers, it sets off a chain of events that brings their fix-it-all grandmother in and Annabelle realizes that if there is any hope for change she cannot isolate herself and keep her family's problems secret.
By Mike Lupica (J Lupi, CD J Lupi)
In Annapolis, Maryland, seventh-grader Wes is a good teammate but this basketball season has been challenging because of his ball hog teammate Dinero, who is determined to steal the spotlight, and Wes's army veteran father who is suffering from PTSD.
By Barbara Dee (J Dee)
Misfit Tally is forced to room with queen bee Ava on the seventh grade's extended field trip to Washington, D.C., and discovers several surprising things about her roommate, including the possibility of an eating disorder.
By Lauren Abbey Greenberg (J Gree)
Twelve-year-old Shayne looks forward to spending her summers with her grandmother, but she is disappointed when her best friend is more interested in boys than making bracelets and her grandmother's hobby has become a hoarding problem.