mental health awareness week

If you’ve been on Twitter at all this week, you’ve probably seen that it has been 2016’s Mental Health Awareness Week. There’s been a lot of really great stuff – I’ve seen a lot of very sincere conversations and encouragements, which have been so inspiring. A lot of my friends and colleagues have mental ill health, and I’ve had my fair share of anxiety and low mood, so I really think that the positivity and lack of stigma about mental health in 2016 has been absolutely fantastic.

Simply being open about how you’re really feeling can take a huge weight off your mind – some resources I would particularly recommend are MIND and IAPT. (If you’re reading this and you know of some other really great organisations or resources, please do leave a comment. It’s such important information – you never know who may be suffering in silence.) I found it really interesting that this year’s Awareness Week focused on relationships – these resources aren’t only vital for those with mental health problems, but also for the people supporting them. It is tough. These might be able to help.

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Here’s a quick list of some of the books that I’ve been recommended this week:

  1. Straight Jacket: How to Be Gay and Happy by Matthew Todd
  2. Panther by David Owen
  3. The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith
  4. Hyperbole and a Half by Ally Brosh
  5. Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

I’m definitely getting around to some of these! I’ve never made a concentrated effort to read more books about mental health, so I think I’ll be adding that to my general effort to read more translations and debuts. All I need now is a translated debut about mental health…

I’m also really loving the push to include mental health issues in YA fiction in particular: from Looking for Alaska to Am I Normal Yet?, young adults really do have a great selection of novels about mental health.Whenever I used to think of portrayals of mental ill health, I thought of novels such as The Bell Jar and Mrs Dalloway, but I’m hoping that with the increased discussion and de-stigmatisation of these issues, more (positive!) portrayals are on the horizon. I’ll definitely be on the look-out for them, anyway…

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