mental health and YA

“i think what i've realized is, life is all about climbing up, slipping down, and picking yourself up again. and it doesn't matter if you slip down. as long as you're kind of heading more or less upwards. that's all you can hope for. more or less upwards.”- finding audrey by sophie kinsella
we all know that representation in media is important - whether it's seeing someone of the same race as you starring as the main character in a movie, or reading a book about someone with the same gender identity/sexual orientation as you. whatever it may be, representation is always important.

but what about mental health in YA?

it's all too common for teenagers with mental illnesses to be told things like:
  • you're being dramatic. all teenagers have mood swings.
  • you're saying/acting like this for attention.
  • you're fine.
i've heard from too many people my age that their parents have told them this. i'm actually really lucky that my mother has always been understanding of my mental illnesses, because she has them, too. it's still too easy to feel out of place in the world, though.

and that's where YA comes in. at least, for me. it's seeing that there can be stories about people like me. these stories don't always revolve around their illnesses, but when they do, it's okay. it's nice to be able to relate to something, and see myself in a character.

i haven't read too many books on depression that have handled the subject well, unfortunately, but i do have these books above that are worth mentioning! finding audrey and the nature of jade are centered around girls with really bad anxiety, and say what you will features a main character with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

do any of you have book suggestions where the characters have mental illnesses? what do you think of YA books focusing on mental health?

drop me a comment below!

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