Hey — can we talk about mental health for a minute?
2020… I mean that’s all we have to say really. Statistics have shown the radical challenges to our personal and collective mental health in the past year and change:
- “A quarter of college students have mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and alcohol use disorder.” (Psychological Services, 2020)
- “Mental health and substance use disorders affect 13% of the world's population.” (Psychological Services, Aug 4, 2020)
- “Mental health conditions are common, impacting 1 in 5 adults – nearly 47 million Americans.” ( American Psychiatric Association, 2020)
We're still barely emerging from a global pandemic with intense COVID-19 anxiety, sickness, and the aftermath of those who survived and who did not. There has been a sort-of revolution in opening up the conversation to those struggling with depression, anxiety, or those who are neurodivergent. Those are the ones struggling more than ever with the shut downs, essential work, lack of social meetings, and of course, fear of the coronavirus.
There has been a trend emerging among those who struggling or those who know someone struggling: talking about it without shame, degradation, or fear. Most noticeable in younger generations, there has been a new sunrise on mental health conversation. No two brains are exactly the same. We must confront the emotions that the world has placed us collectively in. Acceptance, understanding, and support for mental health struggles seems to be more and more necessary every day.
Bottom line, your feelings are valid and they deserve to be heard. It is fully acceptable to have the trauma of the world seep in, your feelings are totally understandable and there is nothing wrong with you. People are here to understand and support you.
Personally, I have always turned to books as a way to dig myself out of particularly difficult moments. For example, On a Scale of One to Ten, feels very close to my heart. The story highlights a young girl being adopted and raised in New York… Just like one of your librarians. I can’t speak enough on how seen and understood this book made me feel.
Stories about mental health can be very important for children, teens, and adults. Here are several titles and wonderful resources for youth that can help start effective conversations:
Title: On a Scale of One to Ten (2019)
Author: Ceylan Scott
Ages 15 to 17
Here’s a link to the I read YA blog: https://ireadyabooks.tumblr.com/post/184252252635/on-a-scale-of-one-to-ten-excerpt
Title: Keys to the City (2017)
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Ages 9 to 12
Title: Sparrow (2019
Author: Sarah Moon
Link: Sparrow (scholastic.com)
Title: Hey, Kiddo (2018) (National Book Award Finalist)
Author: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Ages 7 to 9
Title: The Very Cranky Bear (2014)
Author: Nick Bland
Ages 3 to 5
Title: When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry… (2004)
Author: Molly Bang
Ages 4 to 6
Title: First Aid for Feelings: A Workbook to Help Kids Cope During the Coronavirus Pandemic (2020)
Author: Denise Daniels, RN, MS
Link to free download: FirstAidForFeelings_Eng.pdf (scholastic.com)
There you have it. Remember, you are not alone, or wrong, you are supported. If you are interested on learning about other options for mental health resources for children, teens, and adults, please reach out to the Scholastic Library at Library@scholastic.com.
We’re here to help and support.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: The NAMI Helpline can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET. 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=home
- Internet Mental Health http://mentalhealth.com/home/
- National Institute of Mental Health www.nimh.nih.gov/
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America www.adaa.org
By Chelsea Fritz