Mental Health in Fiction

If you were unaware, today is actually World Mental Health Day. Piggy-backing on last weeks “Mental Illness Awareness Week”, World Mental Health Day’s purpose is to raise awareness of the many different types of mental illness’s around the world. The more awareness that is raised and the more informed people are, the better chance there is at de-stigmatizing mental illness. Before I get to the books, I wanted to share some numbers regarding mental health (all mentioned stats were found on the NAMI website):

  • ~ 1 in 5  US adults will experience mental illness in a given year
  • There is a broad spectrum of different mental illness’s such as, depression, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, psychosis and so many more.
  • ~ 1 in 25 US adults has a mental illness that severely impairs their normal, day to day functioning
  • ~ 1 in 40 US adults are living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and ~ 1 in 20 US children (up to age 18) are living with OCD
  • 6.9% of US adults experienced a major-depressive episode in the past year (16 million people!!!)

To my readers, please remember… it is okay to not be okay. Hopefully by raising awareness about mental health, more people will feel that they are not alone in their battle and getting help is always an option, whether it’s going to your primary doctor, seeing a therapist or just talking things out with a friend.

Now, on to the books! I have compiled a list of books in which one or more of the main characters deal with mental health issues. The chosen novels are ones that I feel gives a real and accurate depiction of what it is like to struggle with these issues.

Under Rose Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall- Agoraphobia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

When We Collided by Emery Lord- Bipolar Disorder

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone- OCD

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow- Depression and self-harm

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson- Eating Disorders

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia- Schizophrenia


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