Mental health is a topic that is finally receiving the attention it deserves with more people talking about it. It’s an area that is becoming more present in people’s lives whether it be directly or indirectly, and this has seen a rise in literature representing it within their pages.
Since there are many books featuring mental health, we’ve narrowed it down to some young adult books which feature different types of mental health, including depression and anxiety, as well as ones which appear to be not as common in books. These books are just another way to spread awareness about mental health, and especially to make others feel not so alone in the world.
Do you know of a YA book that features mental health? Tell us in the comments below!
A Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles | Goodreads
Features Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is typically triggered after experiencing or seeing a horrific event.
Synopsis: These are the things Lux knows: She is an Artist. She is lucky. She is broken. These are the things she doesn’t know: What happened over the summer. Why she ended up in hospital. Why her memories are etched in red.
Category: Young Adult, Romance, Mystery
By Your Side by Kasie West | Goodreads
Features anxiety, which becomes apparent when you are stressed or worried and these feelings do not go away after the situation.
Synopsis: When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.
Category: Romance, Young Adult
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia | Goodreads
Features schizophrenia, which is a combination of triggers but it causes the schizophrenic to experience symptoms such as feeling out of touch with reality or disorganised speech and behaviour.
Synopsis: Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman | Goodreads
This title also features schizophrenia, which is a combination of triggers but it causes the schizophrenic to experience symptoms such as feeling out of touch with reality or disorganised speech and behaviour.
Synopsis: Caden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench. Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior. Caden Bosch is designated the ship’s artist in residence, to document the journey with images. Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head. Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny. Caden Bosch is torn.
Category: Romance, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
I Was Here by Gayle Forman | Goodreads
Features depression, which is most commonly described as feeling sad and low for long periods of time, mostly more than 2 weeks.
Synopsis: When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
Category: Contemporary, Young Adult
Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother’s Love by Zack McDermott | Goodreads
Features bipolar disorder, which can be triggered through many different experiences and places or genetics. It can cause the person to lose touch with reality or have high levels of energy, which are only a few of many symptoms.
Synopsis: The story of Zack’s freefall into psychosis and his desperate, poignant, often darkly funny struggle to claw his way back to sanity, regain his identity, and rebuild some semblance of a stable life. 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.
Category: Autobiography, Nonfiction, Memoir
Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley | Goodreads
Agoraphobia is known as the fear of being out in the open or public.
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him. Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?
Enter Lisa. Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same.
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
NOTE: Descriptions of mental illnesses have been simplified. If you would like to find more information and details about mental health, please search for a mental health organisation within your country or visit Australia’s HeadSpace, a mental health organisation for young people.