On March 8, I was part of a panel that presented a webinar on Mental Health Representation In Young Adult Literature for the International Bipolar Foundation. Together with author Karen Fortunati, psychiatrist Dr. Frank Fortunati, and librarian Jaina Shaw, we talked about teen mental health statistics and why seeing compassionate and accurate representations of mental health issues in young adult books is so important. Our webinar has now been archived, so if you have a spare hour, and have anything at all to do with teenagers, you may want to check it out.
Mental health depiction in YA is one of my main interests and I never get tired of talking about it. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, here are a few things I’ve worked on that you can check out:
- I presented on the importance of stories helping remove stigma, shame, and silence at NerdCon: Stories last year. Minneapolis station KARE 11 interviewed me about it.
- Since 2016, we at Teen Librarian Toolbox have been running a Mental Health in YA Literature project (#MHYALit). This link will take you to the hub for our project, which so far has had well over 100 guest posts from authors, bloggers, librarians, and other teen advocates, often about our own mental health struggles and successes. Some of the more personal pieces I wrote are:
#MHYALit: Anxiety Disorder, My Son, and Me
Sunday Reflections: Mental health medications are not your enemy
#MHYALit: Talking about mental health-related books and issues with teens
#MHYALit Sunday Reflections: The hard work of getting help and getting better
- If you’re in Minnesota, you can come on May 6 to Teen Lit Con at Henry Sibley High School, 1897 Delaware Ave, Mendota Heights, MN. I will be presenting a breakout session, It’s Okay to Not be Okay: Mental Health in YA Lit, from 12-12:45. More information here.