Be the expert: Years ago in an effort to create an assignment for a high school psychology class, I did a lot of reading on mental illness and abnormal psych. Here are a few of my favorite titles that I thought were especially helpful for teen readers as they were exploring mental illness/abnormal psych topics in their classes:
- The Day the Voices Stopped by Ken Steele, (2002)--- For thirty-two years Steele fought the voices in his head which commanded him to kill himself. None of the drugs he tried helped him until finally a doctor was able to find a combination which turned off the voices. Steele then goes on to live a life of advocacy for those haunted by mental illnesses. This book really turned my thinking around about the horrors of untreated mental illness.
- An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison (1997)---Jamison is a psychologist who also lives with manic-depression (her preferred term for the disorder.) She is very insightful in her descriptions of what it is like to give up the manic periods in order to avoid the depressive ones. Now twenty years old, I am sure there are updated books on this topic that would provide more information on current treatments.
- All the Things We Never Knew: Chasing the Chaos of Mental Illness by Sheila Hamilton (2015)---Hamilton's husband killed himself six months after his diagnosis with bi-polar disorder. This book takes a look at mental illness through the eyes of a loved one.
- Sickened: A True Story of a Lost Childhood by Julie Gregory (2004)---Gregory's mother subjected her to years and years of medical exams, surgeries, treatments not because Julie was sick but because the mother was mentally ill. Munchausen syndrome is considered to be a rare, often deadly, form of child abuse.
- Passing for Normal: a Memoir of Compulsion by Amy Wilensky (2000): Wilensky not only gives insight of what it is like to live with OCD but also Tourette's Syndrome. I found this book very helpful in my thinking about both these conditions.
- Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (2017) and The Unlikely Hero of Room 13-B by Teresa Toten (2015) are two fiction books which are very good about what it is like to live with OCD and how the treatments don't always work.
Ask an expert: as you see, many of these titles are getting dated. Can you suggest any books on mental illness, appropriate for teen readers published in the last five years or so?