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Mental Health in Children's and Young Adult Literature

This guide provides book lists of youth titles addressing anxiety, autism, depression, eating disorders, grief, learning differences, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, substance abuse & addiction, and general feelings awareness.

About Substance Use & Addiction

Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. Many times people that struggle with addiction also have a mental illness. Dual diagnosis is a term for when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance abuse problem simultaneously. Either substance abuse or mental illness can develop first. A person experiencing a mental health condition may turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication to improve the troubling mental health symptoms they experience, or abusing substances can lead to mental health problems because of the effects drugs have on a person’s moods, thoughts, brain chemistry and behavior.

- National Alliance on Mental Illness & Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Nonfiction & Informational Books

Picture Books

Early Readers

Books for Tweens

Books for Teens