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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.

Mental Health in Children's and Young Adult Literature

Mental health conditions and disorders affect a variety of individuals within the United States, including children and teens. As of 2015, 43.4 million adults were coping with a mental illness within the past year, and one out of every five children were living with a mental health concern. Therefore, it is likely that at some point or another most children and teens will be exposed to an individual with a mental illness, if not personally impacted. Childhood and adolescence is not an uncommon period for symptoms of a mental illness to begin appearing for the first time (NIMH).

Talking about mental health can be overwhelming and at times, parents or educators may not know where to begin. Literature can be an excellent tool for getting the conversation started or relating to children and young adults affected by mental illness. This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive list of books organized by age level that address topics of mental illness. Some of the books are nonfiction and informational, some have characters that are coping with a mental illness themselves, and others have characters with a family member, friend, or other loved one with a mental illness. On each page of this guide you will find a brief description of the mental illness along with more resources relevant to the topic. We do not have all of these books at UNI. If you see that a book is Not in our collection, you may be able to obtain it through Interlibrary Loan, or by following the link provided for the specific book, you can determine the nearest library with the book in their collection.

Guide Details

This LibGuide was created in Spring 2017 by the Youth Collection Graduate Assistant, Erin Borchardt. Erin was a Master of Social Work student with a special interest in children's mental health and the school setting.