8 Enlightening and Empathetic YA Novels About Mental Illness

by Dena McMurdie

I grew up in a time and place where mental illness was neither understood nor openly discussed. When social anxiety and depression blindsided me in the fifth grade, my parents and I didn’t know how to deal with it. However, a few things pulled me through — my family, my faith, two stalwart friends, and books. Lots and lots of books.

Reading allowed me to escape, but it also showed me that I wasn’t alone in my struggle. I didn’t know it then, but 20% of American youth are affected by some form of mental illness in their lifetime.

Books can bring comfort to those suffering from mental illness and increase awareness among family, friends, and peers. If you’re looking for books to help a teen who’s struggling or to increase your own understanding of mental health issues, these books can get you started.

Have you read any moving books about mental illness? Share them with us in the comments below.


Click here to find resources and support for those struggling with mental illness.