May is Mental Health Month. 1 in 5 people will experience some form of mental illness during their lifetime and unfortunately, mental health still has stigma associated with it. Through open dialogues, awareness and compassion we can all do our part to help overcome these stigmas and make sure ourselves, friends, family, loved ones and neighbors receive care when they need it most.
The good thing is that there are plenty of reliable resources, from the Library and elsewhere, that can help educate. Please note that these resources should not be used in place of professional help. If you or someone you know requires mental health assistance please seek out attention from a qualified professional or utilize resources from the National Alliance on Mental Illness to find out where you can get help.
Books on Mental Health Issues
Author Matt Haig suffers from depression and is publicly frank and honest about his struggle. “Reasons to Stay Alive” is his inspiring account how minute by minute and day by day he overcame the disease with the help of reading, writing and support from his parents and wife. Most significantly, this is a short and easy to read book meant for anybody who might need a dose of hope.
“Mister Miracle” by Tom King and Mitch Gerads
You might be wondering why a superhero comic is on this list, but this rendition of “Mister Miracle” was born out of writer Tom King’s own personal panic attack suffered while out to dinner with his family. What he and artist Mitch Gerads deliver is a take on the anxieties and maladies almost anybody can suffer in contemporary life: post-traumatic stress, dealing with parenthood, coping with family issues and more. Still not convinced that reading comics has anything to do with mental health? Check out information on graphic medicine – the use of comics to tell stories of illness and health – from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
One of the worst parts about anxiety is that it sometimes can be hard to tell what is a normal, occasional worry versus the anxious feeling that can come on without reason. Coping with anxiety isn’t necessarily something that goes away, and in “On Edge” Petersen details how she has managed her own anxiety, as well as the history and science behind anxiety.
You should always seek out professional help if you or someone you know is dealing with a mental health concern. For those seeking general knowledge, here are some free and reliable information sources:
Mental Health Information Resources
From the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, healthfinder.gov provides reliable resources on a wide variety of health topics from government and non-profit organizations. Of interest to those researching mental health might be articles on how to talk to your doctor about depression, tips on stress management and where to find a mental health provider.
This website provides information on how to get help and other useful information, like what to do if you are a parent or caregiver working with somebody who is struggling with their mental health.
As a librarian, it’s my job to help people get accurate and reliable information when they ask a question. When it comes to medical information, I always advise that librarians are not medical professionals and sometimes questions have to be answered by a doctor. But when you need a general answer to a medical-related question, a great place to turn to is MedlinePlus from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It provides information on drugs, herbs and supplements, online health check tools and more.
Note: Library resources are not meant to be used in place of professional help. If you or someone you know requires mental health assistance, please seek out attention from a qualified professional or utilize HelpLine resources from the National Alliance on Mental Illness to find out where you can get help.
Featured Image Credit: “Let’s talk about mental health” by The People Speak! is licensed by CC BY 2.0