Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. One in five Americans is affected by mental health conditions. During Mental Health Awareness Month, people are encouraged to expand their understanding of mental illness. It’s also a time to try to increase access to treatment and let those who are struggling know that they are not alone.

This year’s awareness theme is Fitness #4Mind4Body. The theme reminds people that mental health is affected by nutrition, sleep, stress, gut health, and exercise. Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being. Living a healthy lifestyle may not always be easy, but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes.

Here are a few books- both fiction and nonfiction- that center on mental health:

lawsonFuriously Happy by Jenny Lawson- The author discusses how her severe depression has led her to lead her fullest life. This book is about mental illness, but is also about seeing joy in new ways.

 


crazyCrazy: A Father’s Search through America’s Mental Health Madness by Pete Earley- 
Pete Earley has written about the criminal justice system while as a reporter with the Washington Post. But it was only when his own son, in the throes of a manic episode, broke into a neighbor’s house that he learned what happens to mentally ill people who break a law.

centercannotholdThe Center Cannot Hold by Elyn Saks- Elyn Saks is a professor, lawyer, and psychiatrist- she has also suffered from schizophrenia for most of her life. Saks discusses her paranoia in this beautiful memoir.

 

hyperboleHyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh- In this graphic novel the author, who also has an award-winning blog, talks about her ongoing depression in a series of hilarious stories.

 

belljarThe Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath- Esther Greenwood, a talented writer, becomes mentally unstable during a summer spent interning at a magazine in New York City. She is tormented by both the death of her father and the feeling that she simply does not fit into the culturally acceptable role of womanhood in this harrowing novel.

the_silver_linings_playbook_coverThe Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick- Pat Peoples is a former history teacher who has moved back to his childhood home in New Jersey, after spending time in a psychiatric hospital. Pat thinks he has been away only a few months, but soon realizes it has really been years, and he struggles to piece together his lost memories and what has become of his wife, Nikki.

 

For more information about Mental Health see these websites:
Mental Health America
National Alliance on Mental Illness

For local information:
Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition
The Women’s Initiative
Partner for Mental Health

Digital Inclusion Week 2018

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What is digital inclusion?

Digital inclusion refers to the activities necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, have access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Five elements of digital inclusion:

  1. Affordable, robust broadband internet service
  2. Internet-enabled devices that meet users’ needs
  3. Access to digital literacy training
  4. Quality technical support
  5. Apps and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation and collaboration

What resources are available at JMRL?

  • Computers and WiFi for public use in every branch
  • WiFi hotspots to checkout
  • Equipment to scan or digitize personal materials
  • Downloadable ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines
  • Database resources
  • Chromebooks for use in the Central Library
  • Free computer tutorials at every branch

Want to build your skills?

Contact your local branch to find out about workshops or to set up a one-on-one tutorial. Visit JMRL’s website to browse a calendar of events. Special events happening this week are:

Apple Basics – Northside Library, 5/7, 2pm

Tech Open House – Central Library, 5/7, 3-5pm

Creating a Digital Brand – Central Library, 5/7, 6:30pm

Tech Open House – Central Library, 5/8, 2-4pm

3D Printing 101 – Northside Library, 5/8, 6:30pm

Tech Open House – Central Library, 5/9, 5-7pm

Tech Open House – Central Library, 5/10, 3-5pm

Tech Open House* – Central Library, 5/11, 11am-1pm

To build your skills on your own, try one of these websites: *digitallearn.org or gcflearnfree.org

“So I wondered what was different about us-”

hillbilly elegyThe Brown Baggers met on April 19th and discussed J.D. Vance’s bestseller Hillbilly Elegy. Hillbilly Elegy is a memoir of Vance’s time growing up in Ohio and how Appalachia shaped his life.

The Brown Baggers had mixed feelings about the memoir. Many readers thought the book was depressing and hopeless, while others enjoyed the story and how Vance overcame poverty. However, all agreed that the story was interesting.

Most readers thought that the strongest characters in the book were the women in Vance’s life. Readers especially liked Vance’s grandmother, Mamaw, and how she raised Vance when his mother was not able to. Mamaw was extremely loyal to her family and she was the one who encouraged Vance to go to college and pursue higher education. Vance’s sister and aunt were also bright and capable women who helped Vance throughout his life.

Readers had a few criticisms of the book- mainly that some of Vance’s stories and claims seemed exaggerated and even far-fetched. Others found it odd that Vance had no trouble moving in various social circles and never seemed to struggle to fit in. Several readers also pointed out that Vance lumped all of the inhabitants of Appalachia into one group, when in actuality, the Appalachian population is diverse in terms of both race and economics. And, some thought that Vance might not be the best person to speak for an entire group. Some mentioned that Vance even seemed to resent his neighbors.

It was pointed out that Vance did not technically live in Appalachia, but rather a few counties over from the Appalachia border. However, the culture is what was important, not the where he actually lived, some readers noted.

There were some positive values of the Appalachian culture mentioned in Vance’s book- mainly Vance’s family, especially his grandmother and sister. These women were always there for Vance and helped him to succeed. There was also the support structure that enabled Vance to step out of poverty, along with a fierce loyalty to family, and love for the country.

Titles Mentioned:
Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah
What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
Gray Mountain by John Grisham
Ramp Hollow by Steven Stroll

More Information:
Review from the New York Times
Review from the Los Angeles Review of Books
Article from the Oxford University Press
Article from the Washington Post

The Brown Baggers will meet again on May 17 at 12pm to discuss The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu.