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

Memoirs About Moms

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Mother’s Day is just around the corner and the library has some great reads for the occasion. Check out one of these memoirs about mothers, written by their children:

Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou – The celebrated author shares the intimate story of her relationship with her mother, relating the events that prompted her mother to send young Angela to Arkansas to live with her grandmother and the complicated fallout that shaped their family life.

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel – Depicts the author’s mother as a voracious reader, music lover, and passionate amateur actress who quietly suffers as the wife of a closeted gay artist and withdraws from her young daughter, who searches for answers to the separation later in life.

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe – Recounts how the author and his mother read and discussed books during her chemotherapy treatments, describing how the activity involved a wide range of literary genres, furthered their appreciation for literature, and strengthened their bond.

I’m Supposed to Protect You From All This by Nadja Spiegelman – The daughter of Maus creator Art Spiegelman and New Yorker art director Francoise Mouly describes the coming-of-age discovery of her mother’s complicated childhood, her investigation into four generations of family women and her own efforts to reinvent herself.

Unforgettable by Scott Simon – A moving meditation on the NPR host’s relationship with his mother, inspired by the popular tweets he shared during her final days, traces their shared love of family while profiling his mother’s work as a dedicated single parent.

Mother, Daughter, Me by Katie Hafner – Documents the author’s efforts to promote family bonds and healing during a haphazard year spent sharing a home in San Francisco with her complicated octogenarian mother and teenage daughter.

Hey Mom by Louie Anderson – The actor and stand-up comedian presents a loving tribute to his late mother that shares the wisdom he gleaned from her throughout his life, his ongoing struggles with food and dysfunctional home dynamics, and how he learned to laugh at the absurdities that shaped their family.

The Lives Our Mothers Leave Us by Patti Davis – A collection of stories from prominent women such as Angelica Huston, Lily Tomlin, Whoopie Goldberg, and more, all about their complex, humorous, and ultimately loving relationships with their mothers.

Celebrity Memoirs

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Have you ever wondered what kind of life lessons you could learn from a famous person? Try one of these celebrity memoirs available in the JMRL catalog:

We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union – A powerful collection of essays on gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood and the realities of modern women also includes the author’s wrenching experiences as a survivor of sexual assault, in a volume that seeks to raise awareness about the needs of victims of sexual violence.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – The host of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” traces his wild coming of age during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed, offering insight into the farcical aspects of the political and social systems of today’s world.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick – A collection of whimsical autobiographical essays by the actress and star of “Up in the Air” recounts memorable milestones, from her New England upbringing to the blockbuster films that have made her one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses.

Nevertheless by Alec Baldwin – The actor highlights parts of his life that he’s long kept private, from his troubled childhood and efforts to make it as a young actor to his struggles with addiction and his failings as a husband and parent.

This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe – The star of “Precious” and “Empire” shares details about her childhood with a polygamous father in Harlem, her gifted mother who supported them by singing in the subway, and her own unconventional rise to fame.

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart – The actor and comedian presents a memoir on the importance of believing in oneself, sharing stories about the addiction and abuse that marked his childhood and how his unique way of looking at the world enabled his survival and successful career.

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer – A collection of personal essays by the comedienne reflects on her raucous childhood antics, her hard-won rise in the entertainment industry, and her struggles to maintain the courage to approach the world in unstintingly honest ways.

Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions by Russel Brand – The British comedian and radio host shares the story of his personal struggles with addictions ranging from drugs and alcohol to food and fame, offering compassionate advice about the programs that most helped him.

The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines – The husband-and-wife stars of the popular “Fixer Upper” television program share the story of their life together, from how they met in Waco, Texas to their success as entrepreneurs and television personalities.