Mental Health Awareness Week Reads

The Canadian Mental Health Association’s 67th annual Mental Health Awareness week is from May seventh until the thirteenth. It’s a national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness and we’re here to encourage the discourse around mental health. To kick-start the conversation, here are some books that touch on different facets of mental health.

1. Everybody’s Different on Everybody Street by Sheree Fitch and Illustrated by Emma FitzGerald
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Sheree Fitch’s playful words lead you into this beautiful children’s book and invite you to celebrate our gifts, our weaknesses, our differences, and our sameness. Fitch displays her wit and mastery of words in quick, rollicking rhymes that are complemented by Emma Fitzgerald’s lively illustrations.

EveryBody’s Different on EveryBody Street was originally produced in 2001 as a fundraiser to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Festival of Trees in support of the Nova Scotia Hospital and to raise awareness for mental illness and addiction.

2. Girl on the Run by B.R. Myers
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In the midst of fending off four twelve-year-old boys who are hell-bent on mortifying her and a growing attraction to Kirk, Jesse finds the inspiration to run again from an unlikely source. After all, a good pair of legs can take a girl far, but it’s facing the truth that makes all the difference.

3. Disposable Souls by Phonse Jessome
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Disposable Souls is a coping mechanism used by the author himself, whose many years as a journalist have left him to survive and thrive with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

4. Kin by Lesley Crewe
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Kin follows the lives of women finding themselves, fighting for their loved ones, and maintaining the fragile balance between happy and sad. The loss of a daughter is devastating for an already-frail mother and leads her on a downward spiral, challenging her and everyone who’s ever loved her, to fight to bring her back to the surface.

5. Better Off Dead by Fred Doucette
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Better Off Dead chronicles Fred’s efforts in helping to rehabilitate and support soldiers and veterans suffering from what the military terms “operational stress injuries.” We meet Ted, saved from a suicide attempt by a timely phone call; Bob, at wit’s end and reluctantly seeking help to overcome severe PTSD; Roger, caught in a cycle of violence and drug and alcohol abuse; and Jane, diagnosed with PTSD after having been sexually assaulted while on a tour of duty in Afghanistan. These accounts are raw, desperate, and often angry, but as Doucette shows, there is hope and real progress for those able to obtain proper diagnosis and treatment.