Library Blog

Mental Health in YA Lit

teen sitting against the wall

Mental health and mental illness are no longer the taboo subjects they once were.  In fact, open discussion about mental health and illness is encouraged now more than ever.   YA authors are writing about mental health and teens with mental illness in honest and open ways.  Whether you have your own experience with mental health topics or are trying to better understand mental health, there’s likely a book here for you. 


The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten 

Adam is smitten with Robyn the minute he meets her in his Young Adult OCD Support Group.  And he knows that he has to save her.  Robyn is just out of a residential psychiatric facility that Adam and his friends are trying very hard to not be admitted to.  And his fellow group members have all chosen superhero names.  So this all must mean that Adam has to save Robyn, right?  But with his home life and his OCD growing harder to control every day, is Robyn really the one who needs saving?  Available as an e-book and e-audiobook on Overdrive. 


Turtles All the Way Down by John Green 

Aza spends most of her life trying.  She tries to be a good friend, a good daughter, a good student.  She tries to keep her anxiety from affecting any of these roles.  And then her best friend decides they need to be good detectives.  But what does Aza know about missing billionaires?  When her childhood friend Davis turns up to help them solve the mystery of his dad, Aza begins to wonder if it’s all too much as she struggles with the spiral of thoughts in her mind.  Available as an e-book and e-audiobook on Overdrive.  


Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman 

Caden is torn between two worlds.  There’s the real world, where Caden goes to high school, pretends to join the track team, and has friends who are growing increasingly worried about his behavior.  Then there’s the world where Caden is part of an expedition to explore the deepest part of the Mariana Trench and is contemplating mutiny.  Will Caden sacrifice this world to receive treatment for his schizophrenia, or will he leave the real world behind?  Available as an e-book and e-audiobook on Overdrive and as an e-book on Hoopla. 


Someone to Love by Melissa de la Cruz 

Liv has an image to maintain.  She must keep the perfect boyfriend and surround herself with the perfect friends in order to maintain the image of the perfect daughter in the perfect family of the perfect political candidate.  But how far is she willing to go for perfection?  It’s not long before Liv tries to hide her bulimia and self-harming from everyone.  And then she finds support in the most unexpected person, who teaches her that she needs to love herself before loving others.  Available as an e-book and e-audiobook on Overdrive and as an e-book on Hoopla. 


Happy reading! 




Sarah is a youth services librarian in Canfield. She pretty much only reads YA books, but she is easily distracted by a good picture book or anything Doctor Who related. Sarah loves to crochet and knit and can usually be found with a pile of yarn in her lap with one of her three dogs nearby. Originally from Texas, she still says “y’all” all the time and refuses to call carbonated beverages “pop.”