Happy (Belated) Mental Health Awareness Month!
If you are looking to learn more about mental health this month, a great way to do so is by reading graphic novels. Yes, you read that right, graphic novels are a great resource for learning about mental health. Personally, I have found graphic novels to be an easier and more enjoyable way to learn about mental health than by reading from one of the numerous other books about mental health (which can sometimes tend to be quite bland and wordy). This is not to say other books about mental health cannot also be powerful and offer plethora of knowledge on psychology, but graphic novels just have something other books don’t tend to have. Graphic novels have art and are able to communicate aspects of mental health that words just can’t quite describe.
In honor of this special month, and as ways to help beat the always present stigma on metal disorders, I have compiled a list of graphic novels in the Campus Library that can help inform you on mental health.
If you have little knowledge of mental disorders or would just like an introduction to the vast array of them, than Psychiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham would be a great book for you to check out. In this graphic novel Cunningham utilizes his knowledge from his previous years working in a psychiatric ward to discusses several mental illness in short chapter like sections. Some of the illnesses discussed in this book include schizophrenia, depression, and antisocial personality disorder.
Marbles is a fantastic graphic memoir (and a personal favorite of mine) about bipolar disorder. This book follows fellow Seattle artist Ellen Forney after her diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Throughout this book we go through through the ups and downs of Forney’s illness, and see the frustrating battle she has trying to reach a state of balance. The art in this graphic novel is absolutely wonderful, and this book includes a plethora of knowledge on bipolar disorder. I could go on and on about how great this book is, but I will spare you. Ultimately you should just pick this book up if you have not yet read it.
If you enjoy the movie Inside Out or would like to learn more about how the brain generally works, then you might want to check out Neurocomic by Hana Roš and Matteo Farinella. Neurocomic is an illustrated guide to how the brain works and includes topics such as neurons and memory function. This book is sure to fill your noggin with a plethora of brainy knowledge.
There are not many graphic novels out there about autism, let alone about a parent with autism, but the graphic novel Something Different About Dad by Kristi Evans and John Swogger discusses this not so talked about topic. This book shows what it is like to grow up with a parent with Asperger’s Syndrome, and how having a parent with Asperger’s affects a family.
If you are looking to learn more about the deadliest mental illness than the graphic memoir Lighter Than My Shadow, by Katie Green, would be a great resource for you . Lighter than My Shadow discusses Katie Green’s struggle and recovery from an eating disorder. This book follows Green throughout her childhood and shows the evolution of her eating disorder, and the symptoms of it that came from an early age.
The graphic memoir Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh manages to do the paradoxical by making a book that deals with depression humorous. With the humor in this book, inclusion of dogs, and array of technicolor language Brosh makes learning about depression a little bit easier and more enjoyable.
Tangles is a graphic memoir by Sarah Leavitt about her experience losing her mother to Alzheimer’s disease. This book follows the six years of Levitt’s mother’s Alzheimers disease, and documents the transformation this illness has on Leavitt and her family. This book is full of emotion, and can help to offer insight into such a detrimental disease.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a fly on the wall in a therapy session, or just wanted to know more about therapy? Well you are in luck because Coach Fiction by Philippa Perry can help answer those questions for you. Unlike many of the other graphic novels listed here, Coach Fiction is a tale of mental illness that includes a therapist’s perspective and is written by an actual therapist. This book follows imperfect therapist Pat through her therapy sessions with her client. Overall, this book shows a lot of the process of therapy and is very informative.