What Is Mental Health?

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

In collaboration with the Douglas Center and MCC, here are titles to help start the conversation on and provide an introduction to mental health.

  • Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry

    2003 by Campbell, Bebe Moore

    A little girl copes with her mother's mental illness with the help of her grandmother and friends. Grades preschool-2. Suggested by Amy.

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  • Perfectly Imperfect Stories: Meet 28 Inspiring People and Discover Their Mental Health Stories

    2021 by Potion, Leo

    This colorful, slim book shares brief biographies of 28 people who share at least one thing in common: experience with mental illness. The stories of these real people--many of them contemporary celebrities--can help to portray mental illness as a common human experience rather than something secret or shameful. Grades 3-8. Suggested by Amy.

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  • Beneath the Surface: A Teen's Guide to Reaching Out When You or Your Friend Is in Crisis

    2019 by Hugstad, Kristi

    Teens often have a sense if their friend or family member is struggling with something, but they may not know how to respond or reach out. This straightforward guide equips teens with concrete strategies to support their peers in a number of mental health situations, from self-harm to anxiety to substance abuse. Suggested by Amy.

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  • (Don't) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health


    The first step to removing the stigma surrounding mental health is to talk about it openly and widely. This is a great anthology with a wide range of experiences from people from a vast array of backgrounds. For teens and adults. Suggested by Becca.

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  • Are U Ok?

    2018 by Morton, Kati

    Kati Morton, a licensed family and marriage therapist and YouTube personality, provides a guide to the most common questions about mental health and the process of getting help--from finding the best therapist to navigating harmful and toxic relationships and everything in between. Library Journal raves and calls it "an exemplary guide for anyone wondering if they or someone close to them may benefit from mental health therapy." Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Permission to Come Home: Reclaiming Mental Health as Asian Americans

    2022 by Wang, Jenny T.

    Clinical psychologist Wang has written a timely, accessible, and well researched guide that encompasses her own personal narrative as a Taiwanese American and insights as a clinician. Using evidence-based tools, she offers readers permission to embrace their mental and emotional self-care while understanding and honoring the richness of their heritage. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health: Navigate an Unequal System, Learn Tools for Emotional Wellness, and Get the Help You Deserve

    2020 by Walker, Rheeda

    Psychologist Rheeda Walker offers a comprehensive guide to help the Black community combat stigma, increase awareness around mental illness, practice emotional wellness, and get the best care possible in an unequal system. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing

    2021 by Perry, Bruce Duncan

    Bruce Perry, MD, relays the science behind childhood trauma while Oprah Winfrey contributes some of her personal experiences to balance out the science. Dr. Perry emphasizes that stressful experiences can rewire the brain and alter how we perceive and react to the world. This is a must-read for anyone looking to gain a better understanding of the effect of trauma on our lives. Suggested by Michelle.

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  • Ken Burns Presents Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness


    This two-part PBS documentary series strives to demystify and destigmatize mental illness in youth. It features impactful first-person accounts from several young people from around the country who speak candidly about their mental health conditions. Also interviewed are their family, friends, and health care experts. The documentary is an effective opener for deeper conversations. Suggested by Sharon and Rummanah.

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  • Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

    2022 by Smith, Julie

    Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before tackles everyday issues and clinical psychologist Julie Smith offers practical solutions and coping techniques in bite-sized, easy-to-digest entries to help readers navigate through life's ups and downs. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Losing Our Minds: The Challenge of Defining Mental Illness

    2022 by Foulkes, Lucy

    Psychologist Lucy Folkes explores the complexities of defining mental illness, especially when it is incorrectly used to define an ordinary discomfort and without understanding what the disorder actually entails. How should we distinguish between 'normal' suffering and actual illness? Folkes thoroughly researches the complicated nature of diagnoses and the biological and environmental factors behind conditions and tactfully examines reasons that mental illness rates are rising. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Inside Out


    Appropriate for all ages, Pixar's award-winning film provides an accessible, creative, and sensitive approach to how humans navigate their emotions on a day-to-day basis. Suggested by Sharon and Rummanah.

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