From Emily Austin, whose debut novel is EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM WILL SOMEDAY BE DEAD:
The amazing thing about novels is that in addition to entertaining us, they often hold up a mirror to society and ourselves and help us empathize and relate. Reading THE BELL JAR in my early twenties helped me realize large components of myself, parts I mistook for personality traits, were actually symptoms of mental illness. Though I have had depression since I was in grade six, I did not recognize that until reading THE BELL JAR
It is important to see characters who represent what it is like to be mentally ill, which is part of why my debut novel, EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM WILL SOMEDAY BE DEAD, centres around a character who is morbidly anxious and depressed. My hope for her story is that readers who have experienced similar struggles might identify with her, and that readers who have not might better understand what being depressed and anxious is like.
One in three Canadians will personally experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. Almost half of those who suffer have never seen a doctor about it. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death from adolescence to middle age.
Though improvements have been made, there remains significant stigma around mental illness. Because of this stigma, people are less likely to discuss mental health, to recognize they need help, to seek help, and to treat it like they would other serious health issues.
The six books below shine light on experiences of being mentally ill, and by doing so contribute to destigmatizing mental illness and to fostering a more honest, compassionate, and healthy society.