YA Books about Mental Health

Hello readers! Welcome back!

If you didn’t know, today (October 10) is Mental Health Day! I only discovered this recently, but I’m glad it exists. Mental health is very important to me, as I deal with social and general anxiety on a regular basis. But when I read YA novels that not only handle mental health maturely, but allow neurotypical readers to sympathize with the character, I feel a little better.

Unfortunately, I can’t name too many, but I have picked a few great mental health awareness picks off my bookshelf that I’d like to share with you all!

You can see my Instagram post about it here.

Note/Trigger Warning: I’m going to briefly talk about the illnesses, disorders, and abuses mentioned in these novels, to what knowledge I have about them. The illnesses, disorders, etc. I name are approximate based on summaries and reviews unless stated within the book.

Here is a quick trigger warning in case you are affected by any MIs. Thanks for reading and always remember to stay safe xo

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall This might be one of my favorite novels ever?? The book is an #ownvoices for OCD, agoraphobia, and anxiety, I believe. The character is so relatable and best of all, her illness isn’t cured the instant she finds a romantic partner.

Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert I read this book recently, and knew it deserved to be on this list. Yes, it’s the brother and not the MC who is bipolar, but his mental illness affects the entire family throughout the novel that is portrayed very maturely and realistically.

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes I love this book. The character lives in sunny SoCal, plays tennis, and copes with her PTSD after a traumatic experience when she was younger. The character development is so wonderful.

When We Collided by Emery Lord When I read WWC back in 2016, I was addicted. It has a dual pov in a sleep SoCal town. The way bipolar disorder is depicted is so raw and real, it almost scared me. This whole book was just a thrill, honestly. The title speaks the truth.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe I haven’t read ALoC, but I am aware it handles friendship, counseling, dyslexia, and ADHD. I can’t wait to read it.

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow I haven’t read GiP either, but I think it deals with depression, self-harm, and abuse.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella I read this middle grade book a few summers ago and really enjoyed it. It’s a lighthearted take on anxiety and agoraphobia, as Audrey meets a new friend and tries to venture past her comfort zone. I can recall a wonderful family dynamic.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley This book features three best friends, multiple POVs, and handles agoraphobia as well as LGBTQ+ issues. It’s a brief novel, but I really enjoyed it.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell I know that Fangirl doesn’t have the best portrayal of social anxiety, or mental illness in general, but when I read it back in 2014, it meant everything to me that Cath was the first character I read about to have these same thoughts as me. (Even if it was just cast off as socially awkward.)

How it Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes This book takes place at a mental health retreat, as our MC is spiraling from her body dysmorphia but is only focused on her ballet audition to a prestigious academy. But she learns to care about the people around her at the retreat and her mental health.

I hope you enjoyed my recs! As I said before, when reading YA novels and dealing with your own mental health, it is important to know your limits. It’s important to remember not to push yourself past what will make you uncomfortable.

Anyway, Happy Mental Health day ❤

I hope one day we don’t have to deal with the stigma of mental illness and everyone who struggles can receive the help they deserve.

Just in case, here are some wonderful links to hotlines and resources here.

Have a nice day!

Thanks for reading! What are your favorite MI novels?




15 thoughts on “YA Books about Mental Health

  1. I’ve been looking for books about mental health so I recently bought The Memory of Light and All The Bright Places 🙂


  2. I didn’t know that Girl Against the Universe had a Main Character with PTSD!! This is definitely gonna help me with the book I’m writing for NaNoWriMo. Thanks for the recs!


  3. Love the list! Just finished Under Rose-Tainted Skies, and LOVED it. My only suggestion is to warn that their is self-harm and references to self-harm in the book that can be triggering to people who struggle. So glad I found this post.


  4. omg! I have been wanting to read books about mental health! will definitely be checking these books out.
    I personally was depressed a few years back due to the state of my life at the time.
    I also have a few people in my life who are suffering from anxiety and depression.


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