Our Time has compiled a list of recommended reads that may be helpful to you and your family.
What is Mental Health? Where does it come from? And Other Big Questions
Written by Dr Lucy Maddox, published by Hachette Children’s Group , 2020
This book is aimed at young people aged 10 and upwards.
Mental health gets talked about a lot, but what is it? And where does it come from?
This book explains what mental health is, considering how it relates to lots of different experiences, from how we manage really big feelings, to how we get on with each other, how we make choices and how we handle stressful situations. The book thoughtfully examines the things that can help us look after our mental health and the things that might make it feel worse. It has suggestions for the support on offer if we feel we’re struggling.
It includes specially-written contributions from Chamique Holdsclaw, US gold medallist basketballer, academics Dr Suzi Gage and Professor Marianne Van Den Bree, poet Fisky, artists Christine Rai and Liz Atkin, mental health advocate Chineye Njoku and Dr Alan Cooklin, psychiatrist and founder of the charity Our Time which helps children whose parents experience mental health problems.
The Truth Pixie
This funny and heartwarming story, written in rhyme, from bestselling author Matt Haig tells the story of how a pixie learned to love herself.
The book is a read-aloud bedtime story, which encourages young children (age seven and above) to talk about their anxieties.
The Wise Mouse
Written by Virginia Ironside, illustrated by Nick Sharratt, published by YoungMinds, 2003
This book has been created to help children aged between five and 11 years old understand what’s happening when a family member has a mental illness.
This story is about a girl called Maria who’s concerned about her mother’s behaviour. She sometimes wonders why her mum behaves in a strange way. But help is at hand, in the form of a little (and very wise) mouse, who talks to Maria about her worries.
The Bipolar Bear Family: When a Parent Has Bipolar Disorder
By Angela Ann Holloway, published by AuthorHouse, 2006
This book has been written for children age five plus.
A young bear cub is struggling to understand his mother’s behaviour and subsequent diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The book covers young people’s questions such as: is this my fault, is it contagious, and can I fix it?
Ruby is followed around by her worries in the form of a huge yellow creature that just keeps on growing. This picture book for three to six-year-olds explores the concept of worry, and how sharing your concerns with someone you trust can help to reduce anxiety.
Charlie Changes Into a Chicken
This illustrated novel for six to 11-year-olds tells the story of a boy who involuntarily changes into animals. However, this only happens when he gets panicked or worried. Charlie’s brother is seriously ill in hospital and there is a clear disconnect between what Charlie is going through at home and the mask he is expected to put on for school.
Gilly the Giraffe Self-Esteem Activity Book
Written by Dr Karen Treisman and illustrated by Sarah Peacock, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019
This is both a therapeutic story and creative activity book for five to 10-year-olds. Gilly’s life has lots of brilliant aspects to it, but she struggles to be confident. She knows she stands out, but can she be different and be cool?Developed by expert child psychologist Dr Karen Treisman, this story starts conversations and allows children to explore the themes in the book through creative activities. There are also accompanying notes for adults on how to boost self-esteem and confidence in children.
Explaining why a parent is in hospital
Stories/Guides: These booklets have been created by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation to help children and young people from the age of three upwards understand their parents’ mental health problems and why they are in hospital.View
Can I Catch It Like A Cold?
By the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, illustrated by Joe Weissmann, published by Tundra, 2009
Why Are You So Sad? A Child's Book About Parental Depression
Help! My Feelings Are Too Big!
This book offers friendly support for children aged nine to 12 years old who are overcoming early trauma, or dealing attachment disorders or anxiety. This book explains emotions like anxiety, how you can live with these emotions, and how safe adults can help to build a sense of strength and calmness within.
I'm Not Alone: A Teen's Guide to Living with a Parent Who Has a Mental Illness
This book focuses on teenagers’ experiences of living with a parent who has a serious mental illness, with particular attention to depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. The reader learns about the causes of mental illness, common symptoms of each disorder, the role of mental health professionals, and treatment options. A variety of educational techniques are used throughout the text including stories, poems, inspirational quotes, and key lessons. This practical, reassuring book connects with readers so they feel informed, in control, hopeful, and not alone.
Finding My Way: A Teen's Guide to Living with a Parent Who Has Experienced Trauma
Written by Michelle D Sherman PhD and DeAnne M Sherman, illustrated by Nicole Wong, published by Seeds of Hope Books 2002
This book clearly explains post-traumatic stress disorder and other common responses to trauma, reviews co-occurring problems (including addictive behaviour), and describes numerous treatment options. This honest and respectfully written manual serves as a roadmap for teens who are trying to find their way.