February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

“TLT” Blog Seeks Contributors for YA Lit and Mental Health Project

MHYALitlogoofficfialAn estimated one in five teens has a diagnosable mental health disorder. These conditions can alter lives and possibly lead to suicide—the third leading cause of death among adolescents.

While educators and librarians aren’t qualified to provide professional counseling, as the bloggers at “Teen Librarian Toolbox” (TLT) have noted, mental health remains an important issue for adults who work with young people.

In response, Karen Jensen, a teen services librarian and chief blogger at TLT, has launched the discussion #MHYALit (Mental Health in YA). “TLT would like to use YA literature to discuss mental health issues in the lives of teens. And we need your help,” writes Jensen, who is seeking contributors to write guest posts and share resources.

A clearinghouse of related YA lit discussions and resources is already forming on the #MHYALit project page. Among the posts is Jensen’s reflection on her own experience with depression.

TLT, part of SLJ’s blog network, has already lined up a roster of author contributors, who will post to the #MHYALit discussion throughout 2016. They include authors Christa Desir, Carrie Mesrobian, Tom Leveen, Jackie Lea Summers, Heather Marie, Corey Ann Haydu, Cindy L. Rodriguez, Jessica Spotswood, Kathleen Glasglow, Annie Cardi, and Evan Roskos.

“They will be sharing about their books that deal with mental health topics,” says Jensen. “We are also working on creating book lists by topic of various mental health issues, national resources that you can get teens into contact with, and how to help teens find materials on sensitive topics.”

#MHYALit follows the format of a similarly ambitious TLT project on sexual violence.
Launched in 2014, #SVYALit sought to raise awareness, highlighting YA titles that can be used by librarians, educators, and parents to discuss sexual assault with teens.

Those interested in writing a guest post or sharing a book list, should contact Jensen at kjensenmls[at]yahoo[dot]com.

Kathy Ishizuka About Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka (kishizuka@mediasourceinc.com@kishizuka on Twitter) is the Executive Editor of  School Library Journal.

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