January 3, 2011

Mental Illness Advocacy

Challenge Summary:
Reading, both fiction and nonfiction, is an excellent way to broaden one’s horizons and expose one to new ideas and ways of thinking and being. Many reading challenges already exist in the book blogging community to address racism, sexism, and homophobia, but I could not find any to address the stigma faced by those suffering from mental illness. In spite of mental illnesses being recognized by the scientific community as diseases just like physical ones, many still think those suffering from one are at fault for their own suffering. I hope reading and reviewing books featuring characters struggling to deal with mental illness, whether their own or another person’s, will help remove the stigma faced on a daily basis by those with a mental illness. They already have to struggle with an illness; they shouldn’t have to face a stigma too.

Challenge Levels:
Acquainted–4 books
Aware–8 books
Advocate–12 books

Books read for the challenge must address mental illness in some way. If it’s fiction, a character has a mental illness. It can also be non-fiction ranging from self-help books to academic books on the topic.
No book read for the challenge may demonize the mentally ill. They certainly can be presented as 3-dimensional, flawed characters, but absolutely not demonized or presented as “crazy” etc… That goes against the purpose of this challenge.
Books you read for this challenge can be counted for other challenges as well.
Be sure to point out what mental illness or illnesses are addressed in the book in your review of the book. If you use LibraryThing or GoodReads in lieu of blogging, please just note it in the tags on the book or in the comment stating you’ve completed the book.
Reading Suggestions and Review Links:
Check out the official MIA Reading Challenge page to find reading suggestions. Also use the comments section on that page to post links to your reviews. (Go to the link at the hosted by section)

Spread the Word:
Help get the word out on the challenge! Blog, tweet, facebook, email, whatever you can think of to do about it! Please feel free to grab the image above to post on your blog as well. This is a fun way to address an important cause.

Hosted by/Link: Opinions of a Wolf - Mental Illness Advocacy Challenge

Challenge Start and Ends Dates: January 1, 2011 - December 31, 2011

My Progress: 12/12 - COMPLETED December 30, 2011.

My List:

I'm doing the Advocate level of 12 books. Advocacy for mental illness is something important to me. So, when I complete this challenge, I will make a donation to the Schizophrenic Society of Canada.

1) The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath (Depression)
2) Alias Grace - Margret Atwood (Multiple Personalities?)
3) Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson (Depression, PSTD)
4) The Awakening - Kate Chopin (Depression)
5) A Map of Glass - Jane Urquhart (Possibly Autism)
6) About a Boy - Nick Hornby (Depression)
7) Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger (Depression)
8) The Piano Man's Daughter - Timothy Findley (Possibly Schizophrenia)
9) Halfway House - Katharine Noel (Bipolar)
10) Woman on the Edge of Time - Marge Piercy (Schizophrenia)
11) Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald (Not specified)
12) Unless - Carol Shields (Not specified)

Final Thoughts

This was a good challenge, and I read some interesting and fantastic books in the process, all bringing to light some of the harsh realities of mental illness, in various forms. This was a great challenge to help bring awareness to mental illness, and as promised, I made a donation to the Schizophrenic Society of Canada. Thanks to the challenge host for this challenge!

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