Saturday, January 24, 2015

2015 Mental Illness Awareness Reading Challenge

Another one I want to do.  I think this is a good idea to read about, and since I've gone through mental health services, this one seems like one for me.  I'll try to read up to four books, but may do more, time permitting.  Go here to sign up for this one.

I've decided to create my own Mental Illness Awareness Reading Challenge for 2015! 

This is a low pressure reading challenge meaning it's about quality not quantity. I'd rather you read one or two books and get the most out of them then speed through as many books as you can. I say this for myself as well as you. I've been known to skim a section because the info seems to be a review of something I think I already know but sometimes I learn something new that I would have otherwise missed.

However, this challenge isn't just for reading informative books. It's also for reading fiction and memoir. I once heard someone say the best therapy they ever received was from reading the memoirs of people who have recovered from mental illness. There is some comfort in reading about people that have experienced mental illness or have friends or family with mental illness because you know you are not alone.

This reading challenge is also for those who are newly diagnosed or have friends or family that have been recently diagnosed and want to learn more about a particular mental illness.

What Counts as a Book About Mental Illness? 
When I say mental illness, I include a wide range of illnesses and disorders. Books that include but are not limited to multiple personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, hoarding, sleep disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, baby blues and postnatal depression, suicide, self harm, eating disorders, asperger's and autism, mental retardation, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, social and narcissistic disorders, phobias, alcoholism and addiction can all be counted.

When it's informative nonfiction it's easy to know if it counts towards the challenge but when it's a memoir or fictional story this gets trickier. For the book to count towards the reading challenge, there must be at least one character with a mental illness or disorder that contributes significantly to the story. This means the story could not exist without that character's mental struggles.

Sometimes books you wouldn't think would be about mental illness will touch on the subject. For example, last year I read Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb. This charming Christmas story begins with a nun who has bipolar disorder having a mental breakdown and a substitute teacher coming in to replace her. I would count this book for the challenge.

Some books do not always help end the stigma of mental illness. Books such as Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn or People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck can do more harm than good. I leave it up to your own discretion whether or not to read these books. I think it's good to be aware of the misinformation out there so you can correct it. If you do choose to read books like these please read a good informative book on the same mental illness as well.

The Rules: 

The reading challenge runs from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 3015.

You may sign up anytime during the year to participate.

Books read in part or whole before Jan 1, 2015 do not count.

You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks.

Books may be novels, advice, informative, medical, or memoirs.

Books must be read in their entirety.

You may reread books.

Books may count towards other reading challenges.

If you could be so kind, please place the 2015 Mental Illness Awareness Reading Challenge banner on your blog to help spread the word.

Please link back to this blog, post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.

Use the hashtag #MIAReadingChallenge

If you write a review of the book, come back here and post the link in the comments.

Please choose a level. You may change levels at anytime. You may go up or down. Remember this is a low pressure challenge.

Curious: 1 - 2 books

Aware: 3 - 4 books
Familiar: 5 - 6 books
Knowledgeable: 7 - 8 books
Informed: 9 - 10 books
Expert: 11 or more books

My books for this one:

  1. Still Alice--Lisa Genova
  2. Of Mice and Men--John Steinbeck
  3. Hannah--Hannah Westberg
  4. Multiple Choice--Janet Tashjian
  5. Devil in the Details-Jennifer Traig
NOTE:  The blog for this challenge was deleted several months ago, so I will call this challenge complete as of June 14. 

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