Hey teens! Tonight we will be hosting our first-ever Teen Social Justice League conversation from 6 – 7:30 p.m. on our discord channel. We will be chatting about mental health and themes from books that we have read or are currently reading. The purpose of the league is to open important conversations about social justice issues in our community. We know that teens in Brampton have so much to contribute, especially when given the right platform. We reflect back on the TeenTalk conversations the library facilitated in May when an entire panel was devoted to the subject of mental health. Think of the Teen Social Justice League as an extension of these conversations, but within a space devoted entirely to teens.

In tonight’s discussion, we welcome special guests Jiya Kaemra and Kareena Brambhatt, representatives of Miss Teenage Peel, to our discussion. The league will meet again on Tuesday, August 9 at the same time to discuss the experiences of immigrants and/or refugees. Register for the next session.

You don’t have to be a big reader to join. We can chat about these subjects generally, and we can refer to a variety of books, articles, and pamphlets that you have come across on the topic. Below you’ll find a list of resources that you might find helpful in opening the conversation about mental health.

Have your say and join the Teen Social Justice League today!

Here are some fantastic YA novels about mental health and wellness:

  1. Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
  2. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  3. Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
  4. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
  5. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
  6. Hold Still by Nina LaCour
  7. I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman
  8. On a Scale of 1 to 10 by Ceylan Scott
  9. One Way or Another by Kara J. McDowell
  10. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
  11. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  12. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Here is a Review of Darius the Great is Not Okay by a Teen Summer Reading Club member:

“Darius the Great Is Not Okay, is a contemporary novel written by Adib Khorram, and was originally published on August 28, 2018. His casual and humorous style of writing brought a great connection with the main character of the book, Darius. The novel is about a young boy who deals with depression in school. Due to his mental illness, he questions his identity as his mother is Persian and his father is American, and mostly because his younger sister, Laleh, speaks better Farsi than him. He believes he is a failure to both his parents and often has feelings of isolation. He later travels to Iran with his family to meet his grandfather who is sick and creates a new long-lasting friendship with a boy named Sohrab. He feels a great connection with him as he is kind and doesn’t judge Darius due to his condition, as many of his other family members do. With him, he deepens his cultural understanding and learns to be a more confident person, which Sohrab possesses in him. 

I would recommend this book to those who are 14+ since it can cover sensitive topics of depression, isolation, and suicide. Out of 5, I would give this book a 5 because of the characters' development/personalities and setting, and the number of times it made me smile!”

Here are videos from our TeenTalks Series that speak to mental health and wellness:

Find these  films on Kanopy about inspiring local action and developing creative outlets for mental health support and community building.

  • The Boxers of Brule At 23 years old, Shaionna Grass Rope lost her best friend Cheryl Ziegler to suicide. Though facing the same struggles, Shaionna creates a boxing team for the girls following in their footsteps, determined to end trends of youth suicide within the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of South Da\\kota. 
  • Rap Squad — In the town of Helena-West Helena located in the Arkansas Delta, students of Central High School's RAP SQUAD — an after school music club — pen lyrics to cope with personal traumas and seek healing for themselves.

More film recommendations on Kanopy:

  • The Girl on the BridgeMental health activist Jazz Thornton takes you on a journey of her struggle to overcome a suicidal past, to help others with their struggles, and the personal cost of her advocacy. 
  • Just Like You: Anxiety and Depression — 10 brave kids, 2 Emmy award winning journalists, 1 clinical psychologist at Columbia University and 1 determined mother take on the fear and stigma plaguing the mental health community.
  • Uprooting Addiction: Healing from the Ground UpFollow six people from varying walks of life — each affected by childhood trauma — who candidly share their personal stories of addiction and recovery. These testimonies are interwoven with uplifting, up-to-the-minute accounts from an equally diverse group of activists, officials, and experts, working tirelessly on the front lines of this unrelenting public health crisis.

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