May has been observed as mental health awareness month in the United States since 1949. While the world is inching towards being more aware about mental struggles and well-being, there is still a long way to go. Books can be a great resource for people troubled by their lack of understanding about their own issues as well as anyone wanting to understand others. Comics can sometimes be perfectly suited to meet the needs of a troubled, distracted mind. They can sneakily slip into our short attention spans providing information, insight and comfort.
Here’s a list of fascinating standalone comics about mental health to read during mental health awareness month.
Hyperbole And A Half By Allie Brosh
This graphic novel is witty, observant, and honest. Allie Brosh shares her illustrated experience with her two cool dogs, mental struggles, and childhood shenanigans. Her wild experiences range from the need to eat an obnoxious amount of cake to a literal wild goose chase. The comic has genuine insights about her mental health issues and myriad coping mechanisms. It is illustrated in bright colours and provides humorous comfort.
There Is No Right Way To Meditate: And Other Lessons By Yumi Sakugawa
Yumi Sakugawa makes you look at meditation in a new light. She makes the practice sound welcoming and shares her experience of the abundant ways it improves mental health. The book is filled with intriguing metaphors and soothing illustrations. This is such a reassuring read that even the act of scrolling through it felt meditative.
How To Deal: With Fear, Failure and Other Daily Dreads By Grace Miceli
This book made me chuckle and nod vigorously in agreement. It is witty and clever in the way it opens up about mental struggles. The colourful doodle-like images contain so much life and insightful advice. The comic is divided into chapters that have an introduction written by the author to set the tone for the theme. There’s an entire chapter about avoidant personalities. It got so real and relatable that I found myself squinting at the screen. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone looking to brighten their day.
Thin Slices Of Anxiety: Observations and Advice to Ease a Worried Mind By Catherine LePage
This is a short, easy read. It has very little text on page and even that is handwritten or doodled. The book is filled with cute, clever illustrations that hit home. The author ends the book with the line, “Thinly sliced and illustrated, emotions are much easier to digest.” This expresses the cathartic experience she had making this book come to life. It also accurately portrays the need anxious people feel to morph the panic into something pleasant.
It’s OK To Feel Things Deeply By Carissa Potter
The font and illustrations make the book look like it has been written and drawn by a child. This entices the sensitive innocence in readers. The tone and advice is childlike too. It has illustrated suggestions about nice things you can do to help push yourself during a rut. The book does not get too real about deep rooted mental health issues. However, it can remind of things to look forward to on less-than-ideal days.
Lighter Than My Shadow By Katie Green
This graphic memoir is illustrated in beautiful, breath-taking illustrations that lack colour. The tones of grey complement the vibe of the book. The author narrates her journey of battling an eating disorder. She gets real about her compulsive thought processes, anorexia, and binge eating. The book also touches on her unfortunate experience with sexual abuse and the haunting memories it left behind. Katie Green gets real about getting help and the slow, excruciating process of getting better. She illustrates the insights she gained from therapy and the tweaks in thought and behaviour patters that aided her recovery. The book ends with helpful resources about eating disorders and sexual violence.