An overview of mental health problems and solutions for teens.
Health educator and author Hugstad (What I Wish I’d Known, 2017, etc.) combines narratives with practical advice in this concise introduction to common mental and emotional health issues. The book begins with a discussion of brain development, and each subsequent chapter addresses a specific concern. Without getting bogged down in clinical descriptions, Hugstad covers depression, eating disorders, bullying, self-harm, PTSD, peer pressure and stress, anxiety, substance abuse, technology addiction, and suicide. Strengths include the comprehensive look at addiction and substance abuse, a keen attention to suicidal risk factors, and practical insights on healthy choices and finding help. Additionally, most chapters include a compelling youth perspective highlighting challenges and growth through a personal story. Unfortunately, Hugstad misses opportunities to consider the impacts of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other factors that have been linked to mental health risk factors, particularly in the case of LGBTQ+ teens of color. The inclusion of someone diagnosed with gender dysphoria may date the material. Many chapters rightly suggest seeking medical support, and more information overtly addressing socio-economic stressors related to health care access may have been beneficial. Nevertheless, this book provides a useful synopsis, and the inviting tone befits the intended audience.
A useful mental health primer for young people that unfortunately contains significant gaps. (endnotes, resources, discussion questions, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)