Of all the resounding themes in YA, struggling with anxiety and depression — or any type of mental illness — is right up there with first love. Why? Perhaps it’s because our teen years are when so many complicated mental health issues first arise. There are also the everyday stressors of growing up, which can push just about anyone over the edge.

Mental health issues are so prevalent that if teens aren’t experiencing some of these issues themselves, chances are they know someone who is. Now, more than ever, it’s important and powerful, and sometimes even healing and cathartic, to delve into the darker aspects of our psyches without fear — knowing that even if there’s no easy resolution, there’s always room for deeper understanding.

Click here to find resources and support for those struggling with mental illness.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2020.

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