Posted in Discussion, Mental Health, Rambling with Em, Topical Issues.

Time to Talk Day 2017


This post originally appeared on my other blog waterfall thoughts.

Ways you can participate

  • Give someone you haven’t spoken to in a while a call / text. Sometimes people just need to know you’re there
  • Ask someone how their day was. Something as simple as this could make such a huge difference to someone’s day.
  • Perform a random act of kindness. Buy some chocolates to share with your friends / work colleagues, keep an eye out for ways you could lend a hand to the people around you
  • Share mental health stories on your social media, just liking and sharing posts and videos on your facebook / twitter can spread the word, you might share the very thing someone needed to see
  • If you suffer with a mental health issue, tell your truth. You never know who might be grateful to hear your words. (Websites like The Mighty allow you to become s contributor and share your stories with the community) Or start a blog, write a honest facebook post, or just text a trusted friend and tell them how you’re feeling. You never know who might have needed to hear what you have to say.
  • Bookish Special! -Use today to talk about your favourite books that feature mental health issues! Recommendations, reviews, tweet share post! 

What are you doing for Time To Talk day 2017?

Posted in Discussion, Mental Health, Posts/Features, Rambling with Em, Topical Issues., Uncategorized

The importance of Mental Health in YA fiction 


I haven’t posted in a while, that’s true. And my previous posts have been squealy fangirling book reviews.

I don’t want to stop my joyful rambling about books and I won’t. But there are other things I need and want to talk about.

1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – that is around three children in every class (1).

Between 1 in every 12 and 1 in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm (2).

There has been a big increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self harm. Over the last ten years this figure has increased by 68% (3).

More than half of all adults with mental health problems were diagnosed in childhood. Less than half were treated appropriately at the time (4).

A lot of us here in the blogosphere call for more diversity in YA fiction, tired of the unnaturally beautiful white girl who has everything together. And we have come so far. In my time I’m seen huge twitter conversations and hundreds of blog posts from bloggers and authors alike saying what they want to see and what changes they’re going to make. And we’re getting there, slowly but surely we as readers are starting to see our own selves, messy and imperfect, refelected back at us from the books we are reading.

But why is it important to talk about mental health?

Because mental health issues so often begin in childhood and when we are young adults. Because we need to remove the stigma and the fear surrounding mental health, so that those young people aren’t afraid to speak out about their problems.

We need to educate the ignorant. To teach people, young or old, that anyone can face a mental health crisis, at any age. To show people, through stories, that it’s not just ‘a phase’ or puberty, that depression, anxiety, eating disorders, psychosis and all the rest do not discriminate.

Young people in a survey conducted by time to change reported stigma coming from those around them: 70% had had negative reactions from friends, over half (57%) from parents and 45% from boyfriends and girlfriends.

The professionals that young people come into contact with were also reported as a source of stigma and discrimination: 40% said that they had experienced negative reactions from teachers and 47% from doctors and other medical professionals.

Our attitudes and beliefs are largely formed when we are young and are influenced by a ton of factors; what we are taught in school, by family members and books we read to name a few. That’s not to say we can’t change our beliefs as we grow, because we constantly do. However if the kids in your class make jokes about ‘crazy’ people or the news you see blames atrocities on a persons mental health and you never see positive portrayals of ordinary people with mental health issues then how are you supposed to understand what you or someone else is going through and to react in a healthy, positive way?

It’s important to represent real people in literature.

…and in all media. Showing that women can be powerful and strong; that men can show their emotions without being ‘weak’ and that people with mental health problems are just ordinary people who need our compassion not our ignorance. (I could go on…)

Seeing ourselves and honest representations in the media help people feel accepted and give them back that sense of I’m normal. This gives them back much needed confidence to open conversations and seek help.

I asked some friends why they think it’s important and this is what they said;

Characters can sometimesi be more relatable than real humans, I think its a starting point for the discussion for mental health –Hannah

“I just think it’s another good way to get people talking about mental health. To have realistic representations in creative works helps to de-stigmatise mental illnesses. Also, for me, it was a way of feeling like I wasn’t alone – Girl, Interrupted, although a memoir, was a very powerful read for me, it was upsetting for me as I’d been diagnosed with BPD, but it resonated with me deeply.” –Sophie

I think it’s important if done in a way that isn’t likely to add to the stigma. I’ve just read the gift and sisters both by louise jenson. In both books the characters suffer from anxiety, and it often describes their panic attacks. To me (as a severe sufferer) this is a good thing, as it might help people understand what happens to someone having an attack.

However I also think mental health in books can be bad, as it’s often used as a reason why a character is the way they are, in a bad way. In that case I think it adds to the stigma that anyone who suffers from mental illness are a crazed axe welding maniac. I understand it’s all to make a good story and it won’t necessarily be at the forefront of a readers mind, but I can’t help thinking that it might put that thought about mental illness into someone’s sub conscious. –Laura Caunce 

What books are already out there?

Buzzfeed did a post on the 29 Best YA Books About Mental Health

I’m going to make it my mission to pay abit more attention to wether books are portraying mental health issues and if they are, are they doing it well? 

Let me know your thoughts and please do throw any recommendations my way (good or bad examples!) xxx

Posted in Debates, Topical Issues.

(Who are you to judge?)

I was going to write a post about NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) and upload a review or two, and I still will, but between planning these post and getting on here to write them I encountered a few things that deeply upset me.
The things I encountered were some Facebook comments and a couple of newspaper articles. Now, before I tell you what was in this content I read first I need to tell you that I suffer from being extremely empathetic. Empathy (similar to sympathy, except more personal) is the ability to put yourself in another persons shoes and feel what they feel. Now with my own issues and emotions I can cope with and work through, but as soon as someone else tell me their problems I feel all their pain as they’re feeling it with an added extra of helplessness when there’s nothing I can do to help them. I often work myself up into a right state over someone else’s pain.
So now, onto the topic of the content I read this morning. Racism. Completely unfounded, ignorant, discriminatory racism. On Facebook (and other places, too many other places) these despicable, ignorant people are attempting to argue that some people don’t deserve to live in this country based on the colour of their skin or the piece of land they happened to be born on. They say these sweeping ignorant generalisations about certain races with no evidence or reasoning behind it except their own small minded selfishness. I can’t comprehend (call me naive) how people could actually believe this rubbish. How someone could look at someone who’s come to this country for a better life, maybe to escape a war in the country they were in, to give their children a better life than the one they had, how some could look a person so desperate in the eye and tell them they don’t deserve that. It utterly disgusts me that someone could be so vile as to not only have these beliefs but to act upon them and harass and assault people based on their own pathetic opinions. Who are you to judge?
And the worst part, the part that had me in sobbing on the bus on my way to work this morning was an article in the newspaper that told of a man who’d moved to this country to get a degree so he could have a better life, he was working part time delivering pizzas to fund his degree and he was stabbed to death on his last day of work. I didn’t read any further to see of it was actually a racial attack, but I have seen far too many stabbings and beatings in the newspapers that were done simply because this person was a different ethnicity. So people are taking it upon themselves to decide wether a person deserves to live based on what piece of land they were born on?! You do not get the right to live from your race or your heritage. If there was anyway to judge wether someone deserves to live (which there isn’t) it would be on how they act as what they believe.
And if we were going by this it wouldn’t be the immigrant working to save his family back in his origin country who had lost the right to live.

Posted in Topical Issues.

(Double Standards)

The other day Julianna Scott, author of the holders, made an extremely valid argument about women insulting other women based on their weight.

20131026-000417.jpgNow I know this can be a touchy subject but I believe people need to be aware that it works both ways.
If you tell a woman who is bigger than you that’s she’s ‘fat’ or needs to ‘lose weight’ then everyone kicks off, as they should! Because there is no excuse for insulting a woman (it anyone) based on their weight.

But think about when it’s the other way round. Many people (not everyone) would see no problem with saying to a thin woman that’s she’s ‘so skinny’ or saying ‘you need to put on some weight you’re practically anorexic!’.
So why is it okay to call a thin woman anorexic but not a bigger woman fat? It works both ways.
And as Julianna rightly pointed out, woman actually think it empowering to say these things when actually it’s just rude. Here’s Julianna’s fin comment on it, which I 100% agree with,

“There is no size attached to being a Lady. And Ladies behave as such, and are above bringing other people down. Here’s to the Ladies.”

Do you agree? What other issues are there double standard on? Share your thoughts!

Posted in Topical Issues.

(How are you feeling?)

(TRIGGER WARNING)-this post mentions self harm.

How are you feeling? Happy? Depressed? Angry? Lonely? Content? Are you full to bursting with all these ridiculous emotions? Do you use books as a way to escape from them? I know I do. Do you need a way to release them rather than just hiding from them? I may have just the thing.

I keep a destructive sort of diary. I write down everything I’m feeling as fast as I can, filling pages and pages with barely legible rubbish, and then I rip out the whole lot and tear them into pieces.

20131017-233707.jpg

So many people nowadays struggle to cope with what they’re feeling. Going through life appearing fine on the outside but on the inside they’re a chaotic whirlwind of emotions with no escape. People are taking drastic measures as a way to deal with all this. Like self harm, which is so so common nowadays and has almost become fashionable! I can’t tell you how much it breaks my heart when I find out someone self harms or is feeling like they want to. My advice? Find someway to let it out. Tell a close friend/family member. Do something creative like paint/draw/write. Try my destructive diary way. Find something that works for you. Please.

How do you cope with your whirlwind of emotions? Let me know in the comments!

And if you need someone to talk to, you can always email me (emilyheritage @ hotmail.co.uk)

Much love always, xx