That's a wrap on Mental Health Month 2023!
Throughout May, The Semicolon featured in conversations with readers, libraries and parents about all things mental health. It was a great experience, and since then I’ve reflected on where these conversations should go next.
Here are some of my biggest takeaways:
Mental Health Month also reminded me how hard it can be on a personal level to spotlight some of our darkest moments. The conversations were not easy, and there was so much more I wanted to say that managing my own mental health got in the way of. One of the hardest parts of talking about children's mental health is that we are invariably talking, at least a little bit, to our younger selves.
The greatest comfort and inspiration through May came from fellow author-advocates, like award-winning writer and publisher Caitlyn Jones. I was honored to be invited by Caitlyn for an interview about The Semicolon for Columbia Mom, a South Carolina parenting blog. Despite having never met and living thousands of miles apart, both Caitlyn and I know firsthand how depression blocks out feelings of hope for the future. We want to help young people understand early in life that hope can still exist even when your mind insists otherwise.
As we get into summer, please don't forget that while sunshine is a great mood-booster, it is not a magic cure for depression. Contrary to popular belief, the risk of suicide is actually higher in spring and early summer than the cold, dark months of winter. Check in on friends and loved ones, and if you are struggling, know that help is available and you are not alone.
(In other news - more libraries have added The Semicolon to their collections! You can now find the book in Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Louisville, Thunder Bay and Haliburton. I run a shout-out series on my Instagram page highlighting each library system that has picked up the book. The most recent shout-outs went to Ottawa, Dallas and St Albert Public Library. Buffalo, Calgary and Edmonton are all up next on my shout-out list).