Relevant Reads for Progressives

Pride Month

By Rebecca (Becky) W


Title: Bedlam: An Intimate Journey into America’s Mental Health Crisis | Author: Dr. Kenneth Rosenberg | Publication Date: Avery, 10/1/19

Today in the U.S., it is estimated that one in five adults—40 million people—experiences mental illness each year. Because of the alarming rate of mental facilities’ closures in the 1980s, patients often have nowhere to go. They may join the ranks of the homeless or end up incarcerated.  In fact, the largest mental institution in the country is the Los Angeles County Jail.

  Rosenberg cites the plight of the mentally ill as the greatest social crisis of the twenty-first century. He explores the historical, political and economic forces that led to this dilemma. But this book—seven years in the making—is not only a rallying cry for change, but serves as a guidebook for how we move forward with care and compassion.

  The author cites resources, imparts legal advice, and gives families practical solutions for finding community support and treatment options.

The beating heart of this book is Dr. Rosenberg’s own moving story of his sister, Merle, a schizophrenic failed by the system and whose life ended tragically.


Title: The Midnight Library  | Author: Matt Haig | Publication Date: Viking, 9/29/20

In this gentle novel, a woman named Nora Seed dies by suicide and is transported to a special library between life and death.  There, with help from a kind librarian, she is able to select books which step into the different lives she could have lived—as a rock star, intrepid explorer, parent and more. There are also books in which she slips into the life she actually lived.

  The author has always been very open about his own experiences with depression over the years, and all of his books have explored the terrain of mental health for both children and adults. The Midnight Library is a smart and empathetic story which never comes across as maudlin.

  If ever there was a cheerful book about depression, this is it. But it is also about making it through depression.