Booklist Online (E-Book)
"Reports of increasing teen stress levels and the alarming rise of the teen suicide rate abound; many of the teens affected by these statistics use the library and seek help from the collection or the staff. Even though librarians are not social workers or therapists, at the core of the profession is the charge to link individuals to the information they need. Plus, libraries serve as community safe spaces and staff are trained to treat all users respectfully. Many teen librarians rightfully also see themselves as youth advocates. All of these issues are clearly and thoughtfully explained in this guide. Librarian Takahashi has earned a Youth Mental Health First Aid certification, and she provides a detailed list of mental health organizations from which she draws her insights. The book begins by discussing adolescent development and then details the most common mental disorders affecting teens: anxiety, mood, and eating disorders; psychosis; substance abuse; disruptive behavior; and self-harm. Autism spectrum disorder is also covered. Resources listed include those for training staff. Another chapter gives practical advice on how to deal with teens experiencing mental illness. Takahashi discusses model library mental health initiatives and details how to start such initiatives and how to generally provide better library services for all teens. The last chapter offers ways for librarians to take care of themselves—which models good mental health practices for young patrons. Additional resources for librarians and stakeholders and an index conclude the volume. This clearly and compellingly written guide is a well-considered and practical volume that offers a one-stop resource on this important topic in teens’ lives and the lives of the library staff who serve them."
— Lesley Farmer
School Library Journal
Takahashi outlines the core issues related to mental illness and teen library patrons. Education professionals who receive regular training or opportunities to learn more about teen mental health will likely be familiar with the content of the first few chapters, but the brief general outline of common mental illnesses and crash course in adolescent psychological development may be useful for librarians new to working with teen populations. Later sections on assisting teens who are experiencing a mental health crisis and on developing or adapting policies to better support teen mental wellness initiatives are thorough and valuable. These sections offer practical advice for a variety of situations, including aggression, suicide or suicidal ideation, drug overdose, panic and anxiety attacks, or psychosis. Librarians who want to create programming addressing mental health will appreciate the case studies of successful partnerships and programs, as well as the lists of print and electronic resources that would make a solid start to a mental wellness resources collection. A final section, addressing self-care for adults working closely with teens who may be experiencing episodes of mental illness, suggests vital tools for librarians who feel the emotional toll of providing a caring, affirming, and responsive environment.
VERDICT While this guide covers no new ground for librarians who have already begun learning about and addressing mental health issues within their community, it does pull together a number of helpful tips and resources. A solid addition to a professional collection where an introduction to teen mental wellness issues is needed.–Erin Downey, Boise School District, ID