Generation Z & Living as a Community

Recently, my “Library News & Notes” column for the O’Fallon Weekly highlighted OFPL events that promote wellness and increase adolescents’ connection to their community.

(Frankly, all of our Summer Reading Program events connect participants to the wider community – I’m just sayin’.)

Anyway, in the column, I referred to U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy’s Advisory, “Protecting Youth Mental Health,” that addresses the nation’s high rate of teens who are experiencing high levels of distress – not created, but, made worse by the pandemic.

The Surgeon General said: “Since many of the challenges young people face are outside of their control, we need a whole-of-society effort to support children’s mental health and wellbeing from birth to adulthood.”

Murthy listed some actions to support this goal, and we will shine the spotlight on a few resources and books that educate and support young people as they navigate this new landscape.

For example, teens can learn techniques to manage stress and other difficult emotions, Murthy said. This will help them recognize situations that may be emotionally challenging and come up with strategies to manage those emotions.

One such resource is The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time by Dzung X. Vo, MD, FAAP, and another popular choice is Your Brain Needs a Hug : Life, Love, Mental Health, and Sandwiches by Rae Earl.

Books can give youth the voice to talk about sensitive subjects, becoming a bridge between the teen and caring adults. Information travels both ways across this bridge.

Parents should, “Look out for warning signs of distress, and seek help when needed,” Murthy said in his Advisory One title to help parents and grandparents is our eAudiobook Helping Your Anxious Teen : Positive Parenting Strategies to Help Your Teen Beat Anxiety, Stress, and Worry.

Murthy also reminded caregivers, “Be attentive to how children and youth spend time online.”

Communities can also “Educate the public about the importance of mental health, and reduce negative stereotypes, bias, and stigma around mental illness,” the Surgeon General said.

Titles in our catalogue include (Don’t) Call Me Crazy [electronic resource] : 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health by Kelly Jensen and The PTSD Survival Guide for Teens : Strategies to Overcome Trauma, Build Resilience & Take Back Your Life by Sheela Raja and Jaya Raja Ashrafi.

These and many other books in the larger library system also seek to accomplish what Dr. Murthy recommended: “Address the unique mental health needs of at-risk youth, such as racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ youth, and youth with disabilities.”

Every answer cannot be found in a book, that’s why we have EBSCO Discovery Service, Medline Plus, and a plethora of other digital sources of information.

As Surgeon General Murthy said, “I believe that, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have an unprecedented opportunity as a country to rebuild in a way that refocuses our identity and common values, puts people first, and strengthens our connections to each other. If we seize this moment, step up for our children and their families in their moment of need, and lead with inclusion, kindness, and respect, we can lay the foundation for a healthier, more resilient, and more fulfilled nation.”

Wishing you happy and mindful reading! Susan C.

Summaries of Titles Mentioned in this Post:
The Mindful Teen : Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time by Dzung X. Vo, MD, FAAP

Being a teen is stressful! Whether it’s school, friends, or dating, the teen years are full of difficult changes – both mentally and physically. If you’re like many teens, you may have difficulty dealing with stress in effective ways. You aren’t alone, and there are things you can do to stay calm, no matter how stressful life becomes. All you need to do is stop, breathe, and be mindful and aware in the present moment.

Your Brain Needs a Hug : Life, Love, Mental Health, and Sandwiches by Rae Earl

Rae Earl offers her personalized advice on the A to Zs of mental health, social media, family and friendship.

Inside: What this book is about – How the hell are you? No. Who the hell am I? – The brain – Anxiety – Phobias – Eating disorders – OCD – Psychosis – Self-harm – Depression – How to wear and cope with your diagnosis – Self-esteem and how to get it – Social media – Sex and relationships – Friendships – Drugs and Alcohol – Parents – Helping someone with mental illness – Dr. Pop – Organizations, books, and apps that can help you get better.


Helping Your Anxious Teen [electronic resource] : Positive Parenting Strategies to Help Your Teen Beat Anxiety, Stress, and Worry/ by Sheila Achar Josephs, PhD.

Most parents find it frustrating when common sense and logical methods such as reassurance don’t seem to work to allay their teen’s anxiety. They want to know: Why is anxiety so hard to get rid of once it takes hold? Why aren’t my efforts to help working? And how can I best help my teen break free from anxiety to become happy and resilient? This powerful book, based on cutting-edge research and cognitive behavioral strategies, will help you develop the know-how to effectively manage teen anxiety. You’ll learn the best ways to support your teen in overcoming problematic thinking and fears, discover what behaviors and coping strategies unwittingly make anxiety worse, and understand how anxiety is best defeated with surprisingly counterintuitive methods. Step-by-step guidance, along with numerous real-life examples and exercises, will help you to: Sensitively redirect your teen’s worries when they intensify.

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy [electronic resource] : 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health by Kelly Jensen.

What does it mean to be crazy? Is using the word crazy   To understand mental health, we need to talk openly about it. Because there’s no single definition of crazy, there’s no single experience that embodies it, and the word itself means different things—wild? extreme? disturbed? passionate?—to different people.   In (Don’t) Call Me Crazy their personal experiences with mental illness, how we do and don’t talk about mental health,

help for better understanding how every person’s brain is wired differently, and what, exactly, might make someone crazy.   If you’ve ever struggled with your mental health, or know someone who has, come on in, turn the pages . . . and let’s get talking. 

The PTSD Survival Guide for Teens : Strategies to Overcome Trauma, Build Resilience & Take Back Your Life by Sheela Raja and Jaya Raja Ashrafi – Provides teens who have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder advice on reaching out for support, gaining confidence and resilience to move forward, and developing trusting relationships.

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