Be well

This time last year, we were moderating a community discussion about mental health as part of  Princeton Reads “The Silver Linings Playbook.” That series featured several programs with the Mercer County Chapter of the National Alliance On Mental Illness and culminated with an inspiring talk by author Matthew Quick. But our commitment to this important discussion didn’t end when Q signed the final book and bid us farewell. On Friday, Oct. 10, we’ll be hosting author Melody Moezzi in a 7 p.m. program co-sponsored with our friends from NAMI as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Moezzi’s memoir “Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life” interweaves her experience with both clinical and cultural bipolarity. The book details the aftermath of her bipolar disorder diagnosis and her struggles with the stigma of mental illness as she was encouraged by her family and the medical establishment not to speak about her condition.

Mental health is a difficult subject, but the library believes it is important that we as a society have these discussions. As several high-profile local events confirm, disorders of the brain cross all demographic boundaries. The evidence is there for everyone to see. In her book “The Price of Privilege,” Madeline Levine studied young people in towns similar to ours and found unsettling evidence about some of their lives. “Preteens and teens from affluent, well-educated families … experience among the highest rates of depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, somatic complaints and unhappiness of any group of children in this country.” Perhaps most troubling was this finding: “As many as 22 percent of adolescent girls from financially comfortable families suffer from clinical depression.” 

For further reading on the subject of mental health, please check our a curated list my colleague Janie Hermann has put together of some materials in our collection. And please do join us on Oct. 10 to hear Melody Moezzi’s stories and her perspective on living with bipolar disorder.

The Iranian-born Moezzi is an attorney, activist and blogger who has written for The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, Al Arabiya and many other publications.

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