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Mental Illness, the Invisible Elephant in the Great Green Room of Children's Literature
Monday, March 01, 2021, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM CST
Category: SIGS

This event will be held live on Big Marker.  The replay will be available to registrants until 10pm on Wednesday, March 3.

Timed Agenda:

6:00- 6:15  welcome, introductions
6:15-7:15  presentation
7:15 – 7:30 Q&A

Course Description:
Mental illness touches all families. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teen-agers.  The right book at the right time in a child's life can help normalize the experience of struggling with mental illness, diminish the stigma and help to begin a healing conversation.  Children’s books have finally broken the silence that shrouds many “forbidden topics,” including mental illness, making it possible for a reader to reach out with hope that someone will listen, not judge, and offer help. 

We will describe several books which present mental illness in an age-appropriate, realistic and hopeful way, including picture books, middle-grade, and young-adult fiction and informational books.  We will describe effective uses of picture books with adult clients, and discuss several exciting, boundary-breaking books (First One Step then Another, by Tomi dePaolo; After the Fall, How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat; Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley; and It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini).  After analyzing what makes these books “work,” we will offer suggestions for use of books as part of bibliotherapy and also as “shared platforms” to encourage discussions about mental illness, family dynamics, and personal responses.

Speaker Biographies:
Nancy Bo Flood, Ph.D. has authored a variety of award-winning books including a professional counseling-children handbook and most recently, I Will Dance, a story of determination and community.  Nancy earned her degree in Experimental Psychology and Child Development at the University of Minnesota with a research focus on brain function. She has applied her training to develop resources and programs for students with disabilities and also counseling children and families.  Learn more at www.nancyboflood.com

Ann Jacobus is the author of young adult novels Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, and The Coldest Winter I Ever Spent (forthcoming in 2023) as well as short stories, essays, and poetry. She earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, is a mental health advocate and a suicide crisis line counselor. She lives in San Francisco with her family. Learn more at www.annjacobus.com

Participants can expect to:
  • Gain familiarity with three or more books addressing mental illness which are appropriate for use with children, teenagers, and adults
  • Describe how a ‘story’ can be utilized to counteract the stigma and isolation often associated with mental illness
  • Articulate ways in which literature can be helpful in increasing clients’ abilities to engage in meaningful occupations such as play and social engagement

Content level: 
all levels, OTs and OTAs

CEUs: 1.5

Fees: $5 MOTA Members, $30 non-members

** Please note: after registering with MOTA, you will receive an email with a link to enter your name and email address with Big Marker. You will then receive an email with your confirmation and unique link for the webinar. **


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Contact: [email protected]