Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Amy Cummins

Second Advisor

Dr. David Bowles

Third Advisor

Dr. Caroline Miles


This thesis examines the representations of mental health in young adult literature by categorizing texts into a new framework established by this thesis as the Three Ps of patient, practitioner and population. Looking at the Three Ps from an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural view recognizes ways in which literature with themes of mental health is progressively changing with the times. In analyzing John Neufeld’s Lisa, Bright and Dark (1969), Emily Danforth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2012), and Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2006), this thesis identifies the changes in mental health visibility and awareness, Sexual Orientation Change Efforts’ false belief in homosexuality as mental illness, and advances in promoting mental illness destigmatization. Employing mental health-based young adult literature in secondary and post-secondary settings, along with mental health education, can increase empathy and mental health awareness.


Copyright 2018 Christine Gonzales Severn. All Rights Reserved.