Fictional Characters with Mental Disorders Raise Awareness
What I hoped is happening. The Fifth Floor, which highlights the challenges faced by teens with mental health conditions, has stirred emotions. Well-written and reassuring reviews have come in from psychologists, nurses, teachers, and wonderful readers wanting a story in which they can connect and understand fictional characters with mental disorders. One particular email from a teen, and like The Fifth Floor’s heroine Anna, melted my heart. “I wanted…to say thank you for writing this story…It has been so reassuring to me knowing that I am not alone in my particular struggles and reading your book has confirmed this. I want others like me to be able to read this book and feel how I did.”
It’s a reminder that in all eras and all lifestyles, people’s core emotional needs remain constant. The teenaged protagonist of The Fifth Floor, Anna, grows up the next-to-youngest child of nine brothers and sisters in suburban Chicago in the 1970s. As a young child, Anna loves the constant commotion of her big family until the tragedy occurs. Now seventeen, Anna is keeping the secret that changed her happy-go-lucky childhood into a decade-long tailspin, ultimately leading to her hospitalization after she stops eating entirely in a desperate attempt to rid herself of emotional pain.
According to Mental Health America, 50 percent of Americans will meet criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their lifetime and half of these conditions by the age of 14.” MHA writes, “Long-term denial of death or avoidance of grief is unhealthy for children and may resurface later with more severe problems.”
And according to Kids Mental Health, “Children's mental health is without a doubt the most important aspect of any child's social and cognitive development.”
The Fifth Floor brings to light these consequences when suffering goes undetected.
Julie Oleszek, a mental health fiction writer, raises awareness through her debut novel The Fifth Floor. This compelling and emotional coming of age story brings the struggles of mental health issues to the forefront, as Anna attempts to repair her life from a tragedy. Read the novel today!