What is Mental Health? Where does it come from? And Other Big Questions

What is Mental Health? Where does it come from? And Other Big Questions

By Author / Illustrator

Lucy Maddox


Mental Health & Wellbeing

Age range(s)



Hachette Children's Group








Exploring and explaining the range of mental health, from wellbeing through to mental health problems, in a non-stigmatising, accessible and accurate way.  

Mental health gets talked about a lot, but what is it? And where does it come from?  This book explains what mental health is, considering how it relates to lots of different experiences, from how we manage really big feelings, to how we get on with each other, how we make choices and how we handle stressful situations. The book thoughtfully examines the things that can help us look after our mental health and the things that might make it feel worse. It has suggestions for the support on offer if we feel we're struggling.

It includes specially-written contributions from Chamique Holdsclaw, US gold medallist basketballer, academics Dr Suzi Gage and Professor Marianne Van Den Bree, poet Fisky, artists Christine Rai and Liz Atkin, mental health advocate Chineye Njoku and Dr Alan Cooklin, psychiatrist and founder of the charity Our Time which helps children whose parents experience mental health problems.  Aimed at young people aged 10 and upwards.

Part of the groundbreaking and important 'And Other Big Questions' series, which offers balanced and considered views on the big issues we face in the world we live in today.

Other titles in the series include:
What is Gender? How does it define us?
What is Feminism? Why do we need it?
What is Consent? Why is it important?
What is Masculinity? Why does it matter?



What is Mental Health? Where does it come from? And Other Big Questions by Lucy Maddox is the latest title in Wayland's 'Big Questions' series. As the title suggests, it provides an overview on issues surrounding mental health, including what it is, why it's important and how to get support.

As you'd hope from a book called What Is Mental Health?, it starts with a clear definition of what mental health is: 'Our mental health is to do with how we think and feel about ourselves, the world around us and other people'. Maddox further defines it as a spectrum, and that everyone has mental health (in the same way that everyone is somewhere on the spectrum of physical health).

The book also features a diverse range of individuals (including athletes, artists, mental health advocates, poets, academics and psychiatrists) talking about their experiences with mental health, addressing how it has impacted their lives, and offering practical tips and advice to readers.

Mental health is a hot topic at the moment, and this book provides a great entry point - it's a short book intended as an introduction to the subject for children, and handily provides links to further information and useful resources for those struggling with their own mental health, for those with wanting to support loved ones, or for those curious and interested in the subject.

Despite being such a short book, it covers a lot of ground and offers plenty of advice, tips and wisdom for its readers. It can be read through in an hour or so, or dipped into as needed as a useful reference.

48 pages / Ages 10-14 years / Reviewed by Dan Katz, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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