Reviewed on 24th June 2016

Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson

Genre: Motivation and Self Help / Non-Fiction
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Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson Synopsis

We all have a mind, so we all need to take care of our mental health as much as we need to take care of our physical health. And the first step is being able to talk about our mental health. Juno Dawson leads the way with this frank, factual and funny book, with added information and support from clinical psychologist Dr Olivia Hewitt. Covering topics from anxiety and depression to addiction, self-harm and personality disorders.

Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson Review

The Ultimate Mental Heath Survival Guide

It has been no secret that I, myself suffer from anxiety. It was however a complete shock to me when later in life I was given a ‘name‘ for what I was feeling. For a long time, far too long in fact, I suffered Panic Attacks and debilitating sleepless nights and those who knew me simply said I ‘thought too much‘, or I was ‘slightly neurotic‘.

I never sought out help. I never asked for advice, picked up a phone or a book.

I wish I had.

Had I reached for a book, I would like to think that this one would have been placed in my hands. My life as a teenager and a young adult may well have been much more manageable with the knowledge it would have armed me with.

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Who is the book aimed at?
Mind Your Head is aimed at teens primarily, but given my personal experiences with anxiety, I was intrigued to see how a writer would approach the issues of mental health, because let’s face it, speaking to hormonal teenagers can be hard at the best of times. How do you write a book about something so important in a way that actually makes them sit up and listen or even ask for help? How would I go about talking to my own daughters about these issues? Actually, I probably won’t have that issue, because both my daughters will have already read this book – I will make sure of it.

I felt a real connection to the author, Juno Dawson. As I turned the last page, I felt like I had a found a confidant, a friend, someone who understood the spaghetti junction style mess that is inside my head. If ‘teens’ who read this book feel the same connection, we are already halfway there!

Mind Your Head, written by Juno, (with some sage advice from the incredibly talented Dr Olivia Hewitt) is a book that I strongly believe should be given to each and every student at school or college. Something given to all teenagers as a coming of age present. A resource for those who suffer, as well as a comprehensive guide for those who need to understand them.

Mental health is not something that should only be discussed by those who suffer, but by everyone. Education is the only way we can truly tackle the taboo and stigma that surrounds mental illness.

Take a Peek Inside…
The statistics section of the book was particularly interesting. Juno breaks down the figures and puts them on the page for everyone to see.

“1 in 10 young people suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder –
so in a class of 30, that’s three young people”.

I genuinely sat back in my bed and thought about that for a second. Three people in my college class would have been suffering. I was one, so at least two others. Two other people I could have talked to that would have understood. Two other people that probably felt just as scared or alone as me. My daughter could be one of those three in the future. Shouldn’t everyone in the class know about these issues? Wouldn’t the teenage years feel a lot less lonely if everyone understood each other?

“Nearly 80,000 young people suffer from severe depression”

That figure alone should make us realise that this issue is not going away any time soon. But would that number drop if those who suffered actually felt able to talk about the things that scare them openly? If they felt understood or even simply heard?

Juno has written what I can only describe as the perfect guide to mental health. One that is understandable, relatable and not only factual but also truly humorous in a gallows humour kind of way.

But Mind Your Head is not just about Anxiety. Although that part in particular was helpful to me, other sections in the book such as Self Harm, Anorexia and Body Dysmorphia made me realise that, I too, have a lot to learn about other aspects of mental health.

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This Book is for You if…
Well, quite frankly, this book is for everyone, even if it is not aimed at you or even your age range. Everyone should pick this book up at least once in their lives. Why?
Because those who don’t understand Mental Health can gain so much. Those who don’t suffer will gain an understanding of those around them. Have you ever looked at a friend who is spiraling into depression and wondered “why can’t they just smile and be happy” – or even looked at a friend and thought “why does she think she is fat. She is slim and beautiful, why can’t she see it?” This book explains it all. It breaks down the barriers of emotions that people around us may be feeling and truly explains why we are the way we are.

For those who experience mental health issues, you finally feel like you are being ‘understood‘. Like someone has taken all that mess in your head, worked it all out and put it in a book for you to give to your friends or family and say “Here, read this. This is how I feel.”

Tone and Illustrations
The relaxed nature of the book coupled with the ‘active’ sections actually engage you as a reader. For those affected by the books various conditions, this book gives you tools to help you fight on those days where you feel most alone and confused.

The illustrations at first might seem a little juvenile for any ‘adults’ or even ‘young adults’ reading the book, but actually, they gave the book a sense of lightness. Which for such heavy topics was a relief.

In fact, in my opinion, having now placed the book in my library next to some of highest regarded Self-Help books, I now see that the illustrations are the work of a genius. Stripping back the adult in me and taking me back to the time when I looked for the pictures in books. Allowing me to feel as vulnerable as I did when I was a teenager and it made me read it with younger adults in mind. The friendly nature of the writing teamed with these fabulous sketches and explanations only serves to strengthen the point that at some point in our childhood, we all suffered something that we felt others could not relate to. It makes us all equal and vulnerable and open to help and education. Quite frankly a stroke of genius.

Mind Your Head should be placed on the bookshelves of every teen across the globe, given to each student at college and offered to parents as a ‘spot the signs’ bible. A truly educational read.

Published by: Hot Key Books
ISBN: 978-147140-531-0

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