Home > Reading Challenges > Mental Illness Advocacy (MIA) Reading Challenge 2011

Mental Illness Advocacy (MIA) Reading Challenge 2011

About the Challenge:
I decided to start hosting the Mental Illness Advocacy (MIA) Reading Challenge in 2011 in an effort to raise awareness, knowledge, and acceptance of mental illness. Reading, both fiction and nonfiction, is an excellent way to broaden one’s horizons and expose one to new ideas and ways of thinking and being. Many reading challenges already exist in the book blogging community to address racism, sexism, and homophobia, but I could not find any to address the stigma faced by those suffering from mental illness. In spite of mental illnesses being recognized by the scientific community as diseases just like physical ones, many still think those suffering from one are at fault for their own suffering. I hope reading and reviewing books featuring characters struggling to deal with mental illness, whether their own or another person’s, will help remove the stigma faced on a daily basis by those with a mental illness. They already have to struggle with an illness; they shouldn’t have to face a stigma too.

Challenge Levels:
Acquainted–4 books
Aware–8 books
Advocate–12 books


  • Books read for the challenge must address mental illness in some way.  If it’s fiction, a character has a mental illness.  It can also be non-fiction ranging from self-help books to academic books on the topic.
  • No book read for the challenge may demonize the mentally ill.  They certainly can be presented as 3-dimensional, flawed characters, but absolutely not demonized or presented as “crazy” etc…  That goes against the purpose of this challenge.
  • Books you read for this challenge can be counted for other challenges as well.
  • Be sure to point out what mental illness or illnesses are addressed in the book in your review of the book.  If you use LibraryThing or GoodReads in lieu of blogging, please just note it in the tags on the book or in the comment stating you’ve completed the book.

Reading Suggestions and Review Links:
Check out the official MIA Reading Challenge page to find reading suggestions.  Also use the comments section on that page to post links to your reviews.

Sign Up:
Sign up by commenting in the comments section below with a link to your official sign-up post!  If you don’t blog but use LibraryThing or GoodReads, you can still participate!  Just note that in your comment.

Spread the Word:
Help get the word out on the challenge!  Blog, tweet, facebook, email, whatever you can think of to do about it!  Please feel free to grab the image above to post on your blog as well.  This is a fun way to address an important cause.  🙂

  1. mrsborderlinehughbanks
    December 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I would like to participate here is my blog link http://mrsborderlinehughbanks.wordpress.com/

    • December 16, 2010 at 4:11 pm

      Yay! So glad to have our first participant!

  2. Karen E
    December 16, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    I’d like to participate too! (I kind of have a head start – I own one of the books on the list!) I’d also like to suggest for the Borderline Personality sections “Get me out of here” by Rachel Reiland.

    • December 17, 2010 at 9:05 am

      Great, Karen! Glad to hear it. I’ll add your suggestion to the reading list today. 🙂

  3. December 18, 2010 at 1:52 am

    I’d love to do this one. I’ve read several of those on your list and am always looking for more on the topic. Will write up a post and link as soon as I can. Sign me up please.

    • December 18, 2010 at 8:53 am

      Excellent, Sandra! I’ll have to check out your reviews for the ones you’ve already read. I haven’t read everything on the list, but I have read some of them. 🙂

  4. December 18, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Wonderful reading challenge, Wolfy! My debut novel: Where Are the Cocoa Puffs?: A Family’s Journey would be a great book to add to your reading challenge! Check out my review from the NAMI Advocate: http://www.nami.org/ADVTemplate.cfm?Section=Advocate_Magazine&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=111235

    • December 20, 2010 at 8:47 am

      Thank you, Karen! I’ll be sure to add your book to the list.

  5. December 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I’m definitely down for this! One a month sounds like a good schedule! Thanks for the list too, very helpful!!

    • December 20, 2010 at 8:55 pm

      Yay! Looking forward to your reviews! And I’m glad you found the list helpful. 🙂

  6. Karen E
    December 20, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    So if this is a challenge, how/where do we log what we’ve read? Will there be subsequent posts we respond to or is this strictly an “on your honor” challenge?

    • December 20, 2010 at 8:57 pm

      Well, usually in the book blogging community, it’s an “on your honor” challenge. You’ll go to the challenge page (https://opinionsofawolf.wordpress.com/mia-reading-challenge/) and post links either to reviews of the books you read on your own blog or to your entries of the books on a LibraryThing or GoodReads account. If you don’t have a blog, a LibraryThing, or a GoodReads, you can just go to that page (https://opinionsofawolf.wordpress.com/mia-reading-challenge/) and write a comment with the book’s title, author, and a bit of what you think about it when you finish each book. The point of this is to stimulate discussion, thought, and attention to books addressing the issue or theme of the challenge. Hope that helps!

  7. Lindy
    December 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    I should learn somethign from this one, may e i should focus on 1 or 2 diseases.

    • December 23, 2010 at 1:01 pm

      Of course, you can do it however you like! Focus in on a few illnesses or try to get a broad spectrum. 🙂

  8. mrsborderlinehughbanks
    December 28, 2010 at 2:31 am

    I was wondering should we wait till Jan 1st to start or could we start early??

    • December 28, 2010 at 10:09 am

      I’d say, go ahead and start, and we’ll count anything you finish from January on. 🙂

  9. January 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I would like to participate, and also thank you for creating a challenge for this topic. It’s something close to home for me, and helping people understand mental illness of all kinds is very important. When I finish the challenge, I plan on making a donation, to the Canadian Schizophrenic Society.

    Here is my sign up post http://bkwrmjchallenges.blogspot.com/2011/01/mental-illness-advocacy.html but all reviews will be at Julesbookreviews.com

    Again, thank you for hosting the challenge.

    • January 5, 2011 at 9:05 am

      Awesome! I’m so glad others are enjoying the idea. And I absolutely *love* your idea of donating to a mental illness charity at the end of the challenge. I’ll definitely toss something up about that closer toward the end of the year as a suggestion. 🙂

  10. Jenn
    January 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Thank you so much for putting this together! Will spread the word!

    • January 6, 2011 at 9:37 am

      My pleasure! I’m glad folks are starting to get interested in it. 🙂

  11. Snowball
    January 9, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I’m aiming for ADVOCATE level. We’ll see what happens.

    The link to my page is here: http://comesitbythehearth.blogspot.com/2011/01/mental-illness-advocacy-mia-reading.html

    • January 10, 2011 at 8:40 am

      Yay! So happy for another participant! Good on you for attempting the advocate level. 🙂

  12. January 22, 2011 at 7:05 am

    I’d like to sign up as well. I’m aiming for Acquainted at the moment, might move it up later.
    Thank you for creating this challenge.

  13. Rachael
    June 1, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I would like to use this idea for my mental health advocacy committe. Any chance we can exchange emails?

    • June 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      You’re more than welcome to take the idea and adapt it to your group, but if you’d like to chat some about it, my email is opinionsofawolf (at) gmail (dot) com.

  1. December 16, 2010 at 3:05 am
  2. December 31, 2010 at 1:03 am
  3. June 1, 2011 at 1:57 am

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