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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness

June 2023

This June, DUP acknowledges Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month. PTSD is an emotional-behavioral dysfunction brought about by an acute or long-term experience so overwhelming or pervasive that the mind cannot analyze and resolve it promptly or properly; it gets "stuck," like a psychic indigestion. This processing disturbance can produce entrenched chronic (“post-”), unconscious and uncontrolled (“traumatic”), persistently physically associated (“stress”), and maladaptive (“disorderly”) changes in thought and behavior.

First described in writing - at least as early as 440 BCE - as an affliction of military servicemen and veterans, PTSD is now understood to result from a wide variety of traumatic origins. It can intersect with any identity, age, or life circumstance, and absolutely no one is immune.

These titles are recommended (in Fiction) for their accurate, non-sensationalized portrayals of many kinds of traumatic experience and aftermath, and in Nonfiction for high-quality mental health communication, both contemporary and classic. Children's and YA suggestions introduce the concept of trauma and its repercussions from, and for, younger perspectives. Media selections provide even more access to well-drawn PTSD portraits. 

It's worth noting the scarcity of many highly rated PTSD-focused titles in the BCCLS system, which constitutes an example of underservice to a known significant demographic.

If you don't happen to own many titles on this list, PTSD-germane plots and characters are easily found in feature films and fiction classics owned by almost every library, as seen in Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 and Richard IIICharlotte Brontë's Jane EyreArthur Miller's young accused witches of The Crucible, the Tony Stark we see in Iron Man 3, and even Hitchcock's Norman Bates

We hope this month's LibGuide helps you and your patrons to greater understanding of a chronic, debilitating distress disorder with which an estimated one in 11 humans worldwide will be diagnosed in their lifetime.

Recommended Titles

Picture Books

Middle Grade

Young Adult

Adult Fiction

Adult Memoir

Information and Self-Help


List Created By

Karlijn Jones and Aviva Rosenberg

Diverse & Underserved Populations Committee


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