Degree Type

Creative Component

Semester of Graduation

Spring 2021



First Major Professor

Brandon Sams


Master of Arts (MA)




Mental health issues are prevalent in society today, yet there is still a great deal of shame attached to them. Because of this, steering students towards books where protagonists struggle with mental health is essential. Young adult literature can teach adolescents about mental health. In my unit plan on destigmatizing mental health issues, ninth-grade students participate in literature circles while reading novels, such as Breathing Underwater and All the Bright Places, Made You Up, Underwater, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story that depict mental health issues directly and without stigma. Students conduct research projects and learn coping strategies such as journaling, art therapy, and music during class. Students apply coping strategies to their own lives, as well as the protagonists of their novels. My unit plan also incorporates drama activities, specifically Theater of the Oppressed, in order for students to bring awareness to the commonality of mental health issues and teach their peers that there should not be shame around asking for help with mental health. Using this method, students will realize that everyone struggles. We can learn from literary protagonists and teach students that mental health is not something to be ashamed about.

Copyright Owner

Petersen, Kaitlin

File Format


Embargo Period (admin only)



Included in

Education Commons