What is it about?

What can a vampire story tell us about the experience of mental illness or self-harming behaviour? Contemporary vampire texts for teens and young adults often feature protagonists who struggle with mental challenges. With a primary focus on Vampire Academy and Bloodlines by Richelle Mead, this paper examines the representations of mental and mood disorders, self-harming and suicide, tracing how YA vampire fiction revamps the Romantic(ized) notion of “madness” - and its connections to love, creativity, vampirism and gender - for the needs of contemporary young reader.

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Why is it important?

According to WHO, up to one-fifth of adolescents worldwide suffer from a mental health condition, and suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15–19-year-olds (2019). Responsible cultural representations can work to reduce the stigma attached to mental health problems and send a positive message to young people suffering from mental distress. Exploring a wide spectrum of mental and mood disorders in a thoughtful and sensitive way, Richelle Mead’s internationally acclaimed series deliver a powerful account of young people struggling with mental challenges, raising important questions about their experiences and discussing the strategies of coping.

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This page is a summary of: Suicide, depression and mental disorder in vampire fiction: when the world starts crumbling, Continuum, March 2021, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/10304312.2021.1936827.
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