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From Solitary Confinement to Body Dysmorphia: Looking at Mental Health in 2016

As we leave behind a particularly traumatic year, a look back on some of our mental health coverage: stories of people struggling with mental illness, working to improve treatment, and fighting against systems that contribute to America's mental health...
Illustration by Julia Kuo

Talking about mental health issues with sensitivity, kindness, and even humor is one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal when it comes to defeating the specter of these life-threatening illnesses.

Here are our favorite mental health stories from 2016.

Photo by Trent Lanz via Stocksy

The Shocking, Painful Trauma of Being a Trans Prisoner in Solitary Confinement

"Maintaining the fantasy of a gender binary is vital to the functioning of the prison industrial complex."

Screenshot via 'A Shot Of Love With Tila Tequila'


The Woman Teaching Reality TV Stars How to Not Go Crazy

While inciting a Britney-circa-2007 breakdown—complete with umbrella—may make for entertaining footage, it's easy to forget the human cost of reality TV. Meet the woman helping reality TV stars stay sane.

Photo courtesy of Janet Crane

The Grandma Suing a Utah Prison Over Her Teenage Grandson's Suicide

Brock Tuckerr was a teenage delinquent who took his own life in prison, but his grandmother is fighting for justice in his name. Tucker's case is a reminder that there are many other mentally ill teenagers currently being locked up and denied basic care, and the fight for Tucker is a fight for all of them.

Trapped Without Hope: The Hidden Mental Health Crisis in Women's Prisons

The criminal justice system responds woefully to those with mental health issues, and even more woefully to women with mental health issues. Find out why.

Illustration by Marne Graham

'It's the Devil': Coming to Terms with My Sister's Schizophrenia

For every person who struggles with a mental illness, there's a family member or friend for whom the disease also takes a toll. Read one writer's powerful account of living with her sister's mental illness.

Illustration by Vivian Shih

'In the Mirror, What I Saw Was a Monster': Living with Body Dysmorphic Disorder

"I am depressed, I hate my body. I need to see a doctor. And if that doesn't work, nothing will. I'm not pretty enough to live."

Illustration by Ashley Goodall

'I Thought My Baby Was a Little Horse': Why Some Women Trip After Giving Birth

When is tripping not fun? When you've just pushed a baby out of your vagina and you're tired and want to sleep but all you can see when you look at your newborn is a teeny, tiny horse. Or an old lady. As if childbirth isn't terrifying enough.

Illustration by Marne Grahlman


The Woman Standing Up for Mothers Who Kill Their Children

A heartbreaking and important profile of a criminal justice champion.

Photo by Harald Walker via Stocksy

Why So Many Teen Girls Are Poisoning Themselves

Who'd be a teenager? Truly, you couldn't pay me to go back. Learn more about the dangerous rise in teen girls using poison as a way to self-harm, with courageous and articulate testimony from the teenagers themselves.

Photo by Lumina via Stocksy

When You Can't Stop Thinking About Killing Your Boyfriend

Intrusive thoughts sound relatively innocuous—but women who suffer from them are plagued by horrifying thoughts of committing murder and incest.