Today is Suicide Prevention Day and I strongly believe books may be helpful to deal with one’s own mental health as well as educate you about living with different mental illnesses. Sometimes it’s important that you’re not alone. Sometimes it helps if someone’s living a similar life and they get their happy end.
Books can be helping if they’re written by someone who either lives what they are writing about or have done extensive research and used ownvoices beta readers that is. Also even an ownvoices author would benefit from those beta readers because there is the possibility of internalized ableism and mental illnesses are individual so the experiences differ.
If you or someone you know struggles with suicidal thoughts please reach out to professional help.
Mental Health in Queer Books
Even though it’s Suicide Prevention Day I won’t be only recommending queer books that deal with suicidal thoughts and/or suicide. In my eyes, different mental illnesses may cause suicidalness so that’s why my recommendations are being somewhat broader than this day calls for.
Suicide Watch by Kelley York
18-year-old Vincent Hazelwood has spent his entire life being shuffled from one foster home to the next. His grades sucked. Making friends? Out of the question thanks to his nervous breakdowns and unpredictable moods. Still, Vince thought when Maggie Atkins took him in, he might’ve finally found a place to get his life—and his issues—in order.
But then Maggie keels over from a heart attack. Vince is homeless, alone, and the inheritance money isn’t going to last long. A year ago, Vince watched a girl leap to her death off a bridge, and now he’s starting to think she had the right idea.
Vince stumbles across a website forum geared toward people considering suicide. There, he meets others with the same debate regarding the pros and cons of death: Casper, battling cancer, would rather off herself than slowly waste away. And there’s quiet, withdrawn Adam, who suspects if he died, his mom wouldn’t even notice.
As they gravitate toward each other, Vince searches for a reason to live while coping without Maggie’s guidance, coming to terms with Casper’s imminent death, and falling in love with a boy who doesn’t plan on sticking around.
A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra
My review of A Tiny Piece of Something Greater | Add on Goodreads
Reid Watsford has a lot of secrets and a past he can’t quite escape. While staying at his grandmother’s condo in Key Largo, he signs up for introductory dive classes, where he meets Joaquim Oliveira, a Brazilian dive instructor with wanderlust. Driven by an instant, magnetic pull, what could have been just a hookup quickly deepens. As their relationship evolves, they must learn to navigate the challenges of Reid’s mental illness—on their own and with each other.
Raze by Roan Parrish
My review of Raze | Add on Goodreads
Sometimes the walls we build to save ourselves have to come tumbling down.
For the last ten years, Huey has built his life around his sobriety. If that means he doesn’t give a damn about finding love or companionship for himself, well, it’s probably better that way. After all, the last thing he wants is to hurt anyone else. Until Felix Rainey walks into his bar, fresh-faced, unbearably sweet—and, for some reason Huey can’t fathom, interested in him.
As the eldest of five kids, Felix Rainey spent his childhood cooking dinner, checking homework, and working after-school jobs. Now in his twenties, he’s still scrambling to make ends meet and wondering what the hell he’s doing with his life. When he meets Huey, he’s intimidated . . . and enamored. Huey’s strong and confident, he owns his own business—hell, he’s friends with rock stars. What could he ever see in Felix?
As Huey and Felix get closer, the spark catches and soon they can’t get enough of each other. But Huey’s worked hard to avoid intimacy, and Felix threatens his carefully constructed defenses. Huey realizes he needs to change if he wants to truly put his past behind him—and build a future with Felix.
Deference by Lila Mina
Lana Martin is a strong, hot-tempered businesswoman working in Tokyo. On a whim, she accepts the indecent proposal of her martial arts instructor to become his submissive according to very special rules.
Their affair sets fire to another blaze, this time between her and Honda’s wife, Yuki. Her powerful gentleness is the perfect balance to Honda’s harsh demands, and Lana embraces what the couple offers her.
But nothing is truly as it seems, and Honda seems to have skeletons in his closet that are as big as Lana’s. Their tempers clash, their sessions turn darker and increasingly dangerous, but Lana doesn’t want to walk away.
Grasping at straws and shaken by unexplainable encounters that leave her doubting her sanity, Lana must face the darkness eating her, while pulling back Honda from the brink of madness. Yuki’s unwavering strength keeps them sane – but for how long?
A dark, scorching hot and fast-burn paranormal romantic mystery, Temper: Deference is the first book of the Temper saga and ends with a cliffhanger. It continues with Temper: Dread.
The series features a seasoned interracial bi and pan triad who founds a polyamory family.
It contains highly graphic scenes between consenting adults and is intended for mature audiences.
Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke
Dying isn’t what it used to be.
Wes Cooper was dead. Then he wasn’t—though he’s not exactly alive, either. As an immortal not-ghost, he can transition between this world and the otherplane, which makes him the perfect thief for hire. For seventy years he’s made a “living” returning items to their rightful owners, seeing his fair share of the bizarre in the process. But he’s never witnessed murder. Until now.
His latest mission brings him more than he bargained for: a very-dead actor who is definitely going to stay that way. It’s just Wes’s luck that his ex-boyfriend, Detective Hudson Rojas, is assigned to the case. Hudson broke Wes’s heart years ago—and could again, given he’s rocking a hot silver-fox look that shouldn’t be legal.
As they work together to track down the murderer before anyone else gets hurt, it becomes clear Wes and Hudson have unfinished business. And when a secret Hudson’s been keeping threatens more than just their happiness, it might mean the end of their not-life together—permanently.
The Devil You Know by Camilla Quinn
Tom used to be a lot of things: assassin, interrogator, sadistic. But for the past decade he’s worked on being a better person, a good father to his loving daughter. But for a man with his past, a bullet is the only end he can expect—he just hopes his daughter will survive the inevitable fallout.
Doro has no illusions about himself: provocateur, infiltrator, killer. After years of civil war, the Vaylen Family has settled, and their leader wants to tie up loose ends. That includes getting rid of the only man to ever walk away from the family, and it’s Doro she sends to get rid of the man once known as The Devil.
One Bullet by Casey Wolfe
When Ethan Brant was shot, he found himself dealing with severe PTSD and unable to do his job as a police officer any longer. With the aid of Detective Shawn Greyson, the man who saved his life, Ethan not only finds himself again but discovers love as well.
Shawn’s life growing up was less than ideal, however, he overcame that to become who he is today. That doesn’t mean he isn’t missing something in his life. What Shawn hadn’t realized, upon first meeting, was that Ethan could give him all that and more.
One bullet changed both their lives.
Maybe We’re All Ghosts Too by C. Downing
Ashok Kumar is nineteen years old, wheelchair-bound and desolate after the death of his boyfriend. There are only two things keeping him going: his work, as co-director of an independent film – and Kiran, his housemate, who is also a prostitute.
Both boys care deeply about each other, but are reluctant to enter into anything stronger than friendship, Kiran constrained by his present and Ashok by his past. As their relationship strengthens, Ashok becomes frustrated with what he sees as Kiran’s reluctance to save himself – and Kiran strives to protect him from the dark world of his work, while inadvertently drawing him in even deeper.
Eventually, they both know, they will have to make a choice between what they know – and what could be. Security, or love?
Tough Guy by Rachel Reid
They have nothing in common—so why does Ryan feel most like himself whenever he’s with Fabian?
Pro hockey star Ryan Price may be an enforcer, but off the ice he struggles with anxiety. Recently traded to the Toronto Guardians, he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s dynamic LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expects to stumble upon in his new neighborhood is a blast from his past in the fabulous form of Fabian Salah.
Aspiring musician Fabian loathes hockey. But that doesn’t stop him from being attracted to a certain burly, ginger-bearded defenseman. He hasn’t forgotten the kiss they almost shared back in high school, and it’s clear the chemistry between them has only intensified.
Fabian is more than happy to be Ryan’s guide to the gay scene in Toronto. Between dance clubs and art exhibits—and the most amazing sex—Ryan’s starting to feel something he hasn’t experienced in a long time: joy. But playing the role of the heavy on the ice has taken its toll on his body and mind, and a future with Fabian may mean hanging up his skates for good.
How to Grow An Addict by J.A. Wright
Randall Grange has been tricked into admitting herself into a treatment center and she doesn’t know why. She’s not a party hound like the others in her therapy group—but then again, she knows she can’t live without pills or booze. Raised by an abusive father, a detached mother, and a loving aunt and uncle, Randall both loves and hates her life. She’s awkward and a misfit. Her parents introduced her to alcohol and tranquilizers at a young age, ensuring that her teenage years would be full of bad choices, and by the time she’s twenty-three years old, she’s a full-blown drug addict, well acquainted with the miraculous power chemicals have to cure just about any problem she could possibly have—and she’s in more trouble than she’s ever known was possible.
Clean by Mia Kerick
High school senior Lanny Keating has it all. A three-sport athlete at Lauserville High School looking at a college football scholarship, with a supportive family, stellar grades, boy band good looks… until the fateful day when it all falls apart.
Seventeen-year-old Trevor Ladd has always been a publicly declared zero and the high school badboy. Abandoned by his mother and sexually abused by his legal guardian, Trevor sets his sights on mere survival.
Lanny seeks out Trevor’s companionship to avoid his shattered home life. Unwilling to share their personal experiences of pain, the boys explore ways to escape, leading them into sexual experimentation, and the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol. Their mutual suffering creates a lasting bond of friendship and love.
When the time finally comes to get clean and sober, or flunk out of high school, only one of the boys will graduate, while the other spirals downward into addiction.
Will Lanny and Trevor find the strength to battle their demons of mind-altering substances as well as emotional vulnerability?
Clean takes the reader on a gritty trip into the real and raw world of teenage substance abuse.
Which queer books did you enjoy that fit into my approach on Suicide Prevention Day?