Stories, Stigma, and the "Shaggy, Sharp-Toothed Thing"

In 1949, the organization now known as Mental Health America named May Mental Health Awareness Month, but mental health awareness is appropriate for all seasons. "Mental health" as a concept can be seen as coterminous with the human experience, and yet it also suggests distinct genres of suffering that persist in our families and our society. These pieces touch on the implications of mental illness for crime and punishment in the US, the challenges of crafting narratives that do justice to the realities of mental illness, and the literary triumphs when authors illuminate what Esmé Weijun Wang calls in her essay collection The Collected Schizophrenias "the shaggy, sharp-toothed thing." — LARB Editorial