Professor Belli | Spring 2022 | City Tech

Can Science Fiction Help with Mental Health?

 

Proposal:

Science Fiction had impacted many people in the world and it had somehow it had changed the way people view things in society. From movies to books science fiction had encouraged people to visualize a better world where everyone is united and are all of the same species. Science fiction has a sense of making people feel better within by transporting us to a better world than the world we are in now. In my experience from movies to reading science fiction, it helped calm my mind from the frustration of the world. So I’m curious about knowing how science fiction make other feels and can science fiction help with mental health?

 

  1. Source: Website

Title: 5 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books That Treat Mental Illness with Compassion

Bibliographic Information:

Spach, Ardial. “5 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books That Treat Mental Illness with Compassion.” B&NREADS, 18 May 2016, https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/5-sci-fi-fantasy-books-that-treat-mental-illness-with-compassion/.

Brief Summary:

This website shows how 5 speculative fiction books that address mental illness. For this assignment, I will mention only two books. The first book is called Borderline by Mishell Baker this book is about how the protagonist name Millie is recovering from a suicide attempt and while she’s recovering she was approached by a mysterious woman with an offer to join a secret government initiative called The Arcadia. Her mental illness makes her a prime candidate to deal with controlling traffic between earth and a parallel reality inhabited by fairies.  Millie starts to solve a missing person case of a nobleman, working undercover in Hollywood as a high-profile star. As she struggles to solve the case, Millie comes to terms with her mental health struggles and her new place in the world. The author believes this might be the only book that but mental health illness at the forefront and gives people who face similar issues a protagonist they can root for. The second book is called Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire and is about how children find themselves and their way of life in other lands through secret doorways and magical portals but the question the author asks is what happens to them when they come back and must adjust to the mundane world?  And Eleanor West who I believe is a character in this book was one of those kids and she opened her home to help kids cope with the extreme depression that comes with giving up on ever returning to a magical land. A world where nothing has changed at all, but those who have returned are radically different, and can’t figure out how to fit in.

Evaluation:

Even though the books are intriguing to read and are related to mental health and the characters suffer from mental health it could be either anxiety or depression. Each book has its setting and conflicts for example in the Borderline by Mishell Baker the main character Millie suffers from mental illness and while she tries to help the government she also has to figure out how to save herself from mental health and what she wants in life. In the second book Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, the kids somehow find a doorway that leads them to a better world but once they come back to reality they need some type of guidance to deal with depression after giving up their magical island but  I feel like the books on this website are not answering the question I’m trying to answer. Also, it’s not insuring me how science fiction books can help with mental health and what type of strategies science fiction have to help reduce mental health.

  1. Source: Website

Title: Science fiction helps build mental resilience in young people

Bibliographic Information:

“Science Fiction Helps Build Mental Resilience in Young People | RNZ.” RNZ, RNZ, 19 July 2020, https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/2018755593/science-fiction-helps-build-mental-resilience-in-young-people.

Brief Summary:

This source mentions how Associate Professor  Ester Jones of English at Clark University in Massachusetts research shows sci-fi and fantasy may help young people cope, especially with the stress and anxiety of living through Covid-19.  Professor Jones says science fiction and fantasy are valuable because it challenges the horizon and social assumptions of people. Also, it mentions how the best science fiction literature available to us must be applied to the problems of our time and there is enough in the sci-fi text that we can easily recognize the tensity and challenges of everyday life. Professor Jones argues “ that with increasing rates of anxiety, depression and mental health issues among youth, it may be the case that young people are suffering reality overload. They have got unprecedented access to information about which they have little power to influence or change”. Jones gives an example of someone watching the news and how it would be entirely normal for anyone to feel depressed after watching the news. She says that Science fiction doesn’t make people depressed. Science fiction does offer certain habits of mind and inspires young people to wish for a utopian future or try to create a better world.

 Evaluation:

This article I truly enjoyed reading it because it reassure me that science fiction can help with mental health. Professor Jones’s research helped me understand that science fiction can be applied in some way to the problems in our life and the real world.  Also, one that I liked that I found interesting was when she found out that science fiction did help a lot of people with mental illness during COVID-19. When Professor Jones said that science fiction offers certain habits of mind and it inspires young people to create a better world. So It got me to think that after everything that is going on in the world mental illness it had probably increased and people should read more science fiction books or anything related to science fiction to put our minds at ease. Another thing that I liked was when Professor Jones gave the example of someone being depressed after watching the news for a while and how with science fiction that doesn’t happen.

  1. Source: Website

Title: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Build Mental Resiliency in Young Readers

Bibliographic Information:

“Sci-Fi and Fantasy Build Mental Resiliency in Young Readers – JSTOR Daily.” JSTOR Daily, https://www.facebook.com/JSTOR.org, 24 May 2020, https://daily.jstor.org/science-fiction-builds-mental-resiliency-young-readers/.

Brief Summary:

This is another article about Professor Esther and she explores the way science fiction promotes understanding of human differences and ethical thinking. This article talks about how many people do not consider science fiction, fantasy, or speculative fiction to be literary. Research shows that all fiction can cause critical thinking skills and emotional intelligence in young readers and she also said that science fiction may have a power all its own. Also, Jones said that reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world. Rather than restrict readers’ capacity to deal with reality. Creative stories may expand their ability to engage with reality based on science.  She also says to let people read science fiction, young people can see themselves coping, surviving, and learning lessons that may enable them to create their strategies for resilience, especially during Covid-19 was the best time to read science fiction.

 Evaluation:

This article is similar to the previous article about Professor Esther Jones. It kind of repeats itself mentioning similar quotes about Professor Jones and this one is written by her.  In this one article, she also mentions how science fiction helped with mental health during COVID-19. In this article, she mentions how people don’t consider science fiction and fantasy or speculative fiction to be literary but research shows that all science fiction can generate critical thinking skills and emotional intelligence for younger readers. Also, she says that reading science fiction and fantasy can help the reader make sense of the world. She gives examples of Harry Potter and Hunger Games and how youth see young people struggle with serious social, economic, and political issues that are pertinent to the world. This is new information that hasn’t been said in the previous article but  Even though this article mentions science fiction and mental health there is not enough concrete information on mental health and how it helps young people with their mental health.

  1. Source: Website

Title: Science Fiction and Mental Health: The Lost Opportunity

Bibliographic Information:

“Science Fiction and Mental Health: The Lost Opportunity – Mike Schlossberg – Author.” Mike Schlossberg – Author, https://www.facebook.com/WordPresscom, 28 Aug. 2018, https://mikeschlossbergauthor.com/2018/08/28/science-fiction-and-mental-healththe-lost-opportunity/.

Brief Summary:

In this article, the author was trying to answer his assumption about sci-fi and mental health. That mental illness and science fiction would be very popular subgenres. He talks about not finding many books that deal with mental health but one is called Portals by Kristy Acevedo. In his book  Redemption, he creates a lord of the flies-like world in a space ship and they were off to the races. The uttermost of the world in Redemption allowed the author to explore the mental illness of the main character, Ash. He says that even though it’s science fiction the restriction of the world is similar to the world in his book. He compares his book to Kristy Acevedo Portals and how the two books have similar exploration of mental illness. In Portals, is a fantasy world with aliens from the future who are trying to save the world. The main character has enfeebling anxiety issues and the extreme stress of the world has a major impact on mental health. He explains how he’s surprised that he hasn’t seen a lot of interaction between science fiction and mental health and in his opinion is a lost opportunity. science fiction allows people to break traditional boundaries. Also, he said how science fiction and mental illness is not a topic that has seen much interaction.

 Evaluation:

I can’t use this article because there is not enough source that proves science fiction does help with mental health. Even though the author trying to see that he hasn’t found a more informative source except for one called Portals by Kristy Acevedo. Also, in this article to me, the author is exploring if science fiction can help with mental health and he still trying to find more conclusive information if science fiction does help with mental health. He also, says that science fiction and mental health are topics that have not seen much interaction. One thing that I liked when he said that science fiction allows you to break traditional boundaries. But this article doesn’t help me with my research and what I interesting in knowing about science fiction and mental health.

3 Comments

  1. Jill Belli

    Thanks Alicia for this post, and for the really interesting topic … I love that you’re exploring the overlap between science fiction and mental health!

    Could you include a fully fleshed out research proposal (2-3 full paragraphs), being as specific as possible? This will help me to provide more helpful and targeted feedback to you on the project. [Check the guidelines on the Assignment (and what we’ve been discussing in our in-class workshops) for more details: https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/belli-sp2022-eng2420/research-project/#proposals_research

    Also, your annotations will need to include the full bibliographic information for each source, in MLA format.

    You can put these revisions as a “comment” here on this post. Thanks!

  2. Alicia Perozo

    Should science fiction be considered a method for mental health? I am proposing to research this topic because science fiction is a genre that is made of a fictional world where imagination has cant be tamped with. Since the beginning of science fiction had impacted many people in the world and it had somehow it had affected the way people view things in society. From movies to books science fiction had encouraged people to visualize a better world where everyone is either united or all of the same species. Science fiction has a sense of making people feel better within by transporting us to a better world than the world we are in now. In my experience from movies to reading science fiction, it helped calm my mind from the frustration of the world. So I’m curious about knowing what would be the outcome of mental health if science fiction was used as a treatment? According to Esther Jones, an English professor from Massachusetts research indicates that science fiction can help cope especially with stress and anxiety and this was proven during the pandemic of COVID-19. Also, according to her science fiction and fantasy are very valuable because it challenges the horizon and social assumptions of people. The best science fiction literature available to us has to be applied to the problem of our world and there is enough in science fiction that we can easily recognize the tensity and challenges of our everyday life. If science fiction has similar problems to that we face in our lives and we can understand the world through science fiction why can’t it be used to help people with mental illnesses?.

    I am interested in this topic because science fiction has an imagination that can transport people to another dimension and if science fiction can transport you to a different reality a reality where everything is either could be magical or you feel safe. Some questions that I will like to respond to through my research are can science fiction somehow help to calm people down? What I want to know to learn from my research is what particular section of science fiction help with mental health? and should people get involved with science fiction? What about science fiction that makes them feel safe? or put their minds at ease? And can it?

  3. Alicia Perozo

    Feedback:
    Arianna- likes my proposal and I have good ideas but I have some grammar errors and it needs to be organized.
    Carleen- if I’m going to use personal experience only or will be using other people’s personal experience? how will I narrow it down to answer my question?
    Brian- Also like my proposal and like my sentence “science fiction has an imagination that can transport people to another dimension and science fiction can transport you to a different reality a reality where everything either could be magical or you feel safe.” how I am using science as a magical topic.

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