Like many literary fiction novels, The Fifth Floor tells a story that transcends time.
We’ve all heard of mental illness and mental health conditions, but there may be some confusion about the difference between the two terms. To clarify, according to National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), “a mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood.”
A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event: “Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime.”
Although The Fifth Floor takes place in the 1980s, the mental health issues that afflict the characters are much like the afflictions of teens today. According to NAMI, “…half of mental health conditions begin by age 14, and 75% of mental health conditions develop by age 24.”
In my opinion, NAMI’s data on mental health lends itself to a realization that our basic emotional needs are craving attention.
Could the problem partly be the stigma associated with mental health conditions that might prevent kids and adults from seeking help?
NAMI and MHA (Mental Health of America) are working diligently to educate people with hope of our country someday becoming a stigma-free nation.
The Fifth Floor and Just Like Ziggy were written with a similar vision.
Though both novels are written in literary fiction, Anna’s journey has a realistic feel relating to readers of all ages, regardless of the decade; a glimpse into a story that transcends time. Through Anna’s thoughts and internal dialogue, readers experience first-hand a gut-wrenching struggle of a girl’s journey, her secretive past, and the people who hope to save her.