Mental Health Benefits of Harry Potter

by Jeff Stoyanoff

While we all agree that reading any of the Harry Potter books is quite an enjoyable experience, I do not think that we all realize how it affects our mental health. Ask yourself: If I am sad/depressed and then read Harry Potter, do I feel better? I think that the answer you will find almost without exception will be: Yes, I do feel better. (Of course a possible exception would be after finishing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the hundredth time in eager anticipation for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to be released.) The wonderful story of Harry Potter, “The Boy Who Lived,” is inspirational and it acts as a source of positive feelings and happiness.

I personally have recommended to friends having troubles their lives or are just feeling down that they should try reading the Harry Potter series. When a friend has taken my advice and read one of the books, or the entire series as it usually turns-out, he or she feels noticeably better afterwards. Am I saying that Harry Potter is a miracle drug for those who are depressed or have mental problems? Well, in the words of Albus Dumbledore, “Yes… and no.” Harry Potter could very well be a treatment for minor/low-grade depression. The uplifting story, the good morals, and the wonderful camaraderie between all of the good characters might very well be something that makes one who is depressed regain confidence in themselves or faith in the world, amongst other things, to a degree that could significantly improve their attitude and mood.

In any event, if you or someone you know is severely depressed, professional help should be sought. I am only suggesting that the wonderful story of Harry Potter could be not only a great reading experience, but also a refreshing experience that could brighten a person’s spirit and make that person feel better about life and him/herself. Undoubtedly the Harry Potter series is magical in a literary sense, yet it also holds great power in its affect upon all of us.