20-Year-Old Author Publishes Memoir About Battling Selective Mutism

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Jonathan Kohlmeier details life-long journey through silence, addresses mental illness stigma

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For his entire childhood, Jonathan Kohlmeier was afraid of people. In his debut memoir, titled, “Learning to Play the Game,” Kohlmeier offers an intimate look into his life-long battle with selective mutism – an extreme form of social anxiety – as well as his journey to accepting himself and conquering his fears.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. and affect more than 40 million adults nationwide. Under that umbrella, social anxiety disorders afflict about 15 million people nationally. Written during Kohlmeier’s late teens, “Learning to Play the Game” offers context to adolescents or parents of children who suffer similarly.

“It’s critical that the adults in our lives – parents, teachers, physicians – confront stigma surrounding mental illness and not discount quiet children,” Kohlmeier said. “Mental health is a pressing issue, and it can only be properly addressed when its stigma is alleviated in homes, clinics and classrooms.”

Kohlmeier’s coming-of-age story takes readers from his terrifying first day of elementary school all the way into high school, in which the author eventually excels on the debate team. Ultimately, he accepts himself for who he is while also learning to cope with the social anxiety that had long intruded on his daily life.

Readers will find Kohlmeier’s first-person account, told through prose, text messages, lyrics and memories from his family, to be a refreshing and youthful memoir that takes a deep dive into what if means to suffer from mental illness as a young person.

“Learning to Play the Game”
By Jonathan Kohlmeier
ISBN: 978-1-48-345912-7 (paperback); 978-1-48-345913-4 (electronic)
Available at the Lulu Online Bookstore, Barnes & Noble and Amazon

About the author

Jonathan Kohlmeier grew up in Rockland County, N.Y., and was diagnosed with selective mutism when he was 5 years old. He completed his memoir, “Learning to Play the Game,” at age 19 and is passionate about confronting the stigma behind mental health issues. Kohlmeier currently attends college in San Francisco. To learn more please visit http://www.learningtoplaythegame.com/.


Review Copies & Interview Requests:
LAVIDGE – Phoenix
Danielle Grobmeier
480-998-2600 x 614

General Inquiries:
LAVIDGE – Phoenix    
Maggie Driver    
480-998-2600 x 584

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