Mental Health Sensitivity Reading

Sensitivity readers work with authors who are writing outwith their own experience to ensure that people from marginalised groups are not represented by authors who do not share that marginalisation in a harmful or offensive way. This might include highlighting errors and giving feedback on tropes, stereotypes, harmful word choices, clichés, plot points and depiction of culture, religion and societies. Suggestions may be given for alternative ways of approaching issues. We read for biases which the author might not realise they have.

I am a sensitivity reader for mood and anxiety disorders, and PTSD, using my own name, Laura McKendrick. If you would like feedback on descriptions of a symptom that another condition shares with any of these conditions please contact me via the Contact Form and we can discuss if this would be appropriate. I do not read for disability generally.

I have been receiving treatment for anxiety for almost 20 years, and mood disorders since I received a new diagnosis in the mid-2000s for anxiety and depression. In the last 10 years I have also experienced bipolar hypomania and mania, and disturbing images arising out of trauma.

I have attended talk therapy, group therapy, taken self-management courses, studied forensic psychology and psychiatry, and psychosis and schizophrenia, have access to numerous mental health resources including several webinars weekly

Before I accept a project, I will assess whether a manuscript is likely to be distressing to me as a reader. I will not read submissions containing details of child sex abuse. This is a highly specialised area of sensitivity reading and expert readers can be found by conducting specific internet searches.

Please get in touch via the Contact Form with enquiries.

“Laura read my romantic novel prior to publication as a sensitivity reader for mental health topics–anxiety and PTSD in particular. She picked up on problematic language use with a high degree of precision and gave well thought-out advice on each scene where the topics arose. She showed a clear understanding of both the way characters with mental health problems can be sympathetically portrayed and how a reader with mental illness would experience the characters. She also asked probing questions so I understood more clearly what I was trying to achieve with the mental health representation and make sure that was reflected in the finished book. Her input has ensured the manuscript can make a positive contribution. – Leonie Mack, author of My Christmas Number One (Boldwood Books, September 2020)

Extracts from *5 Star* Amazon Customer Reviews of ‘My Christmas Number One’ by Leonie Mack:

A festive, feel-good book with great lightness and vast emotional depth: the heroine’s backstory is incredibly sensitively dra[w]n out and it is one of the most accurate portrayals of anxiety and PTSD that I have ever read.” Mrs D L C Gowland

“I was hooked from the start and couldn’t put it down. It is much more than just a wonderful romance, which it is, along with hidden depth and insight into what shapes someone into the person they become. In this case it a traumatic past that has left wounds which are slowly revealed as the author gives an astute perspective of anxiety and mental health issues interwoven inside a love story.” Michelle McLaughlin

“As the title, set around Christmas, the book which is well written, covers the difficulties of coming to terms with disabilities and mental health issues and how despite all that life does go on and that we can all learn, change become a better person.” Cindy


“Laura did a sensitivity reading for a partial of my Adult Romance which features an MC with schizophrenia/psychosis and her feedback was invaluable.”

Jeanna Skinner, author of The Book Boyfriend (Violet Gaze Press, Coming October 2021)

Minimum consultation fee = $25/£20

Short story, or stories, or novelette, up to 20,000 words = $0.007/£0.006 per word.

Novella, up 30,000 words = Flat rate: $150 / £120

Short novel, up to 50,000 words. = Flat rate: $250 / £200

All other novels = $250 / £200+ Please ask for quote

Feedback on novel synopsis of up to 5 pages = Flat rate: $25/£20*

*Via your preferred means of communication

25% off for: underrepresented authors; unpublished authors.

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