May marks Mental Health Awareness Month. My dad is a psychiatrist, so I grew up in a household where talking about mental health was normalized and even encouraged (thankfully). And yet when I struggled with anxiety and depression later in my 20s, I still had trouble confronting what was going on. For me, reading books (fiction and nonfiction!) has been and still is an important coping mechanism for confronting issues that I face, understanding situations others are going through, and sometimes escaping the turmoil of my own mind.
Recognition of how important it is to take care of yourself mentally as well as physically has grown in recent years; however, mental health is still an issue that some people don’t feel comfortable discussing. With some help from Bookstagram, we’ve put together a list of people who never shy away from talking about tough topics, and who encourage you to take care of yourself and look out for others. We asked them what books they recommend for learning more about mental health, as well as what stories they turn to when they’re struggling.
Books of Every Size recommends The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, Mindset by Carol Dweck, Eating in the Light of the Moon by Anita Johnson, Beyond Beautiful by Anuschka Rees, and Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon
LPM Reads recommends Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson, Finding Quiet: My Story of Overcoming Anxiety and the Practices that Brought Peace by J.P. Moreland, A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis, Rising Strong by Brené Brown, Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton Porter, the poetry of T.S. Eliot and Mary Oliver, and anything by Sarah J. Maas
Sweating Till I Make It Too recommends Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, Welcome To My World by Curtis Bunn, Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks On Me by Charlamagne Tha God, The Mother of Black Hollywood by Jennifer Lewis, Everything Is An Emergency by Jason Adam Katzenstein
Megh’s Bookshelf recommends Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot, I Never Said I Loved You by Rhik Samadder, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson, Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
For more resources, please visit the National Institute on Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/index.shtml
Ellen Whitfield is senior publicist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.