5 helpful books that will educate you on mental health

October 10, 2020, is world mental health day. Awareness should be brought to this topic. Let’s discuss some mental health books that I believe shed light on those who suffer from mental health issues or can help those who want to understand what it is like for people who have mental health issues.

mental health books

Most of those who are uneducated on the topic of mental health believe it is just a way to have a nice relaxing self-care day to clear their mind and reset their life.

For most of my life, I was like that as well, but as I got older I realized that mental health was so much more than that, and I wanted to bring awareness by sharing 5 helpful books that will educate you on mental health.

Mental health is so much more than just how you are doing mentally, it is about your overall well being. It ranges from your stress levels to Anxiety disorders, depression, and bipolar. It could mean anything of PTSD and eating orders all the way to psychotic disorders.

Let’s dive into some books that shed light on the different disorders and how some learn to manage it.

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar could be read almost like a biography of Sylvia Plath. Another great mental health book. This book is the story of a poet who tries to end her life. Sylvia Plath did take her own life one month after this book was published under a pseudonym in 1963. Ester Greenwood is one of the dozen girls accepted as a guest editor of a teen fashion magazine.

She is struggling with wanting to become a poet or to settle down like many other girls in a life of marriage. We follow Ester down her spiraled path of identity, sexuality, and survival.

Prozac Nation – Elizabeth Wurtzel

A memoir of the author Elizabeth Wurtzel and her experiences with atypical depression, but not correctly diagnosed till she was older. Growing up Wurtzel was a great student with striaght A’s, but slowly started to act out and her mother can not figure out what to do about her behavior.

Her parents end up getting a divorce and do not hide the fact they do not like each other anymore. The divorce had a huge impact on her. Elizabeth decided that life would be better if she moved somewhere else and decided to go to college at Harvard. Thinking that living in different places would help her and her mood she travels all around the world while still regressing to her former depressive state.

After some time, Wurtzel started seeing therapists for help. After much trial and error, they finally get her on Prozac. Which takes a few weeks to start working and Elizabeth thinking it won’t. She tries to commit suicide.

13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher

I know a lot of you have probably seen the Netflix tv show. Hannah Baker takes her own life and leaves behind an audio suicide note that she has sent around to all the people who have directly or indirectly played a role in her taking her own life.

The last to receive these tapes is Clay a boy at Hannah’s school who liked her despite the rumors he had heard about her. Clay takes matters into his own hands to handle each person who aided in Hannah taking her life.

Hold Still – Nina Lacour

Hold Still is one of many great mental health books. The story follows a 16-year-old girl Caitlin who finds herself going down a dark road of depression because she blames herself for her best friend’s suicide.

Caitlin finds her Ingrid’s diary under her bed and decides to read an entry a day. She soon finds that she did not know her best friend at all. With each entry, she discovers a terrible secret life Ingrid had. Suffering from manic depression, suicidal tendencies, sexual deviance, self-mutilation.

Caitlin slowly realizes that she could blame herself for Ingrid’s death. Nothing could have been done because Ingrid made her decision. Getting to know more about her friend and her issues Caitlin was able to forgive herself, as well as Ingrid, and slowly move forward with her life.

This book shows us that you can’t always see whats going on with people internally. We hold a lot in and think no one would understand and the best way to deal with your burden is to take yourself out of the equation.

Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen

Girl, Interrupted is a memoir by Susanna Kaysen that describes her voluntary stay at a psychiatric hospital. After having a session with a psychiatrist she has never seen before. Susanna is put in a taxi and sent to McClean Hospital. She spends the next 2 years in the ward of teenage girls.

Kaysen gives a clear sight of what sane and insane diagnoses looks like when it comes to mental illness and recovery.

Mental health books that shed light on the topic

These were just 5 of the mental health books that I wanted to talk about. There are many more books on my list I could discuss if you guys would be interested in part 2. I could also share my struggles with mental health before or after leaving my abusive relationship.

Reading these types of books and seeing how people survive is a true inspiration that a diagnosis doesn’t define who you are as a person. It is definitely great for anyone who suffers from mental health issues and for those who want to know more about it to educate themselves.

More people should be able to open about their diagnosis and not feel shamed for it. If you or someone you know is in need of help please reach out to SAMHSA’s National Helpline

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

In the comments let me know what your biggest concern is about mental health is or what is your favorite book about Mental Health? I want to have an open conversation about everyone’s thoughts on this topic.

Until next time, have a great day

mental health books

21 Replies to “5 helpful books that will educate you on mental health”

  1. I think mental health is something everyone should read about. I get a lot of anxiety at random times, sometimes nothing has even triggered me. I’ll definitely be looking up a couple of these books!

    1. I am the same way, Krista. Out of nowhere anxiety just hits and I don’t know how to deal because I don’t know what caused it.

  2. I thought you were actually going to mention more like self-help books. But you didn’t and I think that’s great! Sometimes, oftentimes, we need to learn about a taboo topic through media that makes more sense to us, or that we can more easily relate to –like books! Thanks for these recommendations!

    1. Your comment made me laugh. I am sure a lot of people thought it was going to be self-help books. I wanted to share books I thought really shed light on some other mental health disorders.

  3. Being a counselor myself I’d highly recommend these books. I have read them and they are good!

    1. Aww, thank you Monidipa for agreeing with my book choices. I appreciate that.

  4. A really interesting selection. I downloaded a sample of Hold Still based on this review. A read the Bell Jar at the university, it made a huge impact esp when you know the backstory.

    1. The Bell Jar back story creeps me out a bit. Art imitates life. It’s kind of like she wrote the book on how she was expecting things to end and it took a turn.

  5. blair villanueva says: Reply

    Thanks for your book recommendation. I’ll share these with my friends, and maybe I’ll them as gifts.

    1. You are very welcome Blair.

  6. Your Happiness Toolkit book is a good one. For me, its all in the mind so when one thinks he or she is depressed then it will happen. Why not psych ones self to be happy and do amazing things instead?

    1. I will have to check out the happiness toolkit. I don’t think it’s all in the mind Kenneth. Some things just can’t be helped. There are many reasons why these mental health disorders happen, but I don’t think it’s all in the mind and that you can easily turn it off like a light switch.

  7. It’s 2020 and we must be serious about Mental Health and this post is the need of the hour. Very well written and of great importance.

    1. Thank you. I know what it is like to struggle and Mental health should be something we could talk about candidly like music or movies. No one should be embarrassed about anything.

  8. A lot of times mentally health is overlooked ad it’s so important. Thank you for these powerful resources.

    1. I don’t understand why it is so overlooked. It’s crazy.

  9. The Bell Jar sounds quite intense but I am quite interested to give it a read. I think education mental health should be more widely accepted and taught in our schools! Thanks for recommending these books because now I have 2 to add to my booklist.

    1. I soooooooo agree with you to teach mental health awareness in school.

  10. Girl Interrupted was also a good movie, I thought the cast did a fantastic job with it. I haven’t heard of the others (aside from 13 reasons why) so it is nice to know about those too.

    1. I would definitely always recommend reading the books. However, they did make all of these into movies, except Hold Still. The author Nina Lacour, as of July 2020 she raised enough money to turn it into a movie. They started filming on July 7th.

  11. Thanks for raising awareness for mental health and these books!

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