Mental illness is often portrayed inaccurately in the media, which can leave people with mental illnesses feeling misunderstood and alone.
However, there are a number of great books that explore mental illness from a realistic and thoughtful perspective. These books can offer comfort and understanding to those who are struggling, as well as insight to friends and family members of people with mental illnesses.
Here are 51 of our favorite mental illness books.
Written by: Sylvia Nasar
Sylvia Nasar's biography of mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr., A Beautiful Mind, is a story of obsession, genius, and betrayal. It is also the story of mental illness and its treatment. Nash was a mathematical prodigy who developed novel ideas about game theory and economic planning at a very young age. He also suffered from schizophrenia.
In the years following his diagnosis, Nash received both conventional and unconventional treatments for his illness, including psychoanalysis and psychedelic drugs. Despite his struggles with schizophrenia, he continued to pursue his work and achieve great success. In 1994, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. This biography is an insightful account of one man's fight against mental illness. Whether you’ve seen the movie of the same name or not, you will love this book.
Written by: Sheila Hamilton
What if you discovered that the life you built, the carefully curated existence you think is so typical, is actually chaos lurking just beneath the surface? That's what happened to Sheila Hamilton when she was suddenly faced with her husband's severe mental illness. In this raw and emotional memoir, Sheila shares everything she never knew about mental illness - the signs, the symptoms, how to cope.
Trying to keep the family together because of their young daughter, she tried anything and everything. However, after hearing of Sheila talking to a divorce lawyer and his father's death, David was unable to deal with his mental health issues and took his own life. However, the story doesn't stop there as you learn how Sheila could continue to raise her daughter and rebuild her life. If you're feeling lost and alone in your battle with mental illness, this book will open your eyes to all that mental illness can entail, and it will offer hope for healing.
Written by: Elyn Saks
In her memoir, Saks relates her harrowing journey through mental illness. Saks is a distinguished professor of law at the University of Southern California and a graduate of Yale Law School. However, at the young age of just eight-years-old, she started having mental health issues. They slowly became worse until she had all-out attacks, which included voices telling her to kill herself. One particular night was terrible, and she ended up locked in a psychiatric ward for five months.
She has later been diagnosed with schizophrenia. This book is not just a powerful account of one woman's struggle with a devastating mental illness. Still, it is also a testament to the human spirit and its ability to overcome even the most incredible odds no matter the horrors you have to face.
Written by: David Miklowitz
Published: 2002 with updates in 2010
If you or someone you love is affected by bipolar disorder, The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know can provide much-needed information and support. This book covers all aspects of the condition, from diagnosis to treatment options and tips for living well with bipolar disorder. It is beneficial to people dealing with bipolar disorder and family and friends.
Whether you are just starting your journey with bipolar disorder or are a seasoned pro, this book has something for you. Written by two experts in the field of mental health, The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide is an essential read for anyone affected by this complex condition.
Written by: David Burns
If you're one of the millions of Americans who suffer from anxiety or depression, you know how difficult it can be to live with these conditions. Everyday tasks can feel impossible, and the constant fear and sadness can be all-consuming. But there's good news: there is a new treatment for depression and anxiety that can help you get your life back on track.
David Burns is incredibly well-respected and has written numerous books using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) so people can heal themselves. Burns outlines this revolutionary approach, which has helped countless people achieve freedom from their symptoms in this book. Read on to learn more about this groundbreaking treatment if you're looking for a new way to overcome your depression or anxiety.
Written by: Kiera Van Gelder
In this book, Kiera Van Gelder explores the complex relationship between Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Buddhism. Drawing on her own experience with BPD, she attempted suicide at the age of twelve and then continued into an adult. It shows how living an utterly chaotic and ungrounded life, and she explores how therapy and Buddhism helped save her life. By interviewing Buddhist teachers and therapists, Van Gelder offers insight into how those with BPD can use Buddhist teachings to find relief from their symptoms.
This book is an essential resource for anyone touched by BPD. She also gives guidance for family members and friends of those with BPD, offering strategies for maintaining healthy relationships despite the challenges posed by this disorder. And, even though this is a serious condition, and book, the bits about online dating are funny too.
Written by: Iresha Picot
Mental health is a complex and important topic that often gets left out of mainstream conversations. This book provides an essential look at the mental health experiences of people of color. It is packed with narratives from people of all backgrounds, offering a variety of perspectives on mental health. The Color of Hope gives readers an understanding of the lives of people who are seldom heard from when it comes to this subject matter.
They include stories about depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. We appreciated that the memoirs came from people of color from all levels of society since mental health affects everyone no matter how successful. By sharing these stories, Iresha Picot has created an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to understand mental health from a diverse perspective.
Written by: Rachel Reiland
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a severe mental illness marked by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships. People with BPD often experience intense emotions and distorted thoughts that lead to impulsive actions and chaotic lives. At age 29, Reiland was diagnosed, and she started making sense of her rage, substance abuse, anorexia, and other issues, including suicidal thoughts. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with borderline personality disorder routinely rank among the highest mortality rates from all psychiatric illnesses.
Sadly, many people with BPD never receive the help they need and struggle for years or even decades before finally getting diagnosed. In her new book, Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder, Rachel Reiland tells her powerful story of battling BPD and ultimately finding hope and healing.
Written by: Susanna Kaysen
The title of this book says it all in that Kaysen was just eighteen years old, basically still a girl, and her life was interrupted by a therapist she was seeing for the first time. The therapist, deciding she was too mentally ill to take care of herself, sent her off to a mental health hospital. This began a two-year stay, being stuck there and trying to heal herself and get out.
This book shows just how complex being in a mental institution can be, using both her own stories and the stories of other patients by documenting her time there. It also gives a view of what it was like living with the people running it and the caretakers. It is brutal but a fantastic story of recovery. This book was later adapted into a movie of the same name.
Written by: David Clark & Aaron Beck
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy approach that has been shown to be effective in treating various mental health disorders, including anxiety and worry. Developed by Dr. Aaron Beck, CBT is a mindfulness-based therapy that identifies and changes dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs that contribute to symptoms.
The Anxiety and Worry Workbook: The Cognitive Behavioral Solution provides a step-by-step guide to using CBT for overcoming anxiety and worry. It will also help your friends and family understand what you are going through and how to support your issues. If you are struggling with anxiety and worry, this workbook may be just what you need to get your life back on track.
Written by: Chrisanna Northrup, Pepper Schwartz, and James Witte
If you're like most people, you probably think that happiness in a relationship comes down to finding the right person. But according to the authors of The Normal Bar, that's only part of the story. In their book, Chrisanna Northrup and James Witte draw on data from over 70,000 couples to reveal the real key to a happy relationship: normalizing your habits. This includes speaking to each other, treating each other with equality, and even acting in bed sexually towards your partner.
There is something here for everyone, no matter how much they believe they know about each other.
Interestingly, according to Northrup and Witte, if your partner does something that bothers you occasionally, it is not always a cause for alarm – if it's not one of six significant deal-breakers. So, what are these six things? You'll have to read the book to find out, and you may be amazed.
Written by: Andrew Solomon
Depression is a complex and severe mental illness that can be difficult to understand and treat. That is why Andrew Solomon's book is so important. It provides a comprehensive overview of depression, from its history to the latest scientific findings on its causes and treatments. It also looks at how medications can help reduce depression and blunt the emotional side of a person's personality, among other issues.
If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, I highly recommend reading The Noonday Demon. It is sure to give you a better understanding of this complex disorder. This book was written over five years, and Solomon examines three of his five breakdowns during that time. He makes sure that the reader understands that this isn't a straightforward issue and a quick fix. The book also includes personal stories from people who have struggled with depression, which helps to humanize this often-misunderstood condition.
Written by: Scott Stossel
Anxiety is a pervasive and often disabling condition that affects millions of people in the United States. In his new book, My Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, Search for Peace, Scott Stossel explores his struggle with anxiety and offers a unique and insightful look at this condition. Drawing on personal experience and scientific research, Stossel provides readers with a comprehensive overview of anxiety and its various forms. Examining therapies, medications, and some of the “craziest” of interventions, he gives a very in-depth view of this debilitating disease.
This book is essential for anyone who struggles with anxiety or knows someone who does. We loved that he traces the history of anxiety back to people such as Hippocrates, to Darwin, and of course, Sigmund Freud. He also offers advice on managing anxiety and living a whole life despite it. He also has a great sense of humor, which will help anyone reading this if you are worried or anxious.
Written by: David R. Hamilton
Can the mind really heal the body? According to David Hamilton's book, it can.
In his book, Hamilton discusses how the mind can be used to cure illnesses and even severe injuries. By using positive thoughts and imagery, individuals can improve their health and well-being. Hamilton's book is a comprehensive guide to using the mind for healing and offers tips for how readers can get started.
If you look at yourself at this moment, are you anxious or happy? Think about how changing your mindset can change how your body reacts, even just by laughing or sitting up straight. So, if you're curious about the power of the mind-body connection, check out David Hamilton's latest release! Whether you are dealing with a chronic illness or just want to boost your overall health, this book has something for you.
Written by: Nitin Mistry
You may be surprised to find a coloring book on this list, but we have found this one to be beneficial. This is a beautiful guidebook to the power and potential of mandalas. With stunning visuals and clear instructions, Mistry shows precisely how you can use these age-old symbols to tap into your own inner healing power.
This is such a helpful book because it will help you focus your attention on the art and coloring instead of letting your thoughts control you. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist, this book will show you how to create your own personal mandalas that can help you achieve physical, mental, and emotional balance.
Written by: Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have to deal with the effects of trauma on our whole self. Working with survivors of sexual assault, abuse, and more, he delves into using the mind-body connection to heal. Even though he is an M.D., he used much more than just the standard therapy and mediation model. He helps people in a fully functional way of living to release the trauma and become the person they imagine themselves.
This book draws on 30 years of experience as a clinician and researcher to explain how trauma affects the body and mind. Dr. Van der Kolk also offers influential case studies from his own clinical practice that demonstrate how these insights can be applied to help people heal their traumas. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the complex workings of trauma and its effects on individuals and communities.
Written by: Paul Boehmer, Spencer Smith, Steven C. Hayes, and Tantor Audio
If you've been feeling frustrated or stuck, it may be time to get out of your mind and into your life. Steven Hayes' new book offers a roadmap for doing just that. Based on his extensive psychology and mindfulness background, Hayes provides readers with concrete tips and exercises for overcoming counterproductive thoughts and behaviors throughout this workbook.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a scientifically based and exhaustively researched new type of therapy. Instead of fighting with yourself, you will learn to embrace your fears and struggles to help overcome them. Whether you're struggling with anxiety, depression, or chronic pain, this book can help you break the cycle of negative thinking and start living a more fulfilling life.
Written by: Howard Dully and Charles Fleming
Howard Dully was twelve years old when his stepmother convinced his father to have him lobotomized. This horrifying procedure was done by inserting an ice pick above the eye and cutting back and forth. The surgery, meant to cure Howard of his "undesirable" traits, robbed him of his personality, memories, and youth. In this groundbreaking memoir written with the help of journalist Charles Fleming, Howard recounts the events leading up to his surgery and its aftermath—a life lived in the shadow of a tragedy he never chose.
My Lobotomy is more than just a personal story of his being abandoned, becoming a criminal, and spending time doing anything just trying to survive; it is a powerful meditation on the nature of memory and identity. Drawing on interviews with family members and doctors who participated in or observed the procedure, as well as letters and medical records long sealed by court order, Howard offers an unprecedented glimpse into an almost forgotten chapter in psychiatric history.
Written by: Terrence Real
There's no doubt that marriage has undergone a radical transformation in the past few decades. The traditional model of the husband as provider and wife as homemaker is quickly becoming obsolete and with it the idea that marriages need to conform to specific rules to be successful. So, what does this mean for those of us hoping to make our marriages work?
In this book, Terrence Real provides an insightful look at the new landscape of love and offers practical advice for making your relationship thrive. Some of these include setting limits, knowing when to ask for help from others, and identifying your specific needs in a way your partner can hear them and respect you. Whether you're just starting out or you've been married for years, this book is a must-read!
Written by: Oliver Sacks
One of the most famous books in this collection is one of the stranger ones. Oliver Sacks is a neurologist known for his work with patients who have unusual neurological conditions. In this book, he tells the story of one such patient, a man who had a severe case of visual agnosia and caused him to mistake his wife for a hat, among other mistakes.
As if this one case isn't weird enough, Sacks has many others, including ones where people think their limbs are not their own. Other patients have different issues, such as the woman who had a stroke and then was transported back in time to her childhood. Of course, this wasn't a physical time change; it was just when she heard music from her youth. This book will give you a very different outlook on mental health issues since they are so interesting and different from others.
Written by: David Adams
This is partially a memoir and somewhat a look into the lives of other people dealing with Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior. When the author was 19 years old, he for some reason started to believe that he would catch AIDS and die. Because of this, it limited his life as he wouldn't share drinks or food with others. Even when brushing his teeth, he would be terrified that it would infect him. And he constantly had to reapply bandages even for the tiniest scratch over and over and over and over again.
Some of the issues people go through are documented here, including a girl whose thoughts led her to eat a wall of her house. There is also the story of the twins who died in their own place because they believed they had to hoard everything they owned. You will definitely want to read so many other stories and information.
Written by: Jenny Lawson
Are you in the mood for a laugh? Jenny Lawson, author of Furiously Happy, will have you rolling on the floor with her dark and twisted sense of humor. This book is all about embracing the horrible things that life throws your way and finding happiness despite them.
Lawson takes readers on a darkly funny journey through her struggles with mental illness, from depression to anxiety to OCD. It sounds as if Lawson might not be taking her mental illness seriously, but in reality, she has found a way to laugh at it and help others do the same.
She mines her condition for laughs and insights along the way, proving that there is humor to be found even in the worst of times.
Written by: Kartar Diamond
There are few experiences as jarring as learning that your child has a mental illness. After being in the hospital for the third time in two years, Diamond’s son was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She was overwhelmed and didn't know where to turn for a good reason. This is the story of her search for answers and the journey to acceptance that followed. In it, she shares both her own experiences and those of other families who have faced similar challenges.
Her book provides valuable insight into this often misunderstood disorder. While the story is heart-wrenching at times, it also offers hope and proves that there is life after a schizophrenia diagnosis. And, if you know someone dealing with schizophrenia, it will give you insight into their issues and how you can help.
Written by: Elizabeth Wurtzel
Prozac Nation is a memoir written by Elizabeth Wurtzel and has been highly controversial since it was published. The book details Wurtzel's experiences with depression and her time taking the antidepressant drug Prozac. In today's world, most people have heard of Prozac in some way or another, and you might even be taking it. But when this was written, it wasn't widely known to the average person.
Upon release, the book was controversial and has been both praised and criticized for its frankness. Wurtzel discusses her struggles with mental illness, including depression, drug therapy, suicide attempts, and more. Her ability to write about such a painful experience and yet do so with a sense of humor shows precisely how people can heal. And also because it is also a critical examination of how antidepressants are overprescribed and often used as a crutch instead of a last resort.
Written by: Natasha Devon
This book is set up to help you understand mental illness, starting with the letter "A" to the letter "Z." Dealing with her mental illness, Devon looks at many of the issues related to how best to handle it and help others. In it, she talks to neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and anyone else that understands mental health and how to help destigmatize it.
Because it is set in such an easy-to-read format, someone can look up precisely what they think is a problem and find support and help. You will find information on depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction, and more. It is incredibly well researched, yet Devon can make it fun and accessible.
Written by: Darryl “DMC” Daniels
You know about Run-DMC, the famous 1980s rap group, depending on your age. However, most people don't realize that Darryl "DMC" Daniels dealt with depression since he could put on such a cheerful public face. He traveled the world, made millions, and was adored by anyone who listened to his band's music.
The reality is that he was dealing with his depression by drinking himself into a stupor constantly to be free of his pain. Eventually, after the alcohol wouldn't quell his demons, he became suicidal. Realizing that this would ruin his family, he figured out his ten ways to survive. These include being true to yourself, how to deal with a lack of support, and becoming isolated from others. There are a lot of beautiful moments, such as when he reconnects with his birth mother (he was adopted) and how his family is there for him. It is an exciting read because he seemed so happy and confident but was just hiding from the truth.
Written by: Vince Granata
The title says it all…and yet it is all a lie. Everything is not fine in this memoir. As a kid, Granata thought that everything would work out. In general, his family life was like most other when his parents came home with triplets (although that isn't like most others). There didn't seem to be any problems, and his brother Tim became a championship wrestler in high school. However, that all started to change when he was in college. He would have delusions and hallucinations and thought demons were chasing him.
Sadly, at one point, Vince is out of the country, and Tim, believing the delusions that he must kill his mother, stabs her to death. After this, Granata investigates the trial and his pain at having to decide if he should take his mother's side, knowing that she was an innocent or help his brother knowing he profoundly had a mental health condition.
Written by: Marya Hornbacher
When Marya Hornbacher was just four years old, she remembers looking in the mirror and not recognizing the person staring back at her. She didn't understand why her stomach was so big or why she couldn't seem to keep any food down. It wasn't until later that Hornbacher would learn that she was suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa- two devastating eating disorders that would control her life for years to come.
Hornbacher tells the story of her struggle with these illnesses, opening up about the painful thoughts and emotions that drove her to starve herself and purge nearly everything she ate. This memoir is a heartbreaking yet incredibly hopeful book for anyone dealing with these issues.
Written by: Gary Chapman
Most people are familiar with the five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, these are the five ways that people give and receive love. Chapman discusses how understanding your loved ones' love language can help you build a stronger relationship with them while keeping yourself a strong individual.
By learning your love language and those of your loved ones, you can begin to express your love in a way that they will understand and appreciate. Building a solid relationship based on understanding and love is possible when you know the five love languages' secret to lasting love!
Written by: Meri Nana-Ama Danquah
Depression is a topic that is often left unspoken, especially within the black community. In her memoir, Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman's Journey Through Depression, Meri Danquah bravely opens up about her experiences with depression and offers readers a unique perspective on this often-misunderstood illness. She also examines how women of color are resistant to getting help since it shows weakness and how the system has often treated them unequally compared to others. The racism and sexism in our society are exposed and examined for those same reasons.
Danquah's story is both heartbreaking and inspiring, and it provides an essential insight into the realities of living with depression. If you're looking for a powerful read that will make you think differently about mental health and significantly how mental health affects women of color, this is a book you will want to read.
Written by: Kelly Jensen
It's not often that we discuss mental health openly. It's so taboo in our society that many people feel ashamed to admit they have a mental illness. But the more we pretend like mental illness doesn't exist, the more people will suffer in silence. That's why 33 voices have come together to start the conversation about mental health. They include writers, athletes, and artists willing to explore and expose themselves to help others be more open with their mental health issues.
Each of these individuals has their own story to share, and they're all brave enough to open up about their experiences. So please read their stories and share them with your friends and family. We need to break down the stigma surrounding mental health, which is a good starting point.
Written by: Susannah Cahalan
In her memoir, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, Susannah Cahalan tells the story of how she became infected with a rare autoimmune disorder that caused her to experience a month-long bout of hallucinations, paranoia, and seizures. This terrifying ordeal began with what appeared to be simple flu-like symptoms but quickly escalated into a life-threatening situation that left Cahalan on the brink of death. It seemed her life was going perfectly, but then she woke up at the hospital, strapped to the hospital bed, and had no memory of what had happened.
Her doctors were at a loss as to how to treat her, and she was on the verge of being committed to a psychiatric institution believing that she had schizophrenia. Amazingly, they finally diagnosed her with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, an extremely rare condition that can often be mistaken for mental illness. Cahalan eventually made a full recovery, but the fear that this could happen to any of us is terrifying and shows the limitations of the medical system.
Written by: Osher Gunsberg
For those that aren't from Australia, you might not have heard of Osher Gunsberg, who was a tv heartthrob. He was always positive, outgoing and could be seen at the most prominent events as he reported on them. However, this smiling and gregarious mask hid the truth that he had crippling anxiety, weight and appearance issues, and debilitating panic attacks.
To hide these problems, he turned to alcohol and drugs, which eventually cost him his job, his marriage, and he even became suicidal. After working with a cognitive-behavioral therapist, he could pull his life back together. He is now famous for being open about his mental health issues and inspiring others to get help. His sense of humor, and general humility, make this a fantastic read and quite uplifting.
Written by: Sylvia Plath
As a young writer, Sylvia Plath kept journals as a form of personal expression and recorded her thoughts and progress as a poet. In these unabridged journals, which span the years from 1950 until her suicide in 1962, Plath bares her soul to the reader. The entries are honest and introspective, giving readers a unique glimpse into the mind of one of America's most brilliant writers.
From reflections on family life to examinations of her own mental health, these journals offer an intimate portrait of Plath's innermost thoughts and feelings. They provide an unparalleled look at the development of her writing career and the struggles she faced as an artist. Anyone interested in learning more about this iconic author will find much to explore on these pages.
Written by: Brent A. Bradley
If you're like most couples, you probably don't spend much time talking about your feelings. But if you're dealing with relationship difficulties, it's time to start. Emotionally focused couple therapy (EFT) is one of the most effective approaches for helping troubled couples reconnect and rebuild their relationship. EFT has been shown to help not only chronic problems but also crises.
This book is your guide to understanding and using EFT in your own life. Written by Brent A. Bradley, a leading expert on the use of EFT in couples therapy, this book provides all the information you need to get started with this powerful approach. You'll learn what EFT is, how it works, and how to apply it effectively so that it isn't just a short-term fix but for the rest of your life.
Written by: Kay Redfield Jamison
Mental illness is often viewed as a taboo topic, but we must start to talk about it openly. This powerful memoir provides an honest look at the highs and lows of living with a mental illness. In this book, she sheds light on what it is like to live with bipolar disorder. Because she had many of the same issues as her patients, she realized that she had to deal with her problems. This even included an attempted suicide.
Jamison has written a moving and personal account of her life with bipolar disorder, which will help to educate and inform others about this condition. Being willing to tell her story and examine how it would affect both her and other people allows for a better understanding of what people with bipolar disorder have to deal with daily. Her story is heartbreaking and inspiring and will undoubtedly change how you think about this brutal mental illness.
Written by: Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennett
Lori Schiller was born into a well-to-do family and was expected to succeed in life. However, as we have seen so far, mental health often takes away our dreams and desires. Schiller recounts her experiences with mental illness and offers readers a rare glimpse into the mind of someone who has schizophrenia. Her frank and often harrowing account provides a powerful illustration of what it's like to grapple with bipolar disorder daily.
Drawing on her own experiences and those of friends and family members, she paints a vivid picture of what life is like for those living with this often-misunderstood condition. In addition to offering hope to those struggling with mental illness, Schiller's story also raises awareness about the importance of early intervention and treatment for schizophrenia. The latest edition includes the years after her recovery, with some being better and some worse.
Written by: Shaun David Hutchinson
Shaun Hutchinson's Brave Face is a powerful memoir about his experiences as a gay teenager in small-town America. Hutchinson doesn't shy away from the challenging parts of his story, instead offering readers an unflinching look at the emotional and physical violence he faces daily. This also includes his self-hatred as he didn't want to be gay and believed that he'd end up dying alone from AIDS if he acknowledged it.
Gradually, he realizes that his fear is causing his depression and that he chooses to accept his sexuality. This book is incredibly powerful and needed to help people who are both heteronormative and non-heteronormative to understand how much society can hurt someone. Equality is necessary, and even in our darkest moments, we are more than we imagine. Brave Face is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand the power of resilience in the face of adversity.
Written by: Xavier Amador
In this book, Dr. Xavier Amador eloquently articulates the case for why he and many others with mental illness don't feel the need to seek or accept help. Despite being one of the most at-risk groups for suicide, those with mental illness often refuse to believe that they are unwell.
In this powerful book, Amador makes a compelling argument for change in how we think about and treat mental illness. With personal stories and data from recent studies, he sheds light on a complex and too-often misunderstood issue. If you know someone who is struggling with mental illness, or if you are dealing with these issues yourself, this book is a must-read. It will change how you deal with them and hopefully allow them to see that getting help doesn't mean they are sick or a failure. Like most of us, they just have issues that they need help figuring out.
Written by: Emily Colas
Emily Colas’ Scenes from the Life of an Obsessive-Compulsive is a revealing and engaging look at one woman's experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Most people think of OCD as needing to make sure lights are turned off, rituals of touching something a certain number of times, or other repetitive actions that horrible things will happen. Colas went well beyond that: An example is that she believes she could catch diseases if she saw blood on a tv screen.
Drawing on her own experiences and interviews with others who suffer from OCD, Colas provides a unique and insightful perspective on this often-misunderstood mental illness. Her writing is both candid and compassionate, making for a compelling read. Whether you are familiar with OCD or not, Colas' book is sure to offer insights into an often overlooked and misunderstood condition.
Written by: Andrew Scull
Andrew Scull's Madhouse is a horrifying account of what occurred at the Trenton Mental State Hospital in the 1920s. Dr. Henry Cotton, a truly evil man, believed that mental illness was caused by germs, bacteria, and other issues instead of actual mental health problems. So, instead of helping the patients with medicine and therapy, he decided to remove parts of their bodies: teeth, gallbladders, genitalia, and more. Between 30 to 45% of the clients didn’t even survive the surgery. And, if they did and still had problems, he would conduct more surgeries until they were cured…which usually meant death.
Megalomania, greed, and incompetence from hospital administrators and doctors doomed many patients to a lifetime of torment in what was supposed to be a place of healing. The few that stood up to him were silenced, and their information was hidden away. This is a brutal book but worth reading so you can get an idea of how far mental health has improved but still has so far to go.
Written by: David J. Morris
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a debilitating mental illness that various traumatic events can cause. PTSD can cause flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and depression. Despite being relatively well-known, PTSD is often misunderstood, and people with the illness are often marginalized. It is estimated that at least thirty percent of people who have experienced combat have PTSD, but it is lesser known that many people who are just ordinary citizens live with it.
In his book, David J. Morris seeks to change that. Being that Morris was previously a war correspondent, marine and lives with PTSD, he is intimately in touch with how it affects his life and others. By looking at his issues, interviewing others with them, and using other information, Diamond provides an in-depth look at the history and science of PTSD. The book is essential for anyone who wants to understand this complex and misunderstood mental illness.
Written by: Janet Frame
It is almost impossible to sum up this book in a few paragraphs. Frame had a horrible life basically from birth. Born into a low-income family and constantly degraded and disgraced by her bad teeth, hair, and anything else people could find wrong with her, her mental health deteriorated.
Even though there is no evidence of this, she was hospitalized for many years with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Because she fought against the establishment and her diagnosis, the doctors decided that it was more proof of her illness.
After years in the institution and over 200 electroshock sessions, she was released. She moves to England and starts to see a caring and supportive therapist to help her. She was eventually able to use her writing to heal herself with both fiction and non-fiction books. It is a fantastic transformation and inspiring beyond belief. This is one of the most powerful autobiographies that we have ever read.
This book was later made into a movie directed by Jane Campion.
Written by: L.D. Green and Kelechi Ubozoh
It is time for a change in the mental health field. We have been patient with a system that prioritizes pharmaceutical interventions and mainstream treatments over holistic and individualized care for too long.
In this book, you will hear from individuals advocating for change. They include people from all levels of society, genders, and races about how our medical system has been mistreated.
It also goes into the societal issues of white supremacy, anti-LGBTQI prejudices, and more that have damaged people through either negligence, ignorance, or outright pride in their disgust for those in need.
They are speaking out about their experiences with mental health care, and they are demanding to be heard. Their stories are painful, but they need to be spoken out if there is any chance to change how the medical establishment treats people. This book is a call to action, and it provides valuable insight into the current state of mental health care.
Written by: Terrie Williams
In her book, Terrie Williams discusses the various ways that black people mask their pain to fit into society's perception of what it means to be strong. As someone who "had made it" today, she had no idea why she felt so unfulfilled and unhappy. She then realized that she had severe depression and that she needed to speak out to help others.
She provides a powerful and insightful look into the minds of black people who are often forced to deal with racism, prejudice, police brutality, and discrimination daily. Drawing on her own experiences and those of others she has interviewed, Williams offers readers a unique perspective on how black pain is often hidden from view. As well as explaining it, she gives information and ideas on how to help relieve the pain and become more happy and content in your life.
Her book is an essential contribution to the conversation about race and racism in America and is desperately needed in today's world.
Written by: Don Barlow
In any kind of relationship – personal, professional, or otherwise – it's essential to identify narcissistic and manipulative behavior to protect ourselves. Often, these individuals are very good at hiding their true motives, so it can be not easy to spot them. However, there are ways to recover from emotional abuse and recognize narcissists and manipulators before they do further damage.
By being aware of the red flags, we can take steps to safeguard our well-being and protect ourselves from these destructive individuals. This workbook will help you see who these people are, how to take control of your reactions, and how to stop them from taking advantage of you. Once you spot them, you'll see that there may be many more in your life than you expected since they are so good at keeping you confused and off-balance.
Written by: Jon Ronson
A psychopath is a person with a mental disorder that causes them to act in typically characterized as antisocial and violent. In this book, Ronson seeks to understand better what constitutes psychopathic behavior and how those with this disorder are treated.
As Ronson delves into the research, he learns who a psychopath is and how they aren’t just the usual Hollywood trope of psycho killers. It is often CEOs, people in a position of power in politics, and even those in Hollywood who star in movies about them. However, they aren't thought of as mentally ill; they are thought of as good businesspeople and constructive members of society. So, in this book, you will learn to spot a psychopath and see how they are rewarded for their actions.
Written by: Thomas Szasz
Published: 1961, Revised in 1974
Mental illness is a term used to describe a wide range of conditions that affect mood, thinking, and behavior. It is estimated that around one in five Americans will experience a mental illness in any given year. Despite its prevalence, there is still a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding about mental illness. In this book, Dr. Szasz challenges the long-standing belief that mental illnesses are real diseases caused by underlying biological abnormalities.
According to Szasz, mental illness does not exist as a separate category of disease; instead, it is simply a label used to describe certain types of behavior or thinking frowned upon by society. This perspective on mental illness provides a much different view of treatment compared to the usual styles. Note that this book was written in the 1960s, so some of it may be outdated; however, it is still worth reading to get an alternative viewpoint.
Written by: Wendy Maltz
Are you a survivor of sexual abuse? Are you looking for guidance through your healing journey? If so, then Wendi Maltz's book is the perfect resource for you. This helpful guidebook offers a wealth of advice and support, as well as step-by-step exercises that can help you reclaim your sexuality and heal your heart.
Whether you're just starting on your healing journey or are further along in the process, this book can provide invaluable assistance. Relying on decades of research, being a psychologist, and a certified sex therapist, Maltz is incredibly well respected by anyone dealing with sexual abuse. So, if you're looking for help in overcoming the trauma of sexual abuse, this is a must-read workbook.
Written by: Robert Whitaker
Are psychiatric drugs the answer to treating mental illness? According to Robert Whitaker, the answer is no. Whitaker's book paints a sobering picture of the adverse effects of psychiatric drugs on those who take them. He reasons that if the medications worked so well, why is that number of the mentally ill tripled over the last few decades?
Drawing on decades of scientific research, he shows that many of the most prescribed drugs are not only ineffective but contribute to worsening mental health in recipients. He looks at other cultures, which have reduced their use of medications, and finds they often have better outcomes than we in the West. His main point is that if we want to address the epidemic of mental illness in this country, we need to start looking for alternatives to drug therapy.
Written by: Darby Penny and Peter Stastny
In the attic of a state hospital in upstate New York, abandoned suitcases sat collecting dust. Darby Penny was hired to help clean out the hospital and found them. She found photos, personal effects, and life stories when she opened them. Each suitcase tells an account of the life its owner left behind. This is the story of those suitcases.
In the early 1900s, psychiatric institutions were familiar across America. Life in these hospitals was grim, and patients faced a high risk of being permanently institutionalized. Patients were often institutionalized for behaviors that we would now consider relatively minor, such as eccentricity or promiscuity. When patients died or were discharged, their suitcases were usually packed up and left behind in the attic. This book includes over 100 photographs that give an incredibly emotional connection to these ten people who were, until now, forgotten and left to rot.