I am an avid reader and over the years, I have read many different books, both fiction and non-fiction, where one or more of the primary characters deals with a Mental Health issue.
Here are some of my recommendations. I have included links so that you can find them online if you want to buy them.
Matt Haig – Reasons to Stay Alive
This is part-memoir, part-self-help, a little bit of everything and I make a habit of gifting this book to the people around me. It has 5 sections to it: 1. Falling, 2. Landing, 3. Rising, 4. Living, 5. Being. I think it is extremely well-written & is a great read not only for people with mental health struggles but also for family/friends to gain a better understanding of depression & anxiety.
Samantha Schutz – I Don’t Want To Be Crazy
This is a true story of how Samantha Schutz felt when she developed an Anxiety disorder during (US) college. It is really honest and I found that the ending is very hopeful but realistic. I would definitely recommend! For a list of my favourite quotes from this book, click here.
Ned Vizzini – It’s Kind of a Funny Story
This story is set in a psychiatric hospital & the main character has depression & anxiety and is admitted into the psychiatric hospital when he is having suicidal thoughts. Before he is admitted, he is determined to go to the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job and the pressure is unbearable. Whilst in the hospital he meets a trans sex addict, self-harming girl and many others. The author was on a psychiatric ward himself for a period of time.
Jennifer Niven – All the Bright Places
This book might be triggering. It has two main characters, Theodore Finch who is suicidal and Violet Markey who is trying to recover from her sister’s death. This was told very beautifully but it was also very sad! It is classed as Young Adult.
John Green – Will Grayson, Will Grayson
This is the story of two boys with the same name from completely different worlds who meet and change each other’s lives. It deals with many topics, including homosexuality, depression, love, loss and friendship.
Laila Sales – This Song Will Save Your Life
I read this for the first time in 2015 and it is about a girl called Elise who is struggling & can’t seem to make friends and then one night on a late walk she stumbled upon a warehouse party where she meets people who actually seem to like her! She ends up finding a passion that pulls her out of her loneliness and helps her to accept who she truly is.
Jessica Park – 180 Seconds
I read this on kindle unlimited and didn’t really know what to expect. The main character grew up in foster care and has struggled with social anxiety for her whole life. She accidentally ends up participating in a social experiment as a (US) college student and from there her life begins to change. It talks about many different issues & there are moments where I cried as there are plot twists, that’s all I’ll say! I’d 100% recommend!
Lacey London – Anxiety Girl I read this on kindle unlimited & I thought it would be great to read as an introduction to anxiety. If you think you might have anxiety, I would recommend it but it was a little quick for me, within a few months she no longer has panic attacks which I can’t relate to. Available on Kindle Unlimited
Amy Reed – Crazy
This book is told from two perspectives, Izzy’s & Connor’s. Izzy has bipolar disorder and becomes friends with Connor during summer camp and they remain friends, emailing once they’re home. This book shows both sides of bipolar as well as how it can feeling loving someone with bipolar disorder. It was a heart-wrenching read.
(War) Pat Barker – Regeneration
This book is set during World War 1 and is set in a psychiatric facility and goes into the minds of soldiers suffering what was then known as shell-shock. It also shows the perspective of their psychologist Dr. Rivers. It is the first book in the regeneration trilogy & it is well worth reading all 3 if you’re a fan of historical fiction.
(War) John Boyne – Stay Where You Are And Then Leave
This is told from the child’s perspective and his father has PTSD or ‘shell-shock‘ from WW1. I found that by being told from the boy’s perspective it really makes it accessible as the doctors have to explain to the boy what his father is experiencing. I loved this book & was glad that it exceeded my expectations as I was worrying that it wouldn’t live up to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
(Abuse) Stephen Chbosky – The Perks of Being a Wallflower
One of my all-time favourites. I have never encountered abuse but I found that I could really relate to Charlie. There are so many quote-able parts to this book & here are a few of my favourites.
- She wasn’t bitter. She was sad, though. But it was a hopeful kind of sad. The kind of sad that just takes time.
- And if somebody has it much worse, it doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have. Both good and bad.
- So this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy & sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that can be.
I could go on forever, it will always be in my all-time favourites & everyone I have recommended it to has enjoyed it too.
Dave Pelzer – The Privilege of Youth (moving forward from the abuse in his childhood)
John Green – Turtles All the Way Down
What mental health books would you recommend for me to read??
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