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The Best Books for Mental Health & Well-Being

Posted on 6th May 2021 by Anna Orhanen

From unforgettable fiction and inspiring memoirs to practical guides and insights into the latest science, we have gathered together a selection of empowering books to help and encourage everyone to start conversations about mental health. Whether through increasing our understanding of different conditions or sharing practical tips on how to protect our mental well-being, these are books that offer a wealth of wisdom and hope.

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Plath’s seminal novel about a young female writer’s ambitions and experiences amidst the impermeable misogyny of 1950s society moves from razor sharp humour to stunning insights into depression and mental illness.
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Constructed with masterful psychological precision, The Yellow Wallpaper is a chilling depiction of a woman's mental breakdown in enforced confinement after the birth of her child.
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Queenie Jenkins’ life seems to be steadily spiralling out of control in Candice Carty-Williams luminous debut, which is by turns hilariously funny, dramatic and tender, with a heroine to root for.
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Startlingly original and emotive, Max Porter’s innovative debut novel playfully blends poetry and prose whilst examining grief, fatherhood and the restorative powers of literature.
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For those who loved former Waterstones Book of the Year The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse comes the beautifully illustrated, warm-hearted story of a man and his dog pulling together through challenging times.
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An exceptional blend of the sharpest tragedy and warmest humour, It’s Kind of a Funny Story follows an ambitious New York teenager’s journey through an elite school and mental hospital to his altogether unexpected path to happiness.
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In this invaluable and deeply affecting memoir, one of the leading experts on manic depression shares her unique understanding of the condition, having experienced it both as a doctor and a patient.
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Told with endless warmth and candour, Sanghera’s memoir is at once a hilarious and heart-breaking meditation on life-changing secrets, family ties, mental illness and cultural identity.
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In dazzling and poignant prose, James Frey delivers a searingly honest account of overcoming the addiction that almost killed him at the age of twenty-three.
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Balanced between the utmost darkness and hope, Cho’s piercing account of psychosis and motherhood is a powerful meditation on what it means to understand oneself.
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In the bold and insightful The Natural Health Service, Isabel Hardman advocates the enormous benefits of living life in the great outdoors and reveals how fresh air and activity has proved the perfect tonic for her battles with depression and anxiety.
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Wearing its extensive scholarship extremely lightly, Thinking Fast and Slow elucidates Nobel Prize Winner Kahneman’s intellectual theories about cognition and decision-making in sprightly and dextrous fashion.
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In his extraordinarily compassionate, internationally bestselling book, Oliver Sacks explores the various strange and murky landscapes of neurological disorder and reflects on the delicate balance by which our self-identity hangs.
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With deep compassion and impressive scholarship, neuropsychiatrist Professor Anthony David discusses a host of case studies that offer fascinating insights into endless complexity of the human mind.
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From the bestselling author of The Midnight Library and The Humans, Reasons to Stay Alive is a touching and warmly humorous reflection on what it means to lose and regain one’s will to live.
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A true modern classic and arguably the most eloquent book ever written about depression, Solomon’s deeply personal testimony merges with a wide-ranging investigation into both the scientific basis of diagnosis and the different cultural interpretations of the condition.
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A celebration of the awesomeness of the self and a warning to avoid the toxicity of damaging relationships, Eggerue’s dynamic self-help guide – sprinkled with Igbo wisdom and fierce illustrations – is a vital tool for empowerment and self-love.
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Confronting the crisis in Black mental health with urgency and passion, Walker’s essential volume discusses both the causes of mental health issues in the African American community and the steps that need to be taken to break down the barriers and stigma so that treatment can be effectively supplied.
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In her bestselling guide based on clinically proven techniques, Dr Melanie Fennell shares practical tools for overcoming low self-esteem, breaking free from negative thought-patterns and cultivating self-acceptance.
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Drawing from mindfulness-based cognitive therapy developed by Professor Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman, this inspiring book combines the science behind mindfulness practice with simple advice on how to reduce stress and anxiety through meditation.
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Interpreting the theories of psychoanalytical titan Alfred Adler in a fresh and liberating manner, this inspirational Japanese bestseller encourages taking control of your own destiny regardless of past experiences and the expectations of others.
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The charming tale of an anxious dinosaur trying to enjoy a special picnic, The Worrysaurus is a comforting guide to vanquishing vexation from the bestselling author of The Lion Inside.
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Filled with carefully chosen words and beautiful illustrations, Ruby’s Worry is an uplifting and reassuring story about why it is so important to share our feelings.
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A poignant and heart-warming tale from the nation’s favourite baker Nadiya Hussain, My Monster and Me is the perfect book for discussing childhood anxieties.
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The first, stunning picture book for all ages from the 2018 Nobel Laureate Olga Tokarczuk and illustrator Joanna Concejo, The Lost Soul is at once a moving tale about a man out-of-touch with himself and a celebration of the ability of visual storytelling to overcome the boundaries of age, status, politics and place.
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