32 Best Mental Health Books for Increasing Your Well-Being
They say, ‘health is not just about what we eat. It is also about what we think, say, and do.’
Mental health forms a significant part of our overall well-being and encompasses parts of emotional health, psychological health, and social awareness.
Positive mental health lets us:
Explore our inner potentials. Effectively cope with stress and adversity. Enhance work productivity and self-motivation. Create meaningful interpersonal connections at personal and professional fronts.
Positive psychology suggests that by shifting focus from illness to wellness, we can aim for a holistic improvement in our mental health. Mental health does not imply an absence of problems. It suggests the presence of robust internal resources that does not let the anomalies take a toll. While disappointments and failures are inevitable, the key to overcoming them is sharp mental faculties.
Out of the myriad of literary works and reviews that support positive mental health and discuss ways in which we can cultivate them, this article outlines some of the best ones.
3 Psychology and Counseling Books on Mental Health
1. Mental Health: A Person-Centred Approach – Nicholas Procter, Helen P. Hamer, Denise McGarry, Rhonda L. Wilson, Terry Froggatt
Humanistic theories of psychology form the foundation of person-centered therapy. It urges practitioners to amalgamate theory with practice, and use real-life experiences to understand clients at the core.
Mental Health: A Person-Centred Approach is an easy comprehension that enhances readers’ understanding of mental health, mental illness, and recovery. With explanations of basic humanistic concepts like empathy, communication, and social support, the book is worth the read.
It is a valuable resource for students, beginners in mental health and psychotherapy, and all readers who acknowledge the value of human experiences.
2. How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body – David R. Hamilton
Body and mind are inseparably connected, which is why physical conditions triggered by underlying mental health causes can sometimes be difficult to rule out.
Author Dr. David Hamilton has shared some radical explanations of what happens to our body at the cellular level when we have poor mental health. The book covers an A to Z list of how we can use imagery as a healing mechanism for chronic pain and other physical conditions.
Hamilton’s groundbreaking research and findings are inspiring, and the book urges readers to step up and take charge of their well-being.
3. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Basics and Beyond – Judith S. Beck, Aaron T. Beck
Psychotherapy and counseling cannot be discussed without acknowledging the contribution of CBT. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is, by far, one of the most popular interventions to help people understand their thoughts and commit to bringing about the desirable changes in behavior.
This book starts with the basics of CBT, and, through a step-by-step systematic approach, explains how we can use thoughts and emotions for troubleshooting difficulties.
3 Mental Health Books for Professionals
1. Mosby’s Pocketbook of Mental Health – Eimear Muir-Cochrane, Patricia Barkway, Debra Nizette
This book comes in handy for nursing students, paramedics, allied healthcare professionals, and social service people. It has reliable references and strategies for managing critical situations, emergency calls, and dealing with various challenges of the health profession.
Authors of the book have presented it as a user-friendly manual with plenty of tips and practical hacks on the dos and don’ts of different medical experiences. With a convenient size, relatable contextual examples, and focus on recovery and wellness, this book is one of the best reads for any professional in the field.
2. Personal Recovery and Mental Illness: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals – Mike Slade
Personal Recovery and Mental Illness is a staple read for mental health professionals of different specializations. It has a sound framework with a focus on positive mind shift and conceptualizes mental health from a Personal Recovery Model.
Built on the principle of individual differences, this book explores new dimensions of recovering from mental health illness and views the sufferer separately from his illness. Followed by case studies and interview samples, the book justifies its name and paves the way for therapists across the world to flourish in their field.
3. The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health – Emeran Mayer
Recent studies indicate a close connection between the brain and gut functioning. This book is an evidence-based piece on how our mind and stomach work together.
It discusses the underlying causes of some regular phenomena, such as, why we feel nauseated when we are nervous, or why some people feel bloated during times of distress.
Author Dr. Emeran Mayer explains that communication between the brain and digestive system is key to understanding mental health-related problems like depression, obesity, eating disorders, and PCOS. The book provides a strong knowledge base for health professionals and has unlocked an entirely new dimension of mental wellness.
3 Mental Health Workbooks
1. A Practical Guide to Mental Health & Learning Disorders for Every Educator: How to Recognize, Understand, and Help Challenged (and Challenging) Students Succeed – Myles L. Cooley Ph.D.
A Practical Guide to Mental Health offers some great understanding of psychological issues such as PTSD, mood disorders, and the autism spectrum. It is accessible, timely, and comes with a series of practical exercises and activities for students, teachers, and counselors.
The workbook is a preferred choice for therapists and life coaches as it explores all the typical symptoms and newly developed phenomena of mental health studies. It is available as digital content, which adds to its high accessibility and is one of the most informative pieces on mental health that we can find around.
2. The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook – Elaine N. Aron Ph.D.
Sustaining positive mental health is a lot about self-regulation and emotional management. Highly sensitive people (HSP), who catch energy from others too quickly, often find it hard to keep their calm. Staying indifferent in stressful situations is hard for them.
Dr. Elaine Aron, a psychologist, and the author of The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook, studied this personality trait in depth. Her book is for empaths and HSPs who often get swayed away and fail to put things behind. With a collection of self-help exercises on positive self-image, self-motivation, and mindfulness, this handbook is a pathway provider for a fuller, more abundant, and more insightful life.
3. A Cognitive-Interpersonal Therapy Workbook for Treating Anorexia Nervosa: The Maudsley Model – Ulrike Schmidt, Helen Startup, Janet Treasure
Eating disorders are often the result of a distorted body image and negative thought patterns surrounding it.
Affecting a vast majority of the adolescent population today, treating and ensuring successful prognosis of eating disorders is a prime concern for mental health professionals across the globe.
This workbook is undoubtedly one of the best resources for helping one recover from Anorexia Nervosa, a taxing eating disorder.
The book comes in the form of a manual with modules about:
The importance of positive nutrition.
Tips for developing effective dietary plans.
Identifying the negative thoughts related to one’s eating habits.
Developing self-identity beyond the eating disorder.
3 Recommendations for Nurses
1. Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change – William R. Miller, Stephen Rollnick
Motivational Interviewing is a compelling positive intervention for facilitating change. Through active communication, support, and empathetic listening, health professionals can contribute to nurturing feelings of subjective wellness.
The book presents several case interviews taken under real medical situations and reflects on some cutting-edge advances on the impact of compassionate treatment.
2. Essentials of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing: A Communication Approach to Evidence-Based Care – Elizabeth M. Varcarolis
The Essentials of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing has won many awards as the most effective psychiatric nursing manual. It gives an in-depth understanding of what mental health nursing is all about, and what role nurses play in bringing about a positive change in ailing patients.
The book delves into the most dependable means psychiatric nurses can use for prospering in their service. For those who have an interest in this profession or want to add to their existing skills as a mental health nurse, this book will surely answer a lot of your questions.
3. Pocket Guide to Psychiatric Nursing – Mary C. Townsend, Karyn I. Morgan
The Pocket Guide to Psychiatric Nursing is a recommended read for undergraduate and postgraduate nursing students. It is also an excellent choice for those who are about to begin their career as a psychiatric nurse.
The book has a concise format and well-sorted sections on mental disorders, etiology, symptomatology, and the use of psychotropic drugs. It highlights some of the ideal interventions that nurses can use and covers all the tidbits of therapeutic communication.
3 Mental Health Books for Students
1. Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men – Lundy Bancroft
Toxic relationships are a prime reason for depression among adolescents and young adults. Failure to successfully vent out the negative emotions can cause a range of mental health problems, including depression, self-harm, and substance abuse.
‘Inside the minds of angry and controlling men‘ talks about identifying the early signs of an abusive partner and fixing what can be fixed in a demeaning interpersonal relationship. The book follows an individualized and humanistic approach that students can not only follow for their education, but also apply to their personal lives.
“This is, without a doubt, the most informative and useful book yet written on the subject of abusive men. Women who are armed with the insights found in these pages will be on the road to recovering control of their lives.” – Jay G. Silverman.
2. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales – Oliver Sacks
Oliver Sack, the author of ‘The man who mistook his wife for a hat‘ has been recognized as “one of the great clinical writers of the 20th century” (The New York Times). His book laid open a whole new way of looking at and presenting mental health resources that people from all backgrounds can utilize optimally.
In his book, Sack narrates the stories of individuals who suffer from perceptual disorders and disordered thought patterns. There is hardly any area of mental wellness that the author has left untouched, and yet, it never lets readers’ engagement stumble. The book is a balance of fiction and non-fiction and sticks to its core focus of positive mental health untill the end.
3. The Social Skills Guidebook: Manage Shyness, Improve Your Conversations, and Make Friends, Without Giving Up Who You Are – Chris MacLeod MSW
Mastering social skills can be life-changing for mental health students – both academically and personally. Proficiency in understanding the language of emotions and self-expression does not only increase their chances of becoming a better professional, but also a better human.
The Social Skills Guidebook is beneficial for understanding the deep-rooted causes of social anxiety, interpersonal struggles, and avoidant personality traits.
The book revolves around three main topics:
Mental barriers that affect communication – including shyness, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
Communication and listening skills.
Practical ways to help ourselves and others improve their social lives.
3 Mental Health Books for Young Adults
1. (Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health – Kelly Jensen
Words like ‘crazy’ and ‘abnormal’ have unfortunately become a negative connotation for us today. And we are in charge of breaking loose from this bias.
Don’t Call Me Crazy talks about the social aspects that make mental illness worse than it is. How we look at others with mental illness can impact their wellbeing to a large extent.
The author of this book has put forth some overwhelming truths on how we talk about mental health and how we should. It calls for better understanding of mental illness and busts the myths associated with it.
2. Depression: A Teen’s Guide to Thrive and Survive – Jacqueline B. Toner, Claire A. B. Freeland
Teenage depression leaves a long-lasting impression on the personality. This book comes with a handful of information for youngsters struggling with depression or the ones who are at risk of developing it.
It discusses the hormonal and physiological imbalances that manifest in one’s mood and affect and offers some practical and easy-to-read hacks for effectively managing depression at a young age.
3. The Sexual Trauma Workbook for Teen Girls: A Guide to Recovery from Sexual Assault and Abuse – Raychelle Cassada Lohmann
The worst thing about sexual trauma is that it often gets revealed long after the incident has occurred. Sexual Trauma Workbook is healing and talks about recovering from sexual abuse without overwhelming readers.
It is self-empowering and strategic, which makes it the first choice for trauma specialists and youth workers. The book has a collection of stories, practical exercises, self-help tips, and daily activities to help readers open up about their problems without shame and guilt.
2 Children’s Books about Mental Health
1. My Strong Mind: A story about developing mental strength – Niels van Hove
My strong mind is the story of Kate and the different life situations she faces. It is a great book for children of primary school years and has everything that a child needs to grow a positive mindset.
The book contains examples of real-life encounters that many children can relate to, for example, dealing with problems at school, fighting with friends, and issues with parents.
It spreads awareness on how we can let children identify their challenges and help them become self-dependent by solving them. A great concept illustrated in an easy-flowing way; this book is a fascinating read for promoting emotional resilience and mental toughness in children.
2. I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism – Pat Thomas
I see things differently is part of the well-known ‘A First Look At’ series. Psychologist Pat Thomas has presented some astounding findings on autism spectrum disorders and intervention techniques for managing them.
The book depicts stories and pictorial illustrations to describe what goes on inside the mind of an autistic child and how we can train them to explore their internal reserves to the fullest. The language is friendly for children, and the book is an invaluable introductory handout for spreading the word on child mental health.
2 Books that Promote Mental Health Awareness
1. Changing Minds: The go-to Guide to Mental Health for You, Family and Friends – Dr. Mark Cross, Dr. Catherine Hanrahan
Changing minds is a substantial resource of mental health and disorders that we can access for ourselves or someone close to us. Dr. Mark Cross, a leading psychiatrist, laid the foundation of this book that was later beautifully written by Dr. Catherine Hanrahan.
The main idea that the proponent and writer of this book spread are that each individual should have access to necessary information on mental health. This compassionate and insightful guide will demystify mental health issues and help anyone concerned about their mental health or others’.
2. Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action – Susan Jeffers
Have you ever asked yourself what you fear the most and why? And have you ever imagined how your life would have been in the absence of that fear?
Overcoming fear is critical to sound mental health. Whether we are afraid of public speaking, or heights, or aging and death, fear in any form holds us back and unnerves our inner strength.
‘Feel the fear‘ comes with insights on positive thinking tools that will let you deal with your deep-rooted fears and outgrow them.
3 Mental Health Coloring Books
1. Nurse Coloring Book: Sweary Midnight Edition – A Totally Relatable Swear Word Adult Coloring Book Filled with Nurse Problems
The Sweary Nurse Coloring Book is a 40-page adult coloring journal with humorous illustrations on the common occurrences in a nurse’s life. It is a mindful activity book that makes for an excellent filler task.
This book will also help to lighten up the burden of daily stressors at work and give you the zeal to take things with a positive spirit.
2. Adult Coloring Book: Discover The Healing Power of Mandala Pages – Nitin Mistry
Colouring is a mindful task that creates space for self-expression, insight, and positive thought replacement. The time and focus that we devote while sketching and filling colors in these activity books help in diverting the mind from the negative ruminations and focusing on something creative for the time being.
This adult coloring book comes with some detailed pictorial illustrations that will allow us to have some unadulterated ‘me-time’ and set aside the worries that bring us down.
3. Mental Health Moments: Combining Journaling, Coloring and Reading – Danni Andrew
Mental health moments is a meditation journal and an adult coloring book. It is an all-in-one self-help manual for improving psychological well-being.
The book comes with short stories, coloring activities, and self-help tips and tricks that everyone can use irrespective of their profession or mental conditions. It is self-explorative, insightful, and a great leisure activity for grownups.
The 3 Best Sellers on Amazon
1. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed – Lori Gottlieb
Maybe You Should Talk To Someone is a ‘daring, delightful, and transformative book’, according to Arianna Huffington, the founder of Huffington Post. This book is a thought-provoking bestseller that is also lined up to be created as a television series now.
Maybe You Should Talk To Someone is topped with a layer of humor and studies all the slants of being a therapist and a help-seeker. From diagnosis to opening up to a stranger, this book is all about being unapologetically yourself and taking life one day at a time. It dives deep into the human mind and takes readers through all the ethos behind the therapy sessions.
2. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma – Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
This book is primarily about combating trauma and healing after encountering stress. Author and trauma specialist Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk has shed light on some well-researched scientific advances of how trauma disintegrates the body and mind, and what we can do to protect ourselves against it.
The book is about accepting and letting go and opens up a new paradigm of recuperating from stressful life situations. Suitable for adult professionals as well as general readers, this book is available on Amazon in paperback and digital forms.
3. Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude: Gratitude Journal
The impact of gratitude on mental wellness cannot be emphasized enough. ‘Good days start with gratitude‘ has been a bestselling guide on cultivating gratitude in daily lives.
It comes as a 52-week standard form with exercises that help us in realizing what we are grateful for and how we can practice spreading words of gratitude to ourselves and others.
4 Audiobook Recommendations (Incl. Links)
1. Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behaviour – Mark Goulston, Philip Goldberg
We are often too late to identify the self-destructive thoughts that jeopardize our mental strength. This audiobook is about 40 such self-debilitating thought patterns to watch out for.
Including elements of guilt, dependence, self-pity, and unhealthy self-criticism, this book shows us how to transform negative aspects of the self to positive ones.
With lucid language and an easily understandable tone, the audiobook has everything we need to know for bringing about the desirable changes within ourselves.
2. Get Out Of Your Mind and Into Your Life – Spencer Smith, Steven C. Hayes
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy uniquely promotes mental health. This book calls for embracing radical self-acceptance and unconditional commitment to change. It has a systematic step-by-step approach that is easy for readers to follow.
It is popular among mental health professionals who help people fight emotional challenges and helps in creating a safe environment for ourselves to thrive.
3. Mental Health: The Ultimate Guide to Achieve Mental Toughness and Take Care of Yourself Without Seeing a Therapist – Casey Averson
Anxiety, depression, and stress rip our inner strength apart. The audiobook on mental health and toughness is for anyone who has experienced such upsetting conditions or knows someone undergoing similar struggles.
The book covers crucial topics such as the warning signs of mental illness and ways to get through daily life stress without getting bogged down.
4. The Future of Mental Health: Deconstructing the Mental Disorder Paradigm – Eric Maisel
The Future of Mental Health investigates the scope of improving mental health interventions that promote well-being. It studies how psychologists can work on their existing skills and help themselves and their clients to shift the focus of treatment from illness to recovery.
With powerful alternatives to conventional treatment modalities, this audio content unleashes ways of revolutionizing mental health treatment plans.
Understanding mental health and wellness is multidimensional and multifarious. Here are some articles from the team of extremely talented writers at Positive Psychology that will add to your knowledge in the area:
A Take-Home Message
Sharing and expressing are two critical components of improving mental health. It allows us to put things into perspective and saves us the unbearable agony of suffering alone.
The resources mentioned in this article will help you to get started on spreading the word of well-being and implement the strategies for ourselves as well. As we know, happiness begins with the self, and focusing on the right things is the key to a well-balanced life.