A selection of mental health themed novels and memoirs

Picking up a book has the power to transfer us to another universe, connect us with strangers or provide hope and comfort during difficult times. And while reading is educational, it also can be incredibly relaxing. If you’re looking for a summer read, consider one, two or all of these titles focused on the important topic of mental health. 

The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown 

Brené Brown, a renowned shame researcher and professor, strengthens her readers with the truth that “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” The Gifts of Imperfection draws its audience into discovering and owning their story as a means of living wholeheartedly, as well as recognizing the things which get in the way. 

Through the book’s 10 Guideposts, Brown walks her readers through the temptation to live perfectly, shutting down feelings of shame, and instead fostering compassionate, courageous and connected living. Titled one of the “Five Books That Will Actually Change Your Outlook On Life,” by Forbes magazine, The Gifts of Imperfection will help its readers overcome fear and self-consciousness in order to wholeheartedly chase after who they are meant to be, not who society says they should be.

Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It, by Ethan Kross

In his National Bestseller, Ethan Kross takes a look at the little voice living inside each of our heads, who switches constantly from being your most supportive coach to your most negative critic. Through research, personal experience and the stories of others, Chatter speaks to the truth of the power of this inner voice and how it has the ability to send one spiraling into depression, hopelessness and despair simply by being allowed to run rampant through our minds. But he shows readers that they have just as much power internally to change the tone of this conversation for the better and deliberately improve the quality of our self-talk every day.

10% Happier, by Dan Harris

Fully titled, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress with Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help that Actually Works – A True Story, this National Bestseller by Dan Harris speaks to the truth behind his televised panic attack and the following journey he experienced in order to get his mental health back on track. 10% Happier focuses on meditation, and the way Harris was able to harness its benefits to help him minimize the incessant screaming of the voice in his head which ultimately led him to a breakdown.

10% Happier not only offers a personal story, but encourages readers by his example, to strengthen mental health through the mindful practice of remaining rooted in the present moment. 

Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life, by Amanda Stern

Stern wrote Little Panic in a comical, yet relatable manner, detailing her journey to putting a name to the thoughts and feelings that frequently left her feeling wildly out of touch with the people in her life. Constantly worried and anxious about whether or not her worst fears and paranoias would come to fruition, Stern knew something was disordered in her thinking and relating to the world, but was unable to properly understand it for some time, until diagnosed with panic disorder.

Her story of learning to cope with experiencing the world in this way not only offers a deeper insight, but gives encouragement to those feeling like there are no words to describe what’s happening inside their head. 

How to Fail: Everything I’ve Learned From Things Going Wrong, by Elizabeth Day

Through life experiences, Day, a self-proclaimed perfectionist, came to the gritty realization that failure is important, welcome and valuable. As hard as we might try to keep everything operating smoothly and efficiently, How to Fail reminds readers that growth comes from messing it all up, not necessarily from getting it right the first time.

In her words, “I have evolved more as a result of things going wrong than when everything seemed to be going right. Out of crisis has come clarity, and sometimes even catharsis.”

Seeking knowledge and help 

Relatable novels, memoirs and self-help books are great resources for anyone, whether or not you live with a diagnosed mental health condition. They can give anyone an inside look into the mind of someone living with OCD or anxiety, offer hope and encouragement for a family member with a struggling loved one, or be a helpful resource for anyone seeking to learn more or better themselves.

For more information on mental health care, including counseling, contact Mazzitti & Sullivan Counseling today at 1-800-809-2925.