Books that Discuss Mental Health

Note: many of these books deal with topics that may be difficult for some readers, including suicide and abuse.


Cover image for Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine :

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant avoids social situations by until she meets Raymond and Sammy, who are also isolated.

Cover image for A taste of gold and iron

A Taste of Gold and Iron 

by Alexandra Rowland

In this LGBTQ+ fantasy novel, Prince Kadou struggles with anxiety and panic attacks, which he calls his “fear creature.”

Cover image for The midnight library

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Nora Seed is at a point when she must make decisions about how she wants to live her life. This book explores what makes life worth living and Nora’s own feelings of hopelessness and depression.

Cover image for 25 days 'til Christmas

25 Days ‘til Christmas 

by Poppy Alexander

Kate Potter has been lonely and grieving the loss of her husband, but she wants to make Christmas perfect for her son, Jack.

Cover image for The silver linings playbook

The Silver Linings Playbook 

by Matthew Quick

Pat Peoples, the narrator of this book, leaves a mental facility and finds life changed. With a unique perspective, Pat navigates life, family, and therapy.

Cover image for Starling days

Starling Days 

by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Mina’s mental health is struggling and her husband, Oscar, moves them to London from New York as they both try to help Mina to heal.

Cover image for Sorrow and bliss :

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Even though her husband, Patrick, says she is fine, Martha knows she isn’t.

Cover image for Borderline

Borderline by Mishell Baker

Millie, a woman living with borderline personality disorder, is recruited by the secret Arcadia Project to keep track of people entering and living a parallel reality.

Cover image for The bell jar

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This book chronicles the mental trauma and breakdown of Esther Greenwood.

Cover image for At night all blood is black

At Night All Blood is Black 

by David Diop

A graphic and harrowing novella about the physical and mental impact of war from the perspective of a Senegalese soldier fighting in the French army during WWI.

Cover image for A spot of bother :

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

61-year-old George Hall quietly grapples with his deteriorating mental health as family drama happens around him.

Cover image for The mad women's ball

The Mad Women’s Ball 

by Victoria Mas

The high-point of 1885 will be the Lenten Ball that showcases the “mad” women of the Salpetriere Asylum in Paris, run by Dr. Charcot.

Cover image for Bewilderment :

Bewilderment by Richard Powers

After the death of his wife, Theo Byrne raises his son Robin, who struggles with emotional control, and explores the possibilities of experimental neurofeedback treatment.

Cover image for Beard in mind

Beard in Mind by Penny Reid

A romantic comedy about Beau Winston and Shelly Sullivan, a woman who has obsessive compulsive disorder.


Cover image for Because we are bad :

Because we are Bad by Lily Bailey

Bailey’s memoir chronicles her childhood and struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder.

Cover image for Hidden Valley Road :

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

Kolker focuses on the Galvin family in the mid-1950s as 6 out of 12 children are diagnosed as schizophrenic.

Cover image for Maybe you should talk to someone :

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Gottlieb, a therapist, recounts her experiences working with patients and herself.

Cover image for Furiously happy :

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Lawson’s comedic memoir about her struggles with anxiety and depression.

Cover image for Overthinking about you :

Overthinking About You 

by Allison Raskin

Raskin discusses the intersection of anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and depression with dating and relationships.


Cover image for The body keeps the score :

The Body Keeps the Score 

by Bessel A. van der Kolk

Van der Kolk explains and explores traumatic stress and its effect on the brain, as well as various useful therapies.

Cover image for The lonely stories :

The Lonely Stories

edited by Natalie Eve Garrett

Well known authors talk about being alone and loneliness.

Cover image for An unquiet mind

An Unquiet Mind 

by Kay Redfield Jamison

Jamison recounts living with bipolar disorder and treatment options she encountered

Cover image for Heavy :

Heavy by Kiese Laymon

Laymon’s memoir considers the effects violence and abuse had on his body and mind, as well as his relationship with his mother and growing up Black in the USA.
Cover image for Dear friend, from my life I write to you in your life

Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li

Li brings discusses depression and suicidal thoughts alongside validation found through reading other authors’ work.

Cover image for The noonday demon :

The Noonday Demon 

by Andrew Solomon

Solomon presents a comprehensive analysis of depression through personal stories and interviews with people involved in many different ways - from scientists to philosophers.

Cover image for Reasons to stay alive

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Haig’s memoir about struggling with depression.

Cover image for My age of anxiety :

My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel

Stossel provides an examination of living with anxiety, as well as a history of anxiety and its treatments.

Cover image for Girl, interrupted

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

Kaysen describes living as a teenage inpatient at McLean Hospital for psychiatric treatment in the late 1960s.

Cover image for Just checking :

Just Checking by Emily Colas

Colas approaches her obsessive compulsive disorder with humor.

Cover image for Loud in the house of myself :

Loud in the House of Myself 

by Stacy Pershall

Pershall’s often shocking memoir chronicling her struggles with bipolar disorder, suicide, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, and the American mental health care system.

Cover image for Headcase :

Headcase: LGBTQ writers & artists on mental health and wellness

edited by Stephanie Schroeder and Teresa Theophano  

A collection of writing and art about mental illness and LGBTQ+ identity.