Books that Discuss Mental Health
Note: many of these books deal with topics that may be difficult for some readers, including suicide and abuse.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail HoneymanEleanor Oliphant avoids social situations by until she meets Raymond and Sammy, who are also isolated.
by Alexandra RowlandIn this LGBTQ+ fantasy novel, Prince Kadou struggles with anxiety and panic attacks, which he calls his “fear creature.”
The Midnight Library by Matt HaigNora 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.
by Poppy AlexanderKate Potter has been lonely and grieving the loss of her husband, but she wants to make Christmas perfect for her son, Jack.
by Matthew QuickPat Peoples, the narrator of this book, leaves a mental facility and finds life changed. With a unique perspective, Pat navigates life, family, and therapy.
by Rowan Hisayo BuchananMina’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.
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg MasonEven though her husband, Patrick, says she is fine, Martha knows she isn’t.
Borderline by Mishell BakerMillie, 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.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathThis book chronicles the mental trauma and breakdown of Esther Greenwood.
by David DiopA 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.
A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon61-year-old George Hall quietly grapples with his deteriorating mental health as family drama happens around him.
by Victoria MasThe high-point of 1885 will be the Lenten Ball that showcases the “mad” women of the Salpetriere Asylum in Paris, run by Dr. Charcot.
Bewilderment by Richard PowersAfter the death of his wife, Theo Byrne raises his son Robin, who struggles with emotional control, and explores the possibilities of experimental neurofeedback treatment.
Beard in Mind by Penny ReidA romantic comedy about Beau Winston and Shelly Sullivan, a woman who has obsessive compulsive disorder.
Because we are Bad by Lily BaileyBailey’s memoir chronicles her childhood and struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder.
Hidden Valley Road by Robert KolkerKolker focuses on the Galvin family in the mid-1950s as 6 out of 12 children are diagnosed as schizophrenic.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori GottliebGottlieb, a therapist, recounts her experiences working with patients and herself.
Furiously Happy by Jenny LawsonLawson’s comedic memoir about her struggles with anxiety and depression.
by Allison RaskinRaskin discusses the intersection of anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and depression with dating and relationships.
by Bessel A. van der KolkVan der Kolk explains and explores traumatic stress and its effect on the brain, as well as various useful therapies.
edited by Natalie Eve GarrettWell known authors talk about being alone and loneliness.
by Kay Redfield JamisonJamison recounts living with bipolar disorder and treatment options she encountered
Heavy by Kiese LaymonLaymon’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.
by Andrew SolomonSolomon presents a comprehensive analysis of depression through personal stories and interviews with people involved in many different ways - from scientists to philosophers.
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt HaigHaig’s memoir about struggling with depression.
My Age of Anxiety by Scott StosselStossel provides an examination of living with anxiety, as well as a history of anxiety and its treatments.
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna KaysenKaysen describes living as a teenage inpatient at McLean Hospital for psychiatric treatment in the late 1960s.
Just Checking by Emily ColasColas approaches her obsessive compulsive disorder with humor.
by Stacy PershallPershall’s often shocking memoir chronicling her struggles with bipolar disorder, suicide, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, and the American mental health care system.
edited by Stephanie Schroeder and Teresa TheophanoA collection of writing and art about mental illness and LGBTQ+ identity.