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The Best Mental Health Books to Have Come Out This Year

The Best Mental Health Books to Have Come Out This Year

By Magdalen Manning 


In the wake of the pandemic, mental health has, rightly so, been a recurring topic of conversation, with many companies adapting to a hybrid working style, ensuring employees have the rest they need, and numerous pushes via social media enlightening users on how to practice self-care, it is a conversation that is, at the forefront of the media. However, for many, social media is confusing, spreads mixed messages and the information isn’t derived from an expert, which is why books are a better option, below I will discuss the best mental health books which I have found useful.


mental health books

Aside from reading itself being a positive tool to utilise for your mental health, the content needs to be captivating and intriguing; for me personally when a text is overloaded with factual information I become overwhelmed, which brings me to my first recommendation.

what happened to you by bruce

‘what happened to you? By Bruce d. Perry & oprah winfrey. With a conversationalist tone, what happened to you? Explores winfrey’s unresolved childhood trauma, whilst detailing important factors of changing the narrative surrounding trauma With Perry taking on a new approach, the psychiatrist realised that conventional therapy was not helping him to connect with his patients, and so he developed a neurodevelopmental approach: by using a neuroscience perspective Perry has been able to not only explain the process of his patients behavioural patterns but also the impact, and how to help. In the starting chapter of the book Perry gives an example of this to winfrey, which then resolves into an insightful conversation upon how our trauma affects us, and how oftentimes we place the blame upon ourselves with the phrase ‘what’s wrong with me?’. with an intense focus on healing throughout, what happened to you? Describes how past trauma has an effect on our present life, whilst encouraging readers to shift their perception away from their own troubles. mixed with science and conversation throughout, I would highly recommend What Happened to You? as an introduction into re-learning about yourself, and your trauma.


burn after writing

The second recommendation I have is ‘Burn After Writing’ by Sharon Jones, originally published in 2014, Jones’ novel is having a resurgence due to its popularity via tiktok, with one user claiming “{its} perfect for understanding how and what i feel" (TikTok user @jashlem- 2022), whilst critics have hailed the interactive book as revolutionary for mental health, “Through incisive questions and thought experiments, this journal helps you learn new things while letting others go” (GoodReads, 2022). Described as more of a journal than a novel, Burn After Writing encourages users to express their feelings proactively and consciously and, after completion, doing as the title says and discarding it completely. The process of letting go is heavily hinted throughout with quotes suggesting themes of expanding yourself through healing, I would highly recommend for those who prefer a more hands on approach.


the things i did not say in therapy

Up next is the poetry novel: ‘the things I didn’t say in therapy’ by Logan Duane, taking on an emotional approach Duane explores his raw feelings with a deep founded and upfront insight into her personal struggles and things she felt she was unable to express through therapy. Generating a sentimental effect through a poetic voice Duane has been able to connect to readers through emotion whilst depicting her very personal experiences.


My next recommendation is another interactive style, ‘how to be calm’ by Anna Barnes deciphers anger whilst breaking down the emotions and equipping the reader with useful tools to contain and calm it.  releasing an overall feeling of ease, I personally use how to be calm and have found it extremely useful, relaxing and motivational. Containing numerous statements, artwork and activities, all aimed towards centring the readers, barnes’ writing has an overall soothing effect whilst displaying advice on how to combat anger and anxiety which you can integrate into your daily life.


set boundaries find piece

The last recommendation is ‘set boundaries, find peace ‘by nedra glover tawwab detailing the importance of boundaries whilst using a relatable tone tawwab uses his extensive research in cbt (cognitive behavioural therapy) to explain how to find balance. The licensed counsellor and relationship expert explains how to utilise boundaries in an assertive manner, whilst detailing techniques to use without the apologetic and co-dependent stance many of us take. Taking a particular focus into the relationships we have in life, whilst briefly touching upon issues like burnout, tawwab gives a professional perspective whilst connecting to the reader and allowing space for understanding.