Free Resource: Mental Health Books

Since I can remember, reading has been an outlet for me. Escaping into new worlds and learning from fictional characters. Recently, I have been reading more about mental health. Learning how others have dealt with their own struggles and how closely or not so closely I can relate to it. Fiction, Nonfiction, Young Adult, Activity books – they all speak to me in their own way. Through the past year or so, I have been compiling a list of books about mental health. Now, I haven’t read all of them – but I have read a few- and they are all on my “To Read List”. I found some of these books on own, through Goodreads, Buzzfeed lists, and other lists online. I’ll post some links to those websites below.

If you have anyone has any book they would like to add or believe that I should edit the subject please let me know! I did my best and I’m always open for suggestions. My email is

I typed the list below – but I also attached it as a PDF if that is easier. Hope you might find some of these helpful!

Keep an eye for future resource lists including apps, websites, podcast episodes, and movies/tv shows!

Free Resource List PDF



Activity Books

  • I Am Here Now by the Mindfulness Project
  • How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith
  • Start Where You are by Meera Lee Patel
  • You Are Here by Jenny Lawson

Fiction Books

  • 72 Hour Hold by Bebe Moore Campbell (Bipolar Disorder)
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (PTSD)
  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Depression)
  • After Birth by Eliza Albert (Postpartum Depression)
  • Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger (Depression, Suicide)
  • Dog Medicine by Julia Barton (Depression)
  • Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen (Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder)
  • Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum (Depression)
  • House Rules by Jodi Picoult (Aspergers)
  • Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett (Depression)
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for the Day by Winifred Watson (Depression)
  • Nobody is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey (Depression, Anxiety)
  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (Depression)
  • Self-Help by Lorrie Moore (Mental Health General)
  • Silver Linings Playbook by Mathew Quick (Bipolar Disorder, Depression)
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (Depression)
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich (PTSD)
  • The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer (Mental Health General)
  • The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Depression)

Young Adult Fiction Books

  • A List of Cages by Robin Roe (ADHD, Trauma)
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Depression, Bereavement)
  • Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios (Abuse)
  • Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves (Mental Health General)
  • By the Time You Read This, I’ll be Dead by Julie Anne Peters (Depression, Suicide)
  • Crazy by Han Nolan (Mental Health General)
  • Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti (Depression)
  • Everything All at Once by  Katrina Leno (Anxiety)
  • Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone (OCD)
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Anxiety)
  • Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa (Depression, Stigma)
  • Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (Social Anxiety)
  • Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (Anxiety, Depression)
  • Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley (Agoraphobia)
  • History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (OCD, Trauma)
  • I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Bullying, Trauma)
  • Impulse by Ellen Hopkins (Anxiety, Depression, Suicide)
  • Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert (Bipolar Disorder)
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (Anxiety, Depression)
  • Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira (Depression, Grief)
  • Lowboy by John Wray (Schizophrenia)
  • Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (Schizophrenia)
  • Mosquitoland by David Arnold (Psychosis, Depression)
  • My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (Depression, Suicide)
  • OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu (OCD)
  • Paperweight by Meg Haston (Eating Disorders)
  • Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (Depression)
  • Ten Things I Can See From Here by Carric Mac (Anxiety)
  • The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga (Depression)
  • The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez (Eating Disorders)
  • The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson (Bipolar Disorder)
  • The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (Effects of Mental Illness)
  • The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand (Depression, Suicide)
  • The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork (Depression)
  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (Trauma, Abuse, Grief, Anxiety)
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (Anxiety, OCD)
  • The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay (Trauma, PTSD)
  • The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Grief, Depression)
  • The Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle (Anxiety)
  • The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten (OCD)
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Depression, Suicidal)
  • Under Rose-Tained Skies by Louise Gornall (Anxiety, Agoraphobia)
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan (Depression)
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (Eating Disorders)

Nonfiction Books

  • A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain by Marilee Strong (Self-harm, Compulsion)
  • All the Things We Never Know by Sheila Hamilton (Bipolar Disorder)
  • An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison (Bipolar Disorder)
  • Anxiety as an Ally by Dan Ryckert (Anxiety)
  • Darkness Visible by William Styron (Depression, Suicide)
  • Death Grip by Matt Samet (Panic Disorder)
  • Don’t Panic by R. Reid Wilson (Anxiety, Panic Disorders)
  • Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson (Mental Health General)
  • Falling into Grace by Adyashanti (Mental Health General)
  • Furiously Happy by  Jenny Lawson (Depression, Anxiety)
  • Hardcore Self-Help: F*ck Anxiety by Robert Duff (Anxiety)
  • Henry’s Demons by Patrick & Henry Cockburn (Schizophrenia)
  • How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me by Susan Rose Blauner (Depression, Suicide)
  • Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein (Eating Disorders, Depression)
  • I Don’t Want to be Crazy by Samantha Schutz (Anxiety)
  • I Hate You – Don’t Leave Me by Jerold Kreisman, MD and Hal Straus (Borderline Personality Disorder)
  • In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate (Addiction)
  • Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story by Mac McClelland (PTSD)
  • Just Checking: Scenes From the Life of an Obsessive-Compulsive by Emily Colas (OCD)
  • Lay My Burden Down: A Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans by Alvin Poussaint &  Amy Alexander (Mental Health General)
  • Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (Anxiety, Depression)
  • Loud in the House of Myself by Stacy Pershall (Eating Disorders, Bipolar Disorder)
  • Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill by Robert Whitaker (Mental Health General)
  • Madness and Civilization by Michael Foucault (Mental Health General)
  • Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher (Bipolar Disorder)
  • Making Friends with Anxiety by Sarah Rayner (Anxiety)
  • Mindfulness by Mark Williams & Danny Penman (Mindfulness)
  • Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith (Anxiety)
  • My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind by Scott Strossel (Anxiety)
  • My Body is a Book of Rules by Elissa Washuta (Bipolar Disorder)
  • NeuroTirbes by Steve Silberman (Autism)
  • Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh (Mindfulness)
  • Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel (Depression)
  • Psychopath Free by Jackson MacKenzie (Emotional Trauma, Narcissism, Psychopath)
  • Purge: Rehab Diaries by Nicole Johns (Eating Disorders)
  • Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig (Depression, Anxiety)
  • Sane New World: Taming the Mind by Ruby Wax (Mental Health General)
  • Sanity and Grace by Judy Collins (Suicide)
  • Stop Walking on Eggshells by Paul T. Mason & Randi Kreger (Borderline Personality Disorder)
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (Depression, Suicide)
  • The Buddha & the Borderline: A Memoir by Kiera Van Gelder (Borderline Personality Disorder)
  • The Color of Hope: People of Color Mental Health Narratives by Vanessa Hazzard (Editor) (Mental Health General)
  • The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks (Schizophrenia)
  • The Depths by Jonathan Rottenberg (Depression)
  • The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Stephen Grosz (Mental Health General)
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wall (Depression, Alcoholism)
  • The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe (Mindfulness)
  • The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought by David Adam (OCD)
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks (Mental Health General)
  • The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon (Depression)
  • The Outrun by Amy Liptrot (Psychosis, Alcoholism)
  • The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torrent of Madness by Lori Schiller & Amanda Bennet (Schizophrenia)
  • The Spiritual Gift of Madness by Seth Farber (Mental Health General)
  • The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein (Mental Health General)
  • This is how by Augusten Burroughs (Mental Health General)
  • Trauma and Recovery by Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma, PTSD)
  • Unholy Ghosts: Writers on Depression by Nell Casey (Editor) (Depression)
  • Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher (Eating Disorders)
  • Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Dr. Robert M. Sapolsky (Stress)
  • Wild and Precious by Jen Saunders (Editor) (Mental Health General)
  • Willow Weep for Me by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah (Depression)
  • Writing as a Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo (Mental Health General)
  • You are a Badass by Jen Sincero (Mental Health General)
  • You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay (Mental Health General)
  • Your Voice in my Head by Emma Forrest (Depression, Eating Disorders, Suicide)

Link to my Goodreads List on Mental Health Books


Links to Buzzfeed Lists:

29 YA Books About Mental Health that Actually Nail Yet

24 Books that are Actually Honest About Mental Illness

19 Books That Are Brutally Honest About Mental Health

31 Books That Will Help You Better Understand Mental Illness And Disorders

Links to Other Mental Health Book Lists Online (not all books on these lists are included in mine):

11 Books That Will Change Your Perspective on Mental Illness

100 Must-Read Books on Mental Illness

16 YAs That Get it Right: Mental Health Edition

11 of the Most Realistic Portrayals of Mental Illness in Novels

Summer Reading: 20 Mental Health Books That Can Change Your Life

10 Books to Read During Mental Health Month

The Best Books About Mental Health and Mental Illness

Hope this resource list can help you some way! Again, please feel free to comment or email with any suggestions! I would love love to hear from you. Attached is the PDF Form, with some of the mental health topics color coded.

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