10 best books to help you understand Mental Health

I am an avid reader and today I thought I’d share some favourite books on Mental Health :

The Bell Jar


  • Written by poet and author Sylvia Platt. The Bell Jar is an autobiographical novel.
    It tells the story of a young gifted woman’s mental breakdown during a summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York in the 1950s.
    This book is a shocking and realistic story about a woman falling into the grip of insanity. Brilliant.

    The Shock Of The Fall

  • While on vacation with their parents, Matthew Homes and his older brother snuck out in the middle of the night, however only Matthew came home safely.

    This is Nathan Filer s debut book

    The story is narrated by Matthew, a nineteen year old schizophrenic who recalls the sudden, tragic death of his older brother, Simon – a death which he believes he caused. Very much recommended.

The Yellow Wallpaper


Part of the Penguin ‘Little Black Classic series The Yellow Wallpaper is highly recommended

First published in 1892, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure!!

Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing complete rest instead.

The Yellow Wallpaper” really stands out for portrayal of one woman’s descent into insanity,

It also plays a role highlighting the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women

I cannot recommend this book enough.
The Happy Depressive

Alastair Campbell, was the Director of Communications from 1994 to 2003 to PM Tony Blair

“The Happy Depressive” is a short, easy to read insight into one man’s battles with mental illness, and his interpretation of happiness.

It is a clear presentation of Mr Campbell’s philosophy about happiness and includes frank descriptions of his own battles with depression. He has a clear vision
about which areas policy makers should focus on. Thus we get a broad view on current affairs (albeit at the time of writing) Great guy. Get the book!

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time


Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. One day, a neighbour’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows is a funny, deep fascinating tale. Buy it

The Centre Cannot Hold

Elyn R. Saks is an esteemed professor, lawyer, and psychiatrist at the University of Southern California, yet she has suffered from schizophrenia for most of her life, and still has ongoing major episodes of the illness. The Centre Cannot Hold is the eloquent, moving story of Elyn’s life, from the first time that she heard voices speaking to her as a young teenager, to attempted suicides in college, through learning to live on her own as an adult in an often terrifying world. Must –read.

A Can Of Madness

Jason Pegler was diagnosed with manic depression at the age of 17. You could say that he caused it himself with the excessive drinking and drugs that he took! I wont!. He writes in an extremely passionate and intense way. A Can of Madness is his autobiography up until his late 20’s and was first published in 2002.
The manic moments are described with such clarity that they are quite unnerving. The moments of suicidal feelings are very harrowing.
The book is a journey where the person develops and comes up with a vision for saving his own sanity and that of others.

Henry’s Demons

On a cold February day two months after his twentieth birthday, Henry Cockburn waded into the Newhaven estuary outside Brighton, England, and nearly drowned. Voices, he said, had urged him to do it. Nearly halfway around the world in Afghanistan, journalist Patrick Cockburn learned from his wife, Jan that his son had suffered a breakdown and had been admitted to a hospital. Ten days later, Henry was diagnosed with schizophrenia. What follows is the extraordinary story of the eight years since Henry’s descent into schizophrenia—years he has spent almost entirely in hospitals—and his family’s struggle to help him recover.


Knut Hamsun’s first novel, Hunger, was published in 1890 and reads like a play-by-play of one man’s descent into poverty and insanity
Hunger really is a narration of a homeless man’s life. He describes the plite of hunger, physical and mental exhaustion, and the madness induced by hunger which causes you to do things that you wouldn’t normally do. I highly recommend this book to all

Prozac Nation

This book is just so important and powerful in showing what it’s really like living with depression. Truly raw and brutal, but so insightful and beautiful. Trigger warning for anyone with depression, suicidal thoughts or self harm or any mental disorder should know that this book is definitely brutal and honest, so be aware of that.


(Interesting line from Prozac Nation!

We don’t really know what the brain is going to look like 40 years from now since I have been taking pills my whole life)

Enjoy the books guys and give me feedback please