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Opinion We need to rethink mental health care — and the assumptions we have about what support means

Moki Macías is executive director of the Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative in Atlanta.

Across the country, there is a generative hum of what activist Mariame Kaba and her colleagues call “a million experiments” — creative, local efforts enacting the vision of the Black Lives Matter movement to create safer communities by divesting from punitive responses and expanding community resources.

In Atlanta, an experiment born of a campaign by the Solutions Not Punishment Coalition offers connection to housing, health care and other resources, and supportive relationships instead of jail: the Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative (PAD) . PAD began in 2017 by providing an immediate alternative to arrest when individuals were detained by police. Today, we also provide community members an alternative to police involvement via the city’s 311 non-emergency services line.

For our experiment and others to succeed, however, we must dismantle the deeply embedded belief that the way to respond to people living with mental illness is with coercion and containment, rather than by creating the conditions for people to thrive within communities.

The expansion of Atlanta’s 311 services — funded in large part through the city budget — allows callers to request PAD for concerns related to basic needs, public health, substance use and mental health. These requests are then passed along to a PAD harm reduction team to offer immediate support to those referred, as well as connections to housing and other resources. Callers use 311 to seek assistance for people yelling outside of businesses, relieving themselves in public, appearing disoriented or walking through traffic, along with other survival activities that otherwise often lead to police interactions and jail.

Particularly for concerns related to perceived mental illness, however, callers want to know: “Where can you take this person?”

And that is the reaction we need to change. Although many callers truly want to connect their neighbors to care, the question is based on a widely held assumption that people who display signs of mental distress require hospitalization and should be forced into it if they don’t seek it for themselves. This is informed by a long history of institutionalizing people with mental illnesses, which at one point in our history led to more than half a million people being committed to psychiatric hospitals. It also reveals a lack of understanding of the harm caused by restraining and forcing people into treatment.

nonfiction articles about mental health

Reimagine Safety

Emergency inpatient care can be an important resource for any one of us, and that care is often very difficult to access . But as for any health issue, hospitalization is a serious intervention in acute circumstances, and it cannot stand in for quality health care and the basic resources to maintain health and wellness, including supportive relationships, safe shelter and nutrition.

Many people who may appear to be experiencing a mental health issue may be navigating homelessness, exposure to the elements, hunger, dehydration, pain, violence and fear of violence, lack of privacy or discrimination. What observers may interpret as a mental health crisis could in many cases by understood as a human response to the crisis of extreme poverty.

On top of that, the tidy “solution” of removing people with unmet mental health needs to medical assessment and treatment puts tremendous and unrealistic pressure on health-care institutions and is destined to continue failing. It also exacerbates a much more pernicious harm: the harm of not including these community members in our collective imagination of community.

If we truly included them, we would not treat people as problems to be removed from a system that has failed them. Instead, we would seek a change in the conditions that have led us where we are.

It is promising that so many communities across the country are moving away from a law-enforcement response when concerns arise related to mental health emergencies and survival activities. But the transformative potential of this moment will only be realized if we prioritize keeping people in the community — and deliver the resources our communities need to support all people to thrive. This includes basic income and more supportive housing options that respect the principles of housing first . We need public bathrooms and other public places where anyone can find respite, charge a phone or take a rest undisturbed. And we need broad access to quality out-patient health care, mental health urgent-care clinics, and more peer respite centers and programs that support wellness by nurturing connections and purpose.

By investing in our communities, we can begin healing from the poisoned logic of incarceration — the idea that we can banish people rather than solve problems — that has failed us all. But non-police responders will only be as strong as the community resources that we can connect people to.

An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated the year the Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative was founded. It began in 2017. This version has been corrected.

Read the full Reimagine Safety project here

Allison Anderman: Red-flag laws have saved lives. But they need to be strengthened.

Debbie Ramsey: I’m a former Baltimore police detective. Cities like mine should embrace a community responder model.

Jasson Perez: Lori Lightfoot is wrong. ‘We’ didn’t fail Adam Toledo.

Harvey Molotch: All dressed up and nowhere to go: America’s public bathroom crisis

Read more on how to Reimagine Safety

Every community deserves to be safe and healthy, but with police facing a crisis of legitimacy, it can be hard to see a way forward. A project from The Washington Post Editorial Board shares proven strategies that cities can embrace now and are not centered in law enforcement.

Read the full project here.

More from outside voices:

Moki Macias: We need to rethink mental health care — and the assumptions we have about what support means

Jasmine Heiss and Krishnaveni Gundu: Why reimagining safety looks different in rural America

Fatimah Loren Dreier and David Muhammad: President Biden is listening to communities on violence prevention. Congress should, too.

Patrick Sharkey: We can’t reimagine safety without being clear-eyed about America’s gun problem

Elizabeth Glazer: To fuel public safety reform, cities must build their civic muscles

Phillip Atiba Goff: We’re making progress on the ‘what’ of reimagining safety. But what about the ‘how'?

Marc Mauer and Bernice Mireku-North: How we are reimagining public safety in Montgomery County

Johanna Wald and David J. Harris: Abolishing the death penalty must be part of reimagining safety

Andrea James: Women and girls must be at the center of reimagining safety

Richard Wallace: In Chicago, systemic racism runs deep. Our solutions must evolve.

Cedric L. Alexander: Which side are you on? That’s a question every police officer must answer.

Eugenia C. South: If Black lives really matter, we must invest in Black neighborhoods

Kassandra Frederique: To truly create safe communities, we must end the war on drugs

Thomas Abt: To stop the spike in urban violence, engage those most at risk

Elizabeth Hinton: We were warned about a divided America 50 years ago. We ignored the signs.

Chloe Cockburn: Money can’t buy criminal justice reform. But it can fuel a movement.

Robert Rooks, Lenore Anderson: No, crime survivors don’t want more prisons. They want a new safety movement.

Eric Cadora: Emergency management governance is our safety net of last resort. It’s not a good one.

Aqeela Sherrills: Police do not stop cycles of violence. Communities do.

Norma Loyd, Brandon Russ: Mental illness is not a crime. Police should not respond like it is.

Read the transcript of a live chat with editorial writer Emefa Addo Agawu on this project.

Read letters to the editor in response to this project.

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Fall 2018 : The Mental Health Issue

Fall 2018 – Mental Health

Table of Contents

The mental health issue, from the editors, chances for healing in every moment.

My beautiful older sister, Bess — a smart, passionate, popular soccer star — killed herself when she was 17. She took my parents’ gun, drove to a park, and shot herself in the head. The effect on my family was profound. Though I’m generally a warm person, for the next 15 years, I avoided people with big emotions, or people who seemed fragile. For me, they were dangerous, unpredictable, unhelpable. I didn’t want to get too close, for fear of being responsible for them in some way. I limited my range of empathy because I was sure if I went too far, I’d be swallowed whole.


The Surprising Links Between Your Mental Health and Everyone Else’s

Why are anxiety and depression on the rise our environments have changed. our food. our stress. our relationships—our “lost connections.”.

nonfiction articles about mental health

5 Myths We Need to Stop Believing About Mental Illness

How to reduce stigma in society check your facts., erin sagen & tracy matsue loeffelholz.


What Is Barbershop Therapy?

Barbers in the south are training as first responders to assist the men in their chairs with their mental health concerns., celeste hamilton dennis.


I Stopped Playing the “Strong Black Woman”

We are paying for this myth we’ve bought into with our lives., shawn ricks.


What Wildfires Do to Our Minds

A northern california community offers mental health first aid to survivors of devastating fires., dani burlison.


Where Children Discover the Healing Power of Animals

In this sanctuary, at-risk kids begin to understand the parallels between their lives and the lives of injured wild animals., isabelle morrison.


The Ways We Are Healed by Nature (Even Houseplants)

Green growing things heal us in surprising ways. communities are trying to bring plant life to areas that lack it., natalie slivinski.


I Inherited My Grandfather’s Trauma—and His Healing Culture

Returning to culture is a duty my grandfather believed native elders had to their communities. he passed this on to me, along with his trauma., elizabeth hawksworth.

7 Strategies to Turn Trauma Into Strength Primary Photo

7 Strategies to Turn Trauma Into Strength

Survivors discover surprising benefits in the process of healing from a traumatic event., michaela haas.


What a Society Designed for Well-Being Looks Like

Economic justice goes a long way toward improving mental health up and down the socioeconomic ladder., tabita green, solutions we love.


The Midterms Are More Than a Vote Against the President

Here’s what’s on the line., chris winters.

white-supremacists .jpg

What the Maps of Hate Groups Reveal

New research offers clues to stop the spread of organized hate groups in the u.s., wyatt massey.


To Love and Worship Freely: Young Muslim LGBTQ Activists Stand Up

These people are fighting the good fight because lgbtq+ muslims shouldn’t have to sacrifice one identity at the expense of the other., shaima shamdeen, culture shift.


Indigenous Culture Reasserts Women’s Power Through Dance

Native women revitalize ceremony to resist the legacy of patriarchy that supports a long-entrenched history of abuse., mary annette pember.


Why Mister Rogers Is the Role Model We Need Right Now

The unconventional children’s television pioneer celebrated dignity and kindness in the age of mass media., stephanie van hook.


Climate Change and Its Staggering Refugee Crisis

Research confirms that massive migration, into the millions, will be an inevitable consequence of global warming., todd miller.


5 Ways Small Actions Have Huge Power

To those who take the bus or refuse plastic toothbrushes: don’t listen to the cynics. research shows the little things matter., sarah lazarovic.

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Crossword: Serenity Now

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International Arts + Mind Lab

The Mental Health Benefits of Reading

Research shows that literature can help—from the clinic to the community..

Posted March 16, 2022 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan

  • Bibliotherapy, the therapeutic use of select reading material, has been used to alleviate many different mental health challenges.
  • Reading fiction has been found to improve one's social cognition and ability to empathize with others.
  • New research finds that reading programs can support youth mental health through conversation and connection.

 Alaine Yu/Unsplash

Despite recent controversies over which books should line the shelves of schools and libraries, there is little debate that literature expands the mind. But can the act of reading also improve our mental health and wellbeing?

Researchers are investigating the impact of reading experiences and reporting evidence of promising mental and social health benefits. Whether reading alone or with others, people are finding connection and meaning between the pages, giving their mental health a boost along the way. Now practitioners are exploring new models using the literary arts to support mental health in clinics, classrooms, and communities worldwide.

The Science-Backed Benefits of Reading

Getting wrapped up in a good book is good for our health.

The experience of being immersed or engaged while reading a story is called narrative absorption and serves as more than an innately pleasurable experience—it can also enhance our sense of wellbeing. Researchers believe that mentally transporting ourselves away from our physical surroundings can provide an escape or opportunity for meaningful contemplation .

Reading not only provides these opportunities, but it also helps us make sense of our worlds. In one neuroimaging study , participants who read more narrative fiction had greater activation of parts of the prefrontal cortex involved in perspective-taking when reading text containing social context. This greater activation may partially explain the correlation between lifetime reading and the ability to understand how people are thinking.

A good story tends to stick with you, too—and so do the benefits: The health impacts of reading last long after we put down the book, with some research showing reductions in depression symptoms persisting months or even years later in adults. And reading can not only help make life more worth living but is associated with living longer: One study found that older adults who regularly read books had a 20 percent reduction in mortality compared to those who did not read.

Bibliotherapy: An Accessible Treatment for Mental Health

Health practitioners use books and bibliotherapy to support the mental health of groups facing various challenges, including anxiety , depression, and grief . Though it can take on different forms, bibliotherapy typically involves the experience of reading, reflection, and discussion of specific literature with an individual therapist or in a group therapy setting, though a therapist is not always involved. Some research suggests that clients may benefit from bibliotherapy used in conjunction with more traditional cognitive behavioral therapy or grief counseling.

Although bibliotherapy’s efficacy requires more research, this intervention has already shown some promising results amongst people with different health concerns. Researchers have reported that shared reading experiences helped alleviate depressive symptoms for surgery patients , decreased cognitive and emotional symptoms in dementia patients , and improved cognitive and psychological functioning in patients with psychosis .

More recent research suggests that bibliotherapy could be a low-cost and accessible intervention to improve the mental health of healthcare workers and the general public living through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The systematic review cited the positive effects of bibliotherapy across 13 studies, indicating that the treatment helped to promote autonomy, giving people a sense of agency and control in their lives.

Reading Builds Bridges to Understanding Ourselves and Others

In a time of pronounced isolation and disconnection caused by the pandemic, reading fiction, in particular, may also help to foster greater empathy and social cognition .

One seminal study found that frequent fiction readers were associated with better social ability and that the tendency to get absorbed in a story correlated with higher empathy scores. These results have been replicated, and a meta-analysis found that lifetime exposure to narrative fiction was associated with more perspective-taking and empathy.

Reading and responding to fiction may foster young people’s understanding of human nature and their place in the world, especially if the texts are thematically relevant and coupled with writing activities that reflect on personal experiences related to the reading. Identifying with characters going through similar experiences can comfort readers , knowing that they are not alone in their struggles or pain.

nonfiction articles about mental health

A Citywide Reading Program to Support Youth Mental Health

Building upon these lessons, local organizations partnered to develop One Book Baltimore , a citywide reading program to support youth mental wellbeing and connection. A recently published study of the program in the Journal of Community Psychology found that literature can be used to generate productive conversations about complex and sensitive topics, like violence and mental health.

Researchers from the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab) of Johns Hopkins University evaluated the results of the 2019 program, in which 10,000 seventh- and eighth-grade Baltimore City Public School students read the same award-winning novel, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. Reynolds is currently the Library of Congress’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

“Long Way Down” powerfully portrays youth violence and its consequences through its teenage protagonist, Will.

The subject matter is familiar to many enrolled in the One Book Baltimore program: In surveys before and after the program, half of the students reported that they or a close family member had directly experienced violence.

“Literature, like many art forms, helps us talk about difficult or sensitive issues, and it gives us a starting point for new conversations,” said Tasha Golden, Ph.D., director of research at IAM Lab and lead author of the study. “At a time when young people are suffering and seeking support — from their communities and from one another — we have to consider how the arts can help generate connection, creativity and dialogue.”

The pandemic has exacerbated social isolation and rates of mental illness , particularly in youth populations . Program leaders developed the One Book Baltimore intervention to help mitigate the harmful effects of isolation that often accompany anxiety, depression or trauma .

The new research found that reading Long Way Down influenced how the middle-schoolers thought about violence, with a greater effect on those who had personal experiences with violence. The study also reported that students who read the novel in full had more conversations about violence with their friends and family. After the program, almost 60% of students reported that they wanted more opportunities to discuss violence and peace with their peers.

The study also makes recommendations on implementing the program in other places. Dr. Golden explained, "This is a way to explore new mental health supports for young people. The model, which draws upon schools, libraries, and literature, could work in any community."

Written and reported by IAM Lab Communications Specialist Richard Sima . Richard received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins and is a science writer living in Baltimore, Maryland.

Bavishi, A., Slade, M. D., & Levy, B. R. (2016). A chapter a day: Association of book reading with longevity. Social Science & Medicine, 164, 44-48.

Golden, T. L., Sima, R., Roebuck, G., Gupta, S., & Magsamen, S. (2022). Generating youth dialogue through the literary arts: A citywide youth health collaboration in the US. Journal of community psychology.

Gualano, M. R., Bert, F., Martorana, M., Voglino, G., Andriolo, V., Thomas, R., ... & Siliquini, R. (2017). The long-term effects of bibliotherapy in depression treatment: Systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Clinical psychology review, 58, 49-58.

Kuijpers, M. M. (2018). Bibliotherapy in the age of digitization. First Monday.

Latchem, J. M., & Greenhalgh, J. (2014). The role of reading on the health and well-being of people with neurological conditions: a systematic review. Aging & Mental Health, 18(6), 731-744.

Mar, R. A., Oatley, K., Hirsh, J., Dela Paz, J., & Peterson, J. B. (2006). Bookworms versus nerds: Exposure to fiction versus non-fiction, divergent associations with social ability, and the simulation of fictional social worlds. Journal of research in personality, 40(5), 694-712.

Monroy-Fraustro, D., Maldonado-Castellanos, I., Aboites-Molina, M., Rodríguez, S., Sueiras, P., Altamirano-Bustamante, N. F., ... & Altamirano-Bustamante, M. M. (2021). Bibliotherapy as a non-pharmaceutical intervention to enhance mental health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: a mixed-methods systematic review and bioethical meta-analysis. Frontiers in public health, 9, 42.

Mumper, M. L., & Gerrig, R. J. (2017). Leisure reading and social cognition: A meta-analysis. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 11(1), 109.

Schrijvers, M., Janssen, T., Fialho, O., & Rijlaarsdam, G. (2019). Gaining insight into human nature: A review of literature classroom intervention studies. Review of Educational Research, 89(1), 3-45.

Tamir, D. I., Bricker, A. B., Dodell-Feder, D., & Mitchell, J. P. (2016). Reading fiction and reading minds: The role of simulation in the default network. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 11(2), 215-224.

Troscianko, E. T. (2018). Fiction-reading for good or ill: eating disorders, interpretation and the case for creative bibliotherapy research. Medical Humanities, 44(3), 201-211.

International Arts + Mind Lab

The International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab) is a multidisciplinary research-to-practice initiative from the Pedersen Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University that is accelerating the field of neuroaesthetics.

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September 2023 magazine cover

As the lines between real and fake blur, Americans increasingly chase the idea of authenticity. The first step may be to consider self-knowledge, truthfulness, and other building blocks on the road to personal growth.

  • Coronavirus Disease 2019
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Fiction and Nonfiction Reads To Support Mental Health in the New Year

During these challenging times many people have experienced a drastic change in their mental health. However, many are finding ways to stay healthy and positive through exercising, art, music, and reading. With people heading back to work and kids back to school after the holiday break, The New York Public Library has an array of fantastic literature to support mental health and wellness for students, parents, and educators to use throughout the new year. 

Here are some great titles to help you on your mental health journey:


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst; illustrated by Ray Cruz

On a day when everything goes wrong for him, Alexander is consoled by the thought that other people have bad days too.


What If ... by Samantha Berger; illustrated by Mike Curato

A child who likes to draw and write stories imagines what would happen if there were no pencils, paper, or other tools for being creative.


Hector's Favorite Place by Jo Rooks

Hector is a shy hedgehog who does not want to venture out of his safe and snuggly home, but with the help of his friends, Hector finds the courage to face his worries and have fun outside.


The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

Unable to celebrate the holidays in the wake of his older brother's death in a gang-related shooting, 12-year-old Lolly Rachpaul struggles to avoid being forced into a gang himself while constructing a fantastically creative LEGO city at the Harlem community center.


My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss; illustrated by Steve Johnson with Lou Fancher

This rhyming story describes each day in terms of a particular color which in turn is associated with specific emotions.


Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham

A moving picture book celebrating essential workers and the community coming together to face the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic.


I Believe I Can  by Grace Byers; pictures by Keturah A. Bobo

An empowering tribute to the limitless potential of children from every background that conveys messages about believing in themselves. 


Teen Guide to Mental Health  by Don Nardo

Today’s teens face and are expected to deal with a wide array of personal, social, and other issues involving home-life, school, dating, body image, sexual orientation, major life transitions. This volume examines how many teens have learned to cope with and survive these often stressful trials and tribulations of modern youth.


How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

Tiger, sixteen, has been pushing away from her overprotective mother, but when her mother dies suddenly Tiger must learn to live when it feels she is surrounded by darkness.

Book Jacket

The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time by Dzung X. Vo

In this powerful book, a pediatrician specializing in teen and adolescent medicine offers a breakthrough mindfulness program to help teens deal with stress in healthy ways, improve communication, and reduce conflicts with family and friends.


Mental Health Information For Teens

Provides basic consumer health information about the causes, warning signs, and symptoms of mental health disorders, along with facts about treatment approaches and tips for teens on coping with stress, building self-esteem, and maintaining mental wellness. 


Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Clinically-depressed Darius Kellner, a high school sophomore, travels to Iran to meet his grandparents, but it is their next-door neighbor, Sohrab, who changes his life.


Control Yor Mind and Master Your Feelings  by Eric Robertson

We often look towards the outside world to find the roots of our problems. However, most of the time we should be looking inwards. Our mind and our emotions determine our state of being. If those aspects are left unchecked we can get easily overwhelmed and are left feeling unfulfilled every single day. 


Feelings: A Story In Seasons  by Manjit Thapp

The illustrator of The Little Book of Feminist Saints charts her emotions throughout the course of a validating year spent mindfully examining the correlation between the seasons and her personal manifestations of anxiety, joy, pain, and creativity.


Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life  by Gary John Bishop

Shows how people can empower themselves and thrive by overcoming negative self-talk.


What Happened To You? Conversations On Trauma, Resilience, And Healing by Bruce D. Perry, and Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey, sharing stories from her own past, and renowned brain development and trauma expert discuss the impact of trauma and adversity and how healing must begin with a shift to asking, “what happened to you?” rather than “what’s wrong with you?” 


8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise  by Christina G. Hibbert

Citing studies that link routine exercise to the alleviation of stress and anxiety, this guide shares step-by-step strategies for sticking to fitness goals and maintaining an exercise program specifically designed to bolster mental health.


  Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing 

An immunologist at Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School offers this guide to the therapeutic Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, which promotes healing the mind, body and spirit through spending mindful, intentional time around trees.

*If you would like to try forest bathing visit the New York Botanical Garden . They are offering a guided tour as well as a meditative audio experience that you can do on your own. As a New York City resident, the Garden provides passes on Wednesdays for free. If you can’t visit on a Wednesday, library cardholders have access to Culture Pass !

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You’re Not Alone: Mental Health Nonfiction Picks for Teens

As mental health struggles get more time in the spotlight, mental health nonfiction books have been cropping up aimed a variety of demographics. In fact, many options are now available just for teens. This list looks at great resources for those who are struggling with mental health issues or want to help someone that is.

Now, I want to be clear in saying that I was very conscious of readability when pulling these titles. A good book in this area is useless if the writing is akin to banging your head against a wall. It is more important for these books to be engaging than even a standard Y.A. fiction offering that you recommend.

Also, while these selections mostly cater to teens, the high readability makes them good for anyone interested in improving mental health without being insanely bored. Without further ado, let’s get ready to be mentally healthy!

The List (A.K.A. – What You’re Here For)

Are u ok? Book Cover

  • Licensed family therapist Kati Morton’s book is one of the most useful and accessible on this list. This book is laid out in a Q&A format with a friendly tone that doesn’t judge or look down on anyone seeking help. It leads readers through the most common questions about mental health topics and the process involved with getting help. The down-to-earth writing even helps to destigmatize the struggles that many people go through. 
  • The author of this book dealt with anxiety, an eating disorder, and OCD while she was a teenager. In this book, she shares coping strategies, funny moments to get others through difficult days, and frank, friendly advice. The style of the book is written like someone who has “been there.” Readers feel like they are being talked to in an honest yet funny way. It is a great pick for those who need a mental health pick-me-up. Also look up Rae Earl’s It’s All in Your Head for another solid option in the realm of teen mental health nonfiction.
  • Stress, anxiety, and depression can begin to get hardcore the teen years for the most part. Adulthood is better if good habits are developed for handling mental health as a teen. This book seeks to teach practical skills. Specifically, it looks into examining emotions, keeping a tab on social media habits, wellness routines, and managing stress levels. The writing uses a lens of the teen experience to frame things – making it very useful for day-to-day mental health support.

Mind Your Head Book Cover

  • From the critically acclaimed author of This Book Is Gay , this particular book looks at taking care of mental health just as much as we do physical health. In addition to Juno’s own funny stories, it features real-life mental health tales from young people around the world. Comic illustrations from Gemma Correll increase the fun factor, and practical information from clinical psychologist Dr. Olivia Hewitt helps to cover a wide range of mental health issues faced by teens whether short-term or long-term.
  • After spending 10 years researching “positive psychology” at Loughborough University, Andy Cope has what he refers to as a “PhD in Happiness” – in addition to being a best-selling children’s author ( Spy Dog series). This book takes a different angle on mental health for teens. It actually serves as a prompt for thinking about the bigger picture. Who a teen wants to be, what they want from life, and trying to figure out what they want from life are asked. Since these questions show up in stories and don’t come from an adult authority figure, teens can truly think about them.
  • This book is a conversation starter about mental health. It looks at how we talk about mental health (or how we don’t). Composed of the pieces from 33 writers, artists, and athletes, the contributors explore their personal experiences with mental health struggles. There are essays, comics, illustrations, and even funny lists. The balance between straight-up serious and flat-out funny entries means that there is something for everyone. 

How to Handle Your Haters Book Cover

  • Written by a teen for teens, this book delves into how social media can affect mental health. With so many teens on social media, it is important to look at how the platforms have the ability to cause depression and anxiety or even suicide. The teen author spent months researching hate and how to expresses itself online. Omar shares his story on dealing with being the recipient of cyberbullying and coping with online hate too.
  • An oldie but a goodie! This particular book won the Children’s Choice Award at the School Library Association’s Information Book Awards in 2014. It looks into different types of anxiety (general, phobias, panic attacks, and OCD) and how to manage them. The workbook has lots of real-life stories, engaging activities, and practical strategies for youth ages 10 years old and older. 
  • Written by the creator of popular Tumblr account “Rubyetc,” this book is a comedic look at mental health. The serious issues of anxiety, body image, depression, and bipolar disorder are put in a very accessible (and even darkly funny way). It is a very good pick for those struggling with the weight that accompanies mental health issues. Also, it is useful for those who could use some exposure to the point of view of those dealing with these problems.

–Brooke Windsor, currently re-watching House – Season 5

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nonfiction articles about mental health

8 of The Best Mental Health Nonfiction For Teen Readers

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Yashvi Peeti

Yashvi Peeti is an aspiring writer and an aspiring penguin. She has worked as an editorial intern with Penguin Random House India and HarperCollins Publishers India. She is always up for fangirling over poetry, taking a walk in a park, and painting tiny canvases. You can find her on Instagram @intangible.perception

View All posts by Yashvi Peeti

It’s Teen Mental Wellness Day today! As someone who still was a teenager only two years ago, my memories of that period are quite fresh. I’m 21 now, and officially considered an adult even though I don’t feel like one most days. There’s so much I’d like to go back in time and tell my teenage self. But since it can’t work that way, I hope any teenager reading this article benefits from some of the insights.

Mental health has become an active part of conversations now. People are a lot more aware that mental struggles not only valid but also occur more frequently than we realize. However, the conversation is still being had in hushed tones and careful whispers. There is still stigma and shame surrounding the anguish in our minds. This can make it hard to normalise mental illness and feel comfortable reaching out for help.

Whatever you’re going through, it helps to try to meet yourself with kindness and compassion. Although it can be really hard to cultivate that habit, I think a keen awareness of the underlying issues can aid the process. A good way to do this can be engaging with the work of people who have gone through similar mental struggles as you have. Reading about how they are more than their mental illness and how they let themselves see that can lend us courage. It can also help people around us get a better grasp on what we’re going through.

Whether you’re a teenager who has been struggling with feeling mentally healthy, or one who wants to understand better some of the problems your peers face, I hope you find something worthwhile in this list of books. I would recommend considering therapy as a tool when things start to feel too out of your control. Seeking professional help can often be a step towards getting better.

You can also pick up these books to increase your awareness and understanding of these concerns. They would’ve made so much difference if I came across them during my teenage years. However, they’ve contributed to my mindfulness even now. Reading them has increased my capacity for compassion towards some angst-filled teenagers and a lot of still-angsty adults. So many of us are trying to work through our troubles, and a little acknowledgement can go a long way.

Life Inside My Mind book cover

Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles Edited by Jessica Burkhart

Life Inside My Mind is an anthology of essays written by some of our favourite YA authors. Since these authors are already familiar with how to cater to a teenage audience, they even narrate their own experiences in a way that feels very accessible to a teen reader. They open up about their mental struggles and also delve into what helped them cope. The wide range of personal essays shows us that there is no one right way to navigate and cope with your mental illness.

Book cover of Lifeline A Layperson's Guide to Helping people in crisis by Queena N Lee Chua

Lifeline: A Layperson’s Guide to Helping People in Crisis by Queena Lee-Chua, Lourdes Joy Galvez Tan, Melissa R. Garabiles, Ma. Tonirose de Guzman-Mactal & Mary Jane Bergado-Flores 

This is a resourceful guide on how to deal with a teenager who is struggling mentally. You could be a concerned peer, a friend, a caregiver or a teacher. This book specifically focuses on teenagers with tendencies of self-harm or suicide, ones dealing with grief and survivors of natural disasters.

We have all been in a place where we really wanted to help someone in their time of need, but did not know how. This book tries to help us navigate these difficult conversations. It gives us a lot of practical pointers on how to approach and attempt to help someone who is struggling mentally. It is, however, reiterated often that these conversations are not a substitute for professional help. They simply act as first aid to put the person at ease. The book also tells you ways in which you can refer vulnerable teens to trained professionals.

Don't Call Me Crazy book cover

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health by Book Riot Editor Kelly Jensen

I don’t even know where to start with talking about how much I love this book. I thought I’m pretty mindful and aware when it comes to mental illnesses until I read it. It explored so many aspects of being mentally ill that I had never given a thought to before. It made me wonder and made me want to do better. (Don’t) Call Me Crazy is a collection of personal essays about mental struggles catered to a young audience.

It’s edited by a fellow Book Rioter, and some of its contributors are Book Rioters too. Each essay offers something raw, unique and helpful. There are also wonderful lists of resources following some of the essays. I’d wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone looking to increase their understanding of mental illnesses.

Book cover of Secrets for the Mad by dodie clark

Secrets for the Mad: Obsessions, Confessions, and Life Lessons By Dodie Clark

If you’re familiar with Dodie’s music or YouTube videos, you know that her work has a bittersweet tenderness to it. She captures the same feeling in her book with her essays, lists, poems, and illustrations. Secrets for the Mad is a raw and honest account of her struggles with mental health. It explores self-harm, depression and anxiety, emotionally abusive relationships, and bisexuality.

Book cover of Create Your Own Calm by meera lee patel

Create Your Own Calm: A Journal for Quieting Anxiety by Meera Lee Patel

Writing has often felt like a meditative act to me. I spent the majority of my teenage years finding peace within the alphabet. I wrote extensively when things got overwhelming and would always end the process with a better hold of the situation.

Meera Lee Patel creates the most gorgeous guided visual journals. Even flipping through them and pausing at some of the watercolour illustrations feels calming. Add to that the ability to self-soothe by examining your thoughts, and you’ve got yourself a safe space! I hope penning down your worries helps your teenage self the way it helped me.

Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson book cover

Mind Your Head By Juno Dawson & Gemma Correll 

This is a really good book for young teens to pick up to understand more about mental health. It breaks down difficult concepts with tenderness and wit. It’s filled with illustrations by Gemma Correll to make us chuckle and make the text less daunting to read. It also has a lot of helpful medical facts and advice about mental illness explored by Dr. Olivia Hewitt.

Book cover of It's all absolutely fine by ruby elliot

It’s All Absolutely Fine: Life is Complicated, So I’ve Drawn I t Instead By Ruby Elliot

Filled with dark, witty and honest comics about mental struggles, this book is one to have on your radar. It is sad, empowering and entertaining all at once. It’s filled with pencil drawings that open up about the mental issues the author has encountered. Some of these include depression, bipolar disorder and eating disorders. This book can make you both tear up and laugh out loud.

Book cover of The time in between by Nancy Tucker

The Time In Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope by Nancy Tucker

Nancy Tucker developed anorexia nervosa at a very young age and eventually had to be hospitalized. She also experienced the other extreme end of bulimia nervosa. She went in and out of school and therapy during her journey of getting better and worse. She writes in detail about about the bleak reality of her eating disorder hoping to show just how ugly and difficult it can be.

I came across a lot of reviews mentioning how triggering it was to read this book. I would like the reader to keep that in mind if they have a history with eating disorders and decide to pick it up.

All of the books recommended above have trigger warnings that you should look out for before reading them.

For more mental health nonfiction for teens, check out these wonderful resources: 50 Must-Read YA Books About Mental Illness , Powerful and Authentic Books About Depression To Better Understand The Illness and 100 Must-Read Books About Mental Illness.

nonfiction articles about mental health

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Mental Health Stigma: Society, Individuals, and the Profession

Mental health stigma operates in society, is internalized by individuals, and is attributed by health professionals. This ethics-laden issue acts as a barrier to individuals who may seek or engage in treatment services. The dimensions, theory, and epistemology of mental health stigma have several implications for the social work profession.

1. Introduction

In 2001, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that an estimated 25 percent of the worldwide population is affected by a mental or behavioral disorder at some time during their lives. This mental and behavioral health issue is believed to contribute to 12 percent of the worldwide burden of disease and is projected to increase to 15 percent by the year 2020 ( Hugo, Boshoff, Traut, Zungu-Dirwayi, & Stein, 2003 ). Within the United States, mental and behavioral health conditions affect approximately 57 million adults ( National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2006 ). Despite the high prevalence of these conditions, recognized treatments have shown effectiveness in mitigating the problem and improving individual functioning in society. Nonetheless, research suggests that (1) individuals who are in need of care often do not seek services, and (2) those that begin receiving care frequently do not complete the recommended treatment plan ( Corrigan, 2004 ). For example, it has been estimated that less than 40 percent of individuals with severe mental illnesses receive consistent mental health treatment throughout the year ( Kessler, Berglund, Bruce, Koch, Laska, Leaf, et al, 2001 ).

There are several potential reasons for why, given a high prevalence of mental health and drug use conditions, there is much less participation in treatment. Plausible explanations may include (1) that those with mental health or drug use conditions are disabled enough by their condition that they are not able to seek treatment, or (2) that they are not able to identify their own condition and therefore do not seek needed services. Despite these viable options, there is another particular explanation that is evident throughout the literature. The U.S. Surgeon General (1999) and the WHO (2001) cite stigma as a key barrier to successful treatment engagement, including seeking and sustaining participation in services. The problem of stigma is widespread, but it often manifests in several different forms. There are also varying ways in which it develops in society, which all have implications for social work – both macro and micro-focused practice.

In order to understand how stigma interferes in the lives of individuals with mental health and drug use conditions, it is essential to examine current definitions, theory, and research in this area. The definitions and dimensions of stigma are a basis for understanding the theory and epistemology of the three main ‘levels’ of stigma (social stigma, self-stigma, and health professional stigma).

2. Stigma Definitions & Dimensions

The most established definition regarding stigma is written by Erving Goffman (1963) in his seminal work: Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity . Goffman (1963) states that stigma is “an attribute that is deeply discrediting” that reduces someone “from a whole and usual person to a tainted, discounted one” (p. 3). The stigmatized, thus, are perceived as having a “spoiled identity” ( Goffman, 1963 , p. 3). In the social work literature, Dudley (2000) , working from Goffman’s initial conceptualization, defined stigma as stereotypes or negative views attributed to a person or groups of people when their characteristics or behaviors are viewed as different from or inferior to societal norms. Due to its use in social work literature, Dudley’s (2000) definition provides an excellent stance from which to develop an understanding of stigma.

It is important to recognize that most conceptualizations of stigma do not focus specifically on mental health or drug use disorders (e.g., Crocker, Major, & Steele, 1998 ; Goffman, 1963 ). Stigma is relevant in other contexts such as towards individuals of varied backgrounds including race, gender, and sexual orientation. Thus, it is important to provide a definition of mental disorders, which also include drug use disorders, so that it can be understood in relationship to stigma. While each mental health and drug use disorder has a precise definition, the often cited and widely used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Ed., Text Revision [DSM-IV-TR]; American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2000 ) offers a specific definition of mental disorder which will be used to provide meaning to the concept. In this text, a mental disorder is a “clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress or disability or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom,” which results from “a manifestation of a behavioral, psychological, or biological dysfunction in the individual” ( APA, 2000 , p. xxxi). While this definition provides a consistent base from which to begin understanding how stigma impacts individuals with mental health and drug use disorders, it is important to recognize the inherent danger in relying too heavily on specific mental health diagnoses as precise definitions ( Corrigan, 2007 ), which is why the term is being used just as a basis for understanding in this context.

The next important step is to understand the constructs underlying the concept of stigma. These constructs detail the multiple pathways through which stigma can develop. Building from Goffman’s initial conceptualization, Jones and colleagues (1984) identified six dimensions of stigma. These include concealability, course, disruptiveness, peril, origin, and aesthetics ( Feldman & Crandall, 2007 ; Jones et al, 1984 ). In addition, Corrigan and colleagues (2001 ; 2000 ) identified dimensions of stability, controllability, and pity. It is important to understand that these dimensions can either present independently or simultaneously to create stigma. Further, stigma is more than a combination of these elements impacting each person as an individual, since stigma is believed to be common in the structural framework of society ( Feldman & Crandall, 2007 ).

The first dimension of stigma is peril – otherwise known as dangerousness. Peril is often considered an important aspect in stigma development, and it is frequently cited in the research literature ( Corrigan, et al, 2001 ; Feldman & Crandall, 2007 ; Angermeyer & Matschinger, 1996 ). In this instance, the general public perceives those with mental disorders as frightening, unpredictable, and strange ( Lundberg, Hansson, Wentz, & Bjorkman, 2007 ). Corrigan (2004) also suggests that fear and discomfort arise as a result of the social cues attributed to individuals. Social cues can be evidenced by psychiatric symptoms, awkward physical appearance or social-skills, and through labels ( Corrigan, 2004 ; Link, Cullen, Frank, & Wozniak, 1987 ; Corrigan, 2007 ). This particular issue highlights the dimension of aesthetics or the displeasing nature of mental disorders ( Jones, et al, 1984 ). When society attributes, upon a person or group of people, perceived behaviors that do not adhere to the expected social norms, discomfort can be created. This often leads to the generalization of the connection between abnormal behavior and mental illness, which may result in labeling and avoidance. This also may be why society continues to avoid those with mental and behavioral disorders whenever possible ( Corrigan, Markowitz, Watson, Rowan, & Kubiak, 2003 ).

Another dimension of stigma that is often discussed in the research on stigma is origin. As in the definition provided earlier, mental and behavioral disorders are often believed to, at least in-part; develop from biological and genetic factors – i.e., origin ( APA, 2000 ). This has direct implications for the dimension of controllability ( Corrigan, et al, 2001 ). Within this dimension, it is often believed in society that mental and behavioral disorders are personally controllable and if individuals cannot get better on their own, they are seen to lack personal effort ( Crocker, 1996 ), are blamed for their condition, and seen as personally responsible ( Corrigan, et al, 2001 ).

A recent report by Feldman and Crandall (2007) , found that individuals with disorders such as pedophilia and cocaine dependence were much more stigmatized than those with disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder. This supports the controllability hypothesis in which pedophilia and cocaine dependence could be viewed as more controllable in society than a disorder believed to be caused by a traumatic experience (PTSD). It also supports the pity dimension, in which disorders that are pitied to a greater degree are often less stigmatized ( Corrigan, et al, 2000 ; Corrigan, et al, 2001 ). In this case, individuals within a culture or society may have more sympathy for disorders that are perceived as less controllable ( Corrigan, et al, 2001 ).

Concealability , or visibility of the illness, is a dimension of stigma that parallels controllability , but also provides other insight into the stigmatization of mental and behavioral disorders. Crocker (1996) suggests that stigmatized attributes such as race can be easily identified, and are less concealable, allowing society to differentiate and stigmatize based on the visibility of the person. This is supported by research that shows that society attributes more stigmatizing stereotypes towards disorders such as schizophrenia, which generally have more visible symptoms, compared to others such as major depression ( Angermeyer & Matschinger, 2005 ; Lundberg, et al, 2007 ).

The final three dimensions, course, stability, and disruptiveness , also may have some similarities among each other and compared to the others presented. Course and stability question how likely the person with the disability is to recover and/or benefit from treatment ( Corrigan, et al, 2001 ; Jones, et al, 1984 ). Further the disruptiveness dimension assesses how much a mental or behavioral disorder may impact relationships or success in society. While disorders are frequently associated with an increased risk for poverty, lower socioeconomic status and lower levels of education ( Kohn, Dohrenwend, & Mirotznik, 1998 ), the stability and disruptiveness of the conditions have implications as to whether an individual will be able to hold down a successful job and engage in healthy relationships, as evidenced by differences in stigma based on social class status. This demonstrates that if disorders are less disruptive, in which case they may be perceived as more stable, they are also less stigmatized ( Corrigan, et al, 2001 ). This also expresses that some flexibility exists within each type of mental or behavioral disorder, as each diagnosed person is not stigmatized to the same extent ( Crocker, 1999 ). Figure 1 depicts stigma as a latent variable constructed from the dimensions discussed above.

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The dimensions of stigma

3. Levels of Stigma: Theory & Epistemology

Illustrating the constructs underlying the formation of stigma helps us understand three specific levels of stigma – social stigma, self-stigma, and professional stigma. In this context, ‘levels’ does not refer to a hierarchy of importance for these varied stigmas, but rather to represent different social fields of stigma that can be differentiated from each other. In addition, further definition and theory behind these three ‘levels’ of stigma must be presented. First, stigmatized attitudes and beliefs towards individuals with mental health and drug use disorders are often in the form of social stigma, which is structural within the general public. Second, social stigma, or even the perception that social stigma exists, can become internalized by a person resulting in what is often called self-stigma. Finally, another, less studied level of stigma is that which is held among health professionals toward their clients. Since health professionals are part of the general public, their attitudes may in part reflect social stigma; however, their unique roles and responsibility to ‘help’ may create a specific barrier. The following theories are presented as an aid to understanding how each ‘level’ of stigma may develop in society.

Social Stigma

The first, and most frequently discussed, ‘level’ is social stigma. Social stigma is structural in society and can create barriers for persons with a mental or behavioral disorder. Structural means that stigma is a belief held by a large faction of society in which persons with the stigmatized condition are less equal or are part of an inferior group. In this context, stigma is embedded in the social framework to create inferiority. This belief system may result in unequal access to treatment services or the creation of policies that disproportionately and differentially affect the population. Social stigma can also cause disparities in access to basic services and needs such as renting an apartment.

Several distinct schools of thought have contributed to the understanding of how social stigma develops and plays out in society. Unfortunately, to this point, social work has offered limited contributions to this literature. Nonetheless, one of the leading disciplines of stigma research has been social psychology. Stigma development in most social psychology research focuses on social identity resulting from cognitive, behavioral, and affective processes ( Yang, Kleinman, Link, Phelan, Lee, & Good, 2007 ). Researchers in social psychology often suggest that there are three specific models of public stigmatization. These include socio-cultural, motivational, and social cognitive models ( Crocker & Lutsky, 1986 ; Corrigan, 1998 ; Corrigan, et al, 2001 ). The socio-cultural model suggests that stigma develops to justify social injustices ( Crocker & Lutsky, 1986 ). For instance, this may occur as a way for society to identify and label individuals with mental and behavioral illnesses as unequal. Second, the motivational model focuses on the basic psychological needs of individuals ( Crocker & Lutsky, 1986 ). One example of this model may be that since persons with mental and behavioral disorders are often in lower socio-economic groups, they are inferior. Finally, the social cognitive model attempts to make sense of basic society using a cognitive framework ( Corrigan, 1998 ), such that a person with a mental disorder would be labeled in one category and differentiated from non-ill persons.

Most psychologists including Corrigan and colleagues (2001) prefer the social cognitive model to explain and understand the concept of stigma. One such understanding of this perspective – Attribution Theory – is related to three specific dimensions of stigma including stability, controllability, and pity ( Corrigan, et al, 2001 ) that were discussed earlier. Using this framework, a recent study by these researchers found that the public often stigmatizes mental and behavioral disorders to a greater degree than physical disorders. In addition, this research found stigma variability based on the public’s “attributions.” For example, cocaine dependence was perceived as the most controllable whereas ‘mental retardation’ was seen as least stable and both therefore received the most severe ratings in their corresponding stigma category ( Corrigan, et al, 2001 ). These findings suggest that combinations of attributions may signify varying levels of stigmatized beliefs.

Sociologists have also heavily contributed to the stigma literature. These theories have generally been seen through the lens of social interaction and social regard. The first of these theorists was Goffman (1963) who believed that individuals move between more or less ‘stigmatized’ categories depending on their knowledge and disclosure of their stigmatizing condition. These socially constructed categories parallel Lemert’s (2000) discussion on social reaction theory. In this theory, two social categories of deviance are created including primary deviance, believing that people with mental and behavioral disorders are not acting within the norms of society, and secondary deviance, deviance that develops after society stigmatizes a person or group. Similarly, research demonstrating that higher levels of stigmatization are attributed towards individuals with more “severe” disorders ( Angermeyer & Matschinger, 2005 ) also resembles these hierarchical categories and the disruptiveness and stability dimensions of stigma.

Furthermore, Link and Phelan clearly illustrated the view of sociology towards stigma in their article titled Conceptualizing Stigma (2001). Link and Phelan (2001) argue that stigma is the co-occurrence of several components including labeling, stereotyping, separation, status loss, and discrimination. First, labeling develops as a result of a social selection process to determine which differences matter in society. Differences such as race are easily identifiable and allow society to categorize people into groups. The same scenario may occur when society reacts to the untreated outward symptoms of several severe mental illnesses; i.e., Schizophrenia. Labels connect a person, or group of people, to a set of undesirable characteristics, which can then be stereotyped. This labeling and stereotyping process gives rise to separation. Society does not want to be associated with unattractive characteristics and thus hierarchical categories are created. Once these categories develop, the groups who have the most undesirable characteristics may become victims of status loss and discrimination. The entire process is accompanied by significant embarrassment by the individuals themselves and by those associated with them ( Link & Phelan, 2001 ).

While social psychology and sociology are the primary contributors to the stigma literature, other disciplines have provided insight as well. Communications, Anthropology, and Ethnography all favor theories that revolve around threat. In Communications literature, stigma is the result of an “us versus them” approach ( Brashers, 2008 ). For example, the use of specific in-group language can reinforce in-group belongingness as well as promote out-group differentiation ( Brashers, 2008 ). This is referenced in research on peer group relationships such that youth often rate interactions with their same-age peers more positively than with older adults (whether family members or not) ( Giles, Noels, Williams, Ota, Lim, Ng, et. al., 2003 ). This can also be applied to those with mental disorders in that individuals in the out-group (mental disorders) are perceived less favorably than the non-ill in-group.

Anthropology and Ethnography also prefer the identity model. From this perspective, the focus is on the impact of stigma within the lived experience of each person. Stigma may impact persons with mental illnesses through their social network, including how it exists in the structures of lived experiences such as employment, relationships, and status. Further, the impact of stigma is a response to threat, which may be a natural or tactical self-preservation strategy. However, it only worsens the suffering of the stigmatized person ( Yang, et al, 2007 ). It is important to note again that while many disciplines have been leaders in social stigma theory, social work-specific literature has been mostly void of discussion on this topic. This is particularly unusual, since stigma is an obvious factor that impacts the lives of social work clients on a daily basis.


Crocker (1999) demonstrates that stigma is not only held among others in society but can also be internalized by the person with the condition. Thus, the continued impact of social/public stigma can influence an individual to feel guilty and inadequate about his or her condition ( Corrigan, 2004 ). In addition, the collective representations of meaning in society – including shared values, beliefs, and ideologies – can act in place of direct public/social stigma in these situations ( Crocker & Quinn, 2002 ). These collective representations include historical, political, and economic factors ( Corrigan, Markowitz, and Watson, 2004 ). Thus, in self-stigma, the knowledge that stigma is present within society, can have an impact on an individual even if that person has not been directly stigmatized. This impact can have a deleterious effect on a person’s self-esteem and self-efficacy, which may lead to altered behavioral presentation ( Corrigan, 2007 ). Nonetheless, Crocker (1999) highlights that individuals are able to internalize stigma differently based on their given situations. This suggests that personal self-esteem may or may not be as affected by stigma depending on individual coping mechanisms ( Crocker & Major, 1989 ).

Similarly, other theories have provided insight into the idea of self-stigma. In modified labeling theory, the expectations of becoming stigmatized, in addition to actually being stigmatized, are factors that influence psychosocial well-being ( Link, Cullen, Struening, Shrout, & Dohrenwend, 1989 ). In this context, it is primarily the fear of being labeled that causes the individual to feel stigmatized. Similarly, Weiner (1995) proposed that stigmatized beliefs provoke an emotional response. This can be interpreted from the standpoint of the afflicted individual, such that he or she may feel stigmatized and respond emotionally with embarrassment, isolation, or anger.

Health Professional Stigma

It may seem unlikely that social workers and other health professionals would carry stigmatized beliefs towards clients; especially those whom they know are affected by a variety of barriers to treatment engagement. Nonetheless, recent literature is beginning to document the initial impact of health professional stigma ( Nordt, Rössler, & Lauber, 2006 ; Volmer, Mäesalu, & Bell, 2008 ). While limited evidence exists specifically on social worker attitudes, pharmacy students who desire more social distance towards individuals with Schizophrenia are also less willing to provide them medications counseling ( Volmer, et al, 2008 ). In addition, one Swiss study (psychiatrists, nurses, and psychologists) found that mental health professionals did not differ from the general public on their desired social distance from individuals with mental health conditions ( Nordt, et al, 2006 ). Other studies have also come to similar conclusions ( Lauber, et al, 2006 ; Tsao, Tummala, & Roberts, 2008 ; Sriram & Jabbarpour, 2005 ; Ücok, Polat, Sartorius, Erkoc, & Atakli, 2004 ). Clients have also reported feeling ‘labeled’ and ‘marginalized’ by health professionals ( Liggins & Hatcher, 2005 ). Individuals with mental illnesses may not even receive equivalent care (compared to non-mentally ill patients) in general health settings once health professionals become aware of their mental health conditions ( Desai, Rosenheck, Druss, & Perlin, 2002 ).

Theory on health professional stigma is very limited, but some literature does provide insight into its possible development. In one way, stigma by health professionals may develop very much the same as the social stigma evident in the general public. Social workers may develop their own biases from their upbringing or even from burnout in their own working roles, particularly when working with individuals who have severe and persistent mental illnesses ( Acker & Lawrence, 2009 ). Nonetheless, some indications suggest that health professional stigma may also develop in a unique way. For instance, social workers and other health professionals, similar to persons in the general public, experience their own mental health and drug use problems and often have friends or family members who experience these same issues ( Siebert, 2004 ; Fewell, King, & Weinstein, 1993 ). Individuals may also self-select into a helping profession due in part to these experiences ( Stanley, Manthorpe, & White, 2007 ). When social workers and other health professionals deal with mental health and drug use problems they may experience burnout and/or become more or less likely to recognize similar problems among their clients ( Siebert, 2003 ). Some research suggests that mental health conditions are more prevalent among helping professionals than in the general public ( Schemhammer, 2005 ). This problem has also been shown to impair professional social work practice behaviors ( Siebert, 2004 ; Sherman, 1996 ). For example, Siebert (2003) found that social workers who used marijuana were less likely to recognize marijuana use as a problem among their clients.

The counter-transference that can develop as a result of personal experiences or behaviors may impact clients who may be vulnerable when participating in treatment and may not have the appropriate resources to determine when they are not being treated adequately ( Siebert, 2004 ; Hepworth, Rooney, & Larsen, 2002 ; Rayner, Allen, & Johnson, 2005 ). Clients may also be disenfranchised by the treatment process and become more likely to end current treatment and less likely to seek treatment in the future. This creates a barrier to the overall well-being of individuals by preventing adequate treatment, but it also may impact the acknowledgement of their disorder. Overall, health professionals may not provide adequate intervention, early detection, or community referral options for individuals with mental or behavioral disorders ( Gassman, Demone, & Albilal, 2001 ; Tam, Schmidt, & Weisner, 1996 ), because of their own stigmatizing beliefs and personal histories ( Siebert, 2004 ; 2005 ).

4. Implications for Social Work

While it is apparent that stigma (all three levels) impacts individuals’ lives, there are also several implications for stigma and health professionals. These implications are placed into context within social work practice, education, policy, and research. In practice, social workers make up between 60–70 percent of mental health professionals in the United States ( Proctor, 2004 ). While their roles may vary in different countries, they can nonetheless be important participants in mitigating stigma across the world. Since social workers often provide gatekeeping and triage functions in their roles, they are among the first to be in contact with individuals with psychiatric conditions ( Hall, et al, 2000 ). Their attitudes and treatment preferences in practice settings can thus either promote or disenfranchise treatment seeking among their clients.

Social workers may be able to address issues of stigma within themselves by recognizing and embracing values and personal biases. This may be a difficult transformation that requires significant personal work and/or therapy. They may also be able to work with their clients on issues of stigma through their treatment provisions, triage roles, and outreach efforts. Nonetheless, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics mandates that professionals promote self-determination, client rights, self-realization, empowerment, social justice, and the dignity and worth of every person ( National Association of Social Workers [NASW], 1999 ). These specific professional values pointedly call social workers to work to mitigate their own levels of stigma and work with others to dispel levels of social stigma and self-stigma.

While social workers have the opportunity to work with individuals, they also work with families. One additional way social workers may seek to mitigate social stigma on a micro-level is via the family. Family therapy may help relatives understand psychiatric conditions and how they can help/support the afflicted individual ( Lefley, 1989 ). Some research suggests that more attention to families of individuals with mental health conditions is needed ( Thornicroft, Brohan, Kassam, & Lewis-Holmes, 2008 ). If social workers are able to support an individual’s support system (family), it may help improve treatment seeking and treatment engagement for that person. Several studies have demonstrated the positive impact between family interventions and treatment engagement by the afflicted individual ( Copello, Velleman, & Templeton, 2005 ; Adeponle, Thombs, Adelekan, & Kirmayer, 2009 ; Glynn, Cohen, Dixon & Niv, 2006 ). While this does not replace group work or individual work with a particular client, families may be among the most stigmatizing groups towards the afflicted person ( Lee, Lee, Chiu, & Kleinman, 2005 ), and improved efforts towards the family system may be helpful.

On a macro level, social workers can also be instrumental in leading larger targeted educational efforts aimed at reducing stigma. Targeted programs have shown effectiveness in challenging misconceptions, improving attitudes, and reducing social distance ( Thornton &Wahl, 1996 ; Esters, et al, 1998 ; Corrigan, et al, 2001 ). One such program, lead by the network of the World Psychiatric Association, has focused on individuals that impact the larger structural attitudes of stigma such as medical personnel, police officers, and journalists ( Thornicroft, et al, 2008s ). Large macro-level stigma campaigns that can be facilitated by social workers include public advertisements, targeted educational efforts, and advocacy for agency change. Occasionally, other systematic changes need to accompany these targeted efforts ( Pinfold, Huxley, Thornicroft, Farmer, Toulmin, & Graham, 2003 ), but they have shown effectiveness and are important in mitigating stigma around the world. Nonetheless, more interventions and strategies must be developed to mitigate stigma in society.

Another important way to impact stigma is by educating individuals that have an opportunity to make a difference – i.e., social work education . For instance, when individuals have contact with those with mental illnesses, stigma can be diminished ( Corrigan, et al, 2001 ). This may be the result of stereotypical beliefs about psychiatric conditions that are consistent with dimensions of stigma such as dangerousness or aesthetics (see, Jones, et al, 1984 ). Exposing social workers to these population groups may increase their willingness to treat the afflicted clients. This can be implemented through the field practicum experience at the undergraduate and graduate level. Education on stigma also fits into the practice sequences (macro- and micro- level), elective courses on substance abuse, and clinical diagnosis and assessment courses. Nonetheless, Bina and colleagues (2008) found that improving the knowledge and education of social workers about clients with drug use conditions will increase their interest in working with that population in practice. Furthermore, social work educational research has demonstrated that training social workers improves the likelihood that they will intervene, assess, and provide treatment for persons in an afflicted population, seek employment in that area, and feel confident and competent about their work ( Amodeo, 2000 ).

Stigma is a global issue, and efforts to mitigate stigma through policy may be another effective strategy. On the macro-level, social workers can be very influential in advocating for policy change. Corrigan and colleagues (2001) suggest that policy change is one of the three strategies to mitigate stigma in society. For instance, stigma may impact lawmakers and permeate throughout government. One of the most important reasons why mental health care is not adequate is due to a lack of resources. In this case, it appears that economic factors may play a role in access to treatment. However, there is also a low priority placed on mental health within government and other funding bodies to support services ( Knapp, Funk, Curran, Prince, Grigg, & McDaid, 2006 ). The WHO (2003) showed that while neuropsychiatric conditions make up 13 percent of the global burden of disease, only a median 2 percent of health care budgets in countries around the world are appropriated for mental illness. The lack of governmental support combined with the lack of support from other funding bodies (insurance companies) can in part be attributed to stigma ( Knapp, et al, 2006 ). The debate about mental health parity in the United States is another example. Insurance companies in the U.S. have traditionally not funded mental health treatment to the same degree as general physical health illnesses ( U.S. Surgeon General, 1999 ), which promotes that devaluation of mental illness in society. These disparate policies also act as a barrier to afflicted individuals and their ability to access social work services. Social workers and other policy makers can advocate for change in society. Social workers can be specifically instrumental in this process as they often serve disadvantaged populations such as those with mental illnesses, and should work to assist with the needs of their clients.

Social workers, as social scientists, are in position to develop research programs that seek to understand and influence stigma. More research is needed to understand the impact of different cultural traditions, attitudes, values, and beliefs on stigma, as it may vary between and within countries. This is also true among health professionals and their attitudes towards treating individuals in their community. As social scientists that practice and conduct research with different client populations, social workers have the ability to measure stigma among not only different race/ethnicity groups, but also in relation to individuals’ sexual orientation, gender, and age. In addition, limited research has specifically addressed the dimensions of stigma as discussed in the theoretical literature ( Corrigan, et al, 2000 ; Jones, et al, 1984 ). More precise measures are needed to adequately assess stigma, across its varying dimensions and levels. The use of current stigma-related measures such as the Psychiatric Disability Attribution Questionnaire ( Corrigan, et al, 2001 ) and the development of alternative scales to measure health professional stigma are needed to address dimensions of stigma across all three levels simultaneously. Also, larger studies of health professional stigma are needed, to understand how the attitudes of health professionals, and specifically social workers, influence treatment engagement and access.

5. Conclusions

Mental health conditions are pervasive around the world. In addition, the burden of these conditions is expected to grow over the next 20 years ( Mathers & Loncar, 2006 ). Unfortunately, few individuals receive the psychiatric treatment they need, as individuals often do not seek services and frequently do not remain in care once they begin. The WHO (2001) has suggested that stigma is one of the largest barriers to treatment engagement, even though treatment has shown to be effective, even in low income countries ( Patel, et al, 2007 ). While stigma remains evident in society, within individuals themselves, and among health professionals, the ethical problem of health professional stigma places an additional barrier on clients who seek needed mental health services.


This work was partially supported by a National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Institutional Training Award Grant (T32DA021129). The content in this manuscript is the sole responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIDA.

This text may be freely shared among individuals, but it may not be republished in any medium without express written consent from the authors and advance notification of White Hat Communications

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16 Nonfiction Books About Mental Illness

A Women With Her Cat Looking at the Window on a Rainy Day

If you want to diversify your reading list and learn something new at the same time, you can't go wrong by reading nonfiction books about mental illness . Whether you want to read the accounts of others with your condition or better understand why ableism is awful, books by and about people living with mental illness make great additions to your TBR.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the phrase "mental illness" refers to a wide variety of conditions that affect "a person's thinking, feeling or mood and ... her ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis." These include depression, schizophrenia, and eating disorders, as well as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and other neurodiverse conditions.

Mental illness is more common than many people think. NAMI reports that "one in 5 adults experiences a mental health condition every year," while "one in 20 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder."

For Millennials, those numbers are even higher. In 2011, "[t]he average high school kid ... ha[d] the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the 1950s." Thankfully, Gen-Y'ers are also more open to talking about their mental health . Young people experiencing mental health issues would do well to follow Linda Esposito's recommendations for self-care , and no one should be afraid to ask for help if they need it. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has compiled some excellent resources over at .

Unfortunately, the prevalence of mental illness has not done much to dissolve the stigma attached to it. If you want to better understand different mental health issues and how psychiatric treatment has evolved, the 16 nonfiction books about mental illness listed below are a great jumping off point. As always, please share your own recommendations on Twitter .

1. My Lobotomy by Howard Dully

nonfiction articles about mental health

In the early 1960s, 12-year-old Howard Dully underwent a radical and brutal procedure : the so-called "ice pick" lobotomy. He spent the next three decades alone and in limbo, before he began to pull his life together and came face-to-face with the truth.

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2. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

nonfiction articles about mental health

A few years after Howard Dully was operated on, 18-year-old Susanna Kaysen found herself shipped off to the elite McLean Hospital. Diagnosed with depression and borderline personality disorder, Kaysen spent the next two years living in a ward full of girls and young women .

3. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

nonfiction articles about mental health

In The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales , neurologist Oliver Sacks respectfully recounts stories of patients with amnesia, dementia, rare syndromes, and brilliant talents.

4. Willow Weep for Me : A Black Woman's Journey through Depression by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah

nonfiction articles about mental health

Combating the harmful stereotype of the strong black woman , Meri Nana-Ama Danquah's memoir of depression and recovery examines how her mental illness affects family dynamics and women of color.

5. Just Checking: Scenes from the Life of an Obsessive-Compulsive by Emily Colas

nonfiction articles about mental health

What she once considered quirks of her own nature soon emerged as full-blown obsessive-compulsive disorder. As Emily Colas recalls her journey through OCD, she offers up the logic behind her "checks" and fears.

6. Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital by Alex Beam

nonfiction articles about mental health

The institution where Susanna Kaysen spent the first two years of her young adulthood — and which hosted Sylvia Plath, James Taylor, and Ray Charles, among others — comes back to life in this microhistory from Alex Beam .

7. Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher

nonfiction articles about mental health

Marya Hornbacher recounts her love affair and eventual falling out with anorexia and bulimia in this gripping memoir .

8. Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

nonfiction articles about mental health

In the 1990s, the relatively new SSRI called Prozac became synonymous with mental illness , due in no small part to Elizabeth Wurtzel's bestselling memoir about the collective mental health of Generation X.

9. Girl in Need of a Tourniquet: Memoir of a Borderline Personality by Merri Lisa Johnson

nonfiction articles about mental health

This memoir from university professor and self-proclaimed "psycho girlfriend" Merri Lisa Johnson examines the sane/insane binary and explores the ways in which terminology affects our understanding of mental health and illness.

10. Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl by Stacy Pershall

nonfiction articles about mental health

A precocious girl from a small Midwestern town chronicles her experiences with anorexia, bulimia, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder in this deeply personal memoir .

11. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

nonfiction articles about mental health

Clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison was helping to treat others' bipolar disorder when she realized that she exhibited many of the same symptoms. In An Unquiet Mind , she evaluates her experience from personal and professional positions.

12. Bedlam: London and Its Mad by Catharine Arnold

nonfiction articles about mental health

If one hospital has become synonymous with the stereotypical asylum, its Bedlam. In this microhistory, Catharine Arnold examines the history of mental health and illness in London .

13. The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father, One Day at a Time by Jonathan Kozol

nonfiction articles about mental health

Before his death in 2008, Harry Kozol was a brilliant and famous neurologist. As his son details in this poignant memoir , however, Kozol recognized his own symptoms and decline, and eventually wound up diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease by a doctor he had once taught.

14. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

nonfiction articles about mental health

Unlike many of the other books on this list, Brain on Fire centers on a woman diagnosed with an illness many have never heard of: anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. Anyone living with an autoimmune disease or other rare, chronic illness will identify with Susannah Cahalan's search for a correct diagnosis.

15. Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine by Andrew Scull

nonfiction articles about mental health

The history of psychiatry is filled with quacks and hacks who ruined others' lives in their quests to do the right thing. Andrew Scull's subject in Madhouse , Henry Cotton — who extracted teeth, tonsils, and other organs in the name of mental health — is one of these.

16. The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic by Darby Penney, et al.

nonfiction articles about mental health

After the Willard Psychiatric Center closed in 1995, the suitcases of more than 400 former patients were discovered in the attic. In The Lives They Left Behind , they are unpacked, photographed, and documented for a new portrait of recent mental health care.

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nonfiction articles about mental health

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nonfiction articles about mental health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. The purpose of this movement is to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and to help #BreakTheStigma. These nonfiction books not only provide support but will educate children, tweens, and teens.

nonfiction articles about mental health

If mental health education begins at a young age, individuals can become better informed and possibly gain a better understanding of mental health. Children and teens should be aware that there are different types of mental illness, which come with varied experiences.

It should also be noted that mindfulness (the practice of being fully aware of the present moment) is becoming a more integral part of the mental health experience. This practice of conscious awareness can be beneficial to people of all ages. Many publishers have started to provide books that teach mindfulness to young children.

These nonfiction titles offer a great jumping-off point for elementary, middle, and high school readers. These works include personal essay collections, educated guides, informative picture books, and workbooks.

Preschool and Early Elementary

nonfiction articles about mental health

Read: Helping Students Through Pandemic Grief and Trauma

Middle School and High School

nonfiction articles about mental health

Reviewed by  Amanda Borgia, Uniondale Public Library, NY

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To tackle homelessness faster, LA has a kind of real estate agency for the unhoused

Dan Valdez, housing acquisitions manager for the nonprofit Brilliant Corners, checks out a recently leased property near downtown Los Angeles. Grace Widyatmadja/NPR hide caption

To tackle homelessness faster, LA has a kind of real estate agency for the unhoused

October 24, 2023 • A Los Angeles program aggressively scouts vacant units and lobbies landlords in one of the country's tightest real estate markets. Some landlords offer up units even before putting them on the market.

Bike riding in middle school may boost mental health, study finds

Middle school is a good time to encourage kids to embrace the benefits of bike riding, says Esther Walker of Outride, a nonprofit which promotes cycling at school. Eric Arce/Outride hide caption

Shots - Health News

Bike riding in middle school may boost mental health, study finds.

October 18, 2023 • Middle school can be a challenging time and it turns out bike riding may help. Researchers found students who took part in a 6 to 8 week cycling class reported having a more positive outlook on life.

Scientists built the largest-ever map of the human brain. Here's what they found

Scientists have built an enormous atlas of the human brain that could help them chart a path toward preventing and treating many different neurological disorders. Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images hide caption

Scientists built the largest-ever map of the human brain. Here's what they found

October 16, 2023 • A new atlas of the human brain could help explain abilities like language – and vulnerabilities, like Alzheimer's disease.

How to talk to children about the violence in Israel and Gaza

Palestinian children walk past debris in the courtyard of a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees following Israeli airstrikes targeting Gaza City on Monday. Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

Middle East crisis — explained

How to talk to children about the violence in israel and gaza.

October 11, 2023 • Many children have likely already heard about the attacks in Israel, whether from school or overhearing the news. Let them ask questions, experts say — it's OK if you don't have all the answers.

I try to be a body-positive doctor. It's getting harder in the age of Ozempic


I try to be a body-positive doctor. it's getting harder in the age of ozempic.

October 4, 2023 • A physician decided to stop talking to patients about weight, and focus on health instead. But the new weight-loss drugs forced her to rethink how to help patients without feeding into stigma.

Montana inmates with mental illness languish in jail awaiting treatment before trial

An unidentified woman lies under a blanket in a cell in the Flathead County Detention Center in Kalispell, Montana. She has been held there for nearly a year after being found mentally unfit to stand trial on burglary charges, according to a jail official. Aaron Bolton/Montana Public Radio hide caption

Montana inmates with mental illness languish in jail awaiting treatment before trial

Montana public radio.

October 3, 2023 • A long waiting list at Montana's only state-run psychiatric hospital has left inmates untreated and stuck in county jails. To fix it, health officials want changes to involuntary commitment laws.

Brain cells, interrupted: How some genes may cause autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia

New research probes the relationship between certain genes and brain disorders like autism and schizophrenia. Jill George / NIH hide caption

Brain cells, interrupted: How some genes may cause autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia

October 2, 2023 • Researchers have identified 46 genes that can disrupt a process that is critical to early brain development. The finding could help scientists find new treatments for disorders including autism.

To prevent gun violence, these peacemakers start with the basics

Peacemakers have a debrief before concluding their work for the day at the Lincoln Fields apartments complex in Miami, Fla. Lamont Nanton (second from left) is the group's manager and Shameka Pierce (third from left) works with the group. Verónica Zaragovia/WLRN hide caption

To prevent gun violence, these peacemakers start with the basics

September 30, 2023 • For South Florida's Peacemakers, stopping the shootings begins with helping people with daily needs — from diapers and groceries to medical care.

Wally the emotional support alligator went to see the Phillies. Then he went viral

Joie Henney and his emotional support alligator, Wally, were denied entry to a Phillies' game at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday — but hope to be invited back soon. Joie Henney hide caption

Wally the emotional support alligator went to see the Phillies. Then he went viral

September 29, 2023 • Wally doesn't bite, loves hugs and has a sizeable social media following. He made headlines (again) for being denied entry to a baseball stadium — but his owner tells NPR that's not the full story.

As Ozempic use grows, so do reports of possible mental health side effects

Ozempic, approved by the Food and Drug Administration for Type 2 diabetes, is racking up blockbuster sales because many people are taking it to lose weight. As more people try it, reports to the FDA about possible side effects are rising. Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

As Ozempic use grows, so do reports of possible mental health side effects

September 21, 2023 • Many people taking Ozempic and related drugs have reported mental health concerns. Those side effects aren't in Ozempic's instructions for use. Are the problems a coincidence or related to the drug?

At new mental health courts in California, judges will be able to mandate treatment

Orange County Superior Court Presiding Judge Maria Hernandez says CARE Court will resemble the county's other collaborative courts, like her young adult diversion court, where compassion and science drive her decisions. April Dembosky/KQED hide caption

At new mental health courts in California, judges will be able to mandate treatment

September 20, 2023 • In several California counties, new mental health courts open up in October. Officials hope to persuade people with psychosis to accept treatment. Critics say, it looks more like coercion.

These habits can cut the risk of depression in half, a new study finds

A study of nearly 300,000 people in the U.K. found that people who maintained at least five of seven healthy habits cut their risk of depression by 57%. Maria Stavreva/Getty Images hide caption

These habits can cut the risk of depression in half, a new study finds

September 19, 2023 • New evidence shows that people who maintain a range of healthy habits, from good sleep to physical activity to strong social connections, are significantly less likely to experience depression.

Fentanyl mixed with cocaine or meth is driving the '4th wave' of the overdose crisis

The number of overdoses that involve both fentanyl and stimulants like cocaine and meth is growing fast. One way people who use drugs can protect themselves is by using test strips to check for the presence of fentanyl in other drugs. Mark Lennihan/AP hide caption

Fentanyl mixed with cocaine or meth is driving the '4th wave' of the overdose crisis

September 14, 2023 • A new study finds a 50-fold growth in deaths from combined use of stimulants and opioids. The toxic and contaminated drug supply is to blame.

7 habits to live a healthier life, inspired by the world's longest-lived communities

Kame Ogito, 89, gathers seaweed at low tide in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. Seaweed is part of the plant-based, low-calorie diet that makes Okinawans some of the longest-lived people in the world. David McLain/Dan Buettner hide caption

7 habits to live a healthier life, inspired by the world's longest-lived communities

September 9, 2023 • Dan Buettner has spent decades exploring the lifestyles and diets of people in remote places where living to 100 is more common. Here are life-enhancing habits from these "blue zones."

Why beautiful sadness — in music, in art — evokes a special pleasure

This image shows the painting "Ophelia," by John Everett Millais (1829-1896). Experts say that there's a reason that we're attracted to art and music that depict sadness. De Agostini via Getty Images hide caption

Why beautiful sadness — in music, in art — evokes a special pleasure

September 8, 2023 • People seek out art and music that combine sadness and beauty. Scientists and artists say there's good reason why we're drawn to it.

Storing guns away from home could reduce suicides, but there are legal hurdles

Jess Hegstrom, a public health worker for Lewis and Clark County in Montana, tries to start conversations about suicide risk at gun shows. "I'm not here to waggle my finger at you," she says. Aaron Bolton/Montana Public Radio hide caption

Storing guns away from home could reduce suicides, but there are legal hurdles

September 6, 2023 • New ideas like "safe storage maps" show gun owners where to put their firearms in safekeeping if a mental health crisis happens. The idea has support, but obstacles are in the way in some states.

New York City is embracing teletherapy for teens. It may not be the best approach

Teen mental health has suffered in recent years, partly fueled by the disruptions of the pandemic. New York City is working to expand mental health support to all high school students via telehealth. Pollyana Ventura/Getty Images hide caption

New York City is embracing teletherapy for teens. It may not be the best approach

Undark magazine.

September 1, 2023 • A proposal to establish the biggest student mental health program in the country contains a paradox. With teens' mental health struggles partly fueled by screens, is teletherapy the right tool?

Fake 'sober homes' targeting Native Americans scam millions from taxpayers

Reva Stewart preparing to meet people without housing at a park in Phoenix Alice Fordham/KUNM hide caption

Fake 'sober homes' targeting Native Americans scam millions from taxpayers

August 31, 2023 • The scale of a scam to recruit Native Americans into fake treatment for substance in Phoenix and bill the government fraudulently is now emerging. It's huge.

With a simple question, Ukrainians probe mental health at a time of war

Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska heads the country's mental health campaign, called "How Are You?" She says the country is still overcoming the legacy of the Soviet era, when the government sometimes said dissidents had "psychiatric problems" and locked them in mental institutions. She's shown here meeting with students in Paris last December. Julien de Rosa/AP hide caption

Ukraine invasion — explained

With a simple question, ukrainians probe mental health at a time of war.

August 14, 2023 • Ukraine calculates the agony of war in many ways. Lives lost, homes destroyed, families turned into refugees. There's also trauma that's harder to measure — the collective mental health crisis.

When a brain injury impairs memory, a pulse of electricity may help

A precisely timed pulse to a brain area just behind the ear can help reduce memory deficits in patients suffering moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries. Malte Mueller/Getty Images/fStop hide caption

When a brain injury impairs memory, a pulse of electricity may help

August 9, 2023 • A severe traumatic brain injury can make it hard to remember recent events or conversations. But a form of brain stimulation appears to ease this memory deficit.

The science of happiness sounds great. But is the research solid?

A team of researchers recently reviewed studies on five of the most widely discussed happiness strategies—gratitude, being social, exercise, mindfulness/meditation and being in nature—to see if the findings held up to current scientific best practices. filo/Getty Images hide caption

The science of happiness sounds great. But is the research solid?

August 9, 2023 • How do we really get happier? In a new review in the journal Nature Human Behavior , researchers Elizabeth Dunn and Dunigan Folk found that many common strategies for increasing our happiness may not be supported by strong evidence. In today's Short Wave episode, Dunn tells co-host Aaron Scott about changes in the way scientists are conducting research, and how these changes led her team to re-examine previous work in the field of psychology.

Only 1 in 5 people with opioid addiction get the medications to treat it, study finds

A person with addiction holds a bottle of buprenorphine, a medicine that prevents withdrawal sickness in people trying to stop using opiates, as he prepares to take a dose in a clinic in Olympia, Wash (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) Ted S. Warren/AP hide caption

Only 1 in 5 people with opioid addiction get the medications to treat it, study finds

August 7, 2023 • Overdose deaths from fentanyl and other opioids have surged but medications that could save thousands of lives "are sitting on the shelf unused," according to new research.

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During Mental Health Awareness Month, Here are Fifteen Books To Help Us Through

With depression and suicide on the rise, these memoirs and other works of non-fiction tackle such subjects as bipolar disorder, PTSD, and racism.

Headshot of Hamilton Cain

While May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month, these conversation-starting nonfiction books are a great resource to expand on your education—and not just in May but throughout the year. It is even more important, as we begin to emerge from the isolation, grief, and anxiety of pandemic days. With the reality of what we have experienced and continue to grapple with begins to crystallize, it's essential that we process our pain, and try and understand the pain of others.

The Brain in Search of Itself: Santiago Ramón Y Cajal and the Story of the Neuron, by Benjamin Ehrlich

The Brain in Search of Itself: Santiago Ramón Y Cajal and the Story of the Neuron, by Benjamin Ehrlich

The ancient Greeks studied it passionately, from Homer to Galen. The Vedas integrated it into the practice of yoga. And Western science has labored long and hard to map its circuits. “It” is the human brain, a three-pound spongy mass and the most sophisticated machine in the known universe. Ehrlich’s lavish, searching biography spins the story of Cajal, son of a Spanish country doctor, whose pursuit of the brain’s structure—and the neuron in particular—laid the foundation for neurobiology and better treatments. As he traces Cajal’s momentous life Ehrlich treads the corridors of medicine and power with confidence and compassion.

The Lonely Stories: 22 Celebrated Writers on the Joys & Struggles of Being Alone, Edited by Natalie Eve Garrett

The Lonely Stories: 22 Celebrated Writers on the Joys & Struggles of Being Alone, Edited by Natalie Eve Garrett

Imani Perry finds solace in literature when hunkered down in a hospital ward. Anthony Doerr sees menace in the solitary self: “I harbor a dark twin inside. He’s a sun-starved, ropy bastard and he lives somewhere north of my heart…a weed, a creeper; he’s a series of thickening wires inside my skull.” Yiyun Li limns the isolation of writing in a second language, a disorientation, like entering “a new country, a new school, a party, a family or class reunion, an army camp.” This wise, wondrous anthology showcases 22 original essays that probe the beauty and burdens of being alone—it’s a necessary guidebook in our Covid era, as we shelter in place.

The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss, by Mary-Frances O’Connor

The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss, by Mary-Frances O’Connor

Grief can buffet us like ocean tides, jolts of electricity, a perpetual twilight. Here a professor of psychology conducts an intrepid investigation into the science of grief, yielding unexpected tools to sustain us and revelations about the brain and pain, selfhood and community. “Neuroscience is part of the conversation of our times,” O’Connor observes. “By focusing in greater detail on how brain circuits, neurotransmitters, behaviors, and emotions are engaged during bereavement, we have an opportunity to empathize in a new way with those who are currently suffering.”

Sara Manning Peskin A Molecule Away from Madness: Tales of the Hijacked Brain, by Sara Manning Peskin

A Molecule Away from Madness: Tales of the Hijacked Brain, by Sara Manning Peskin

In a series of brisk, witty case studies, a professor of clinical neurology at the University of Pennsylvania bores deep to illuminate the molecules that can make otherwise healthy brains go haywire. Peskin’s research reveals that two seemingly opposing things can be true: While our bodies are robust and resilient, even one misspelling in our genetic alphabet can derail our brains and behavior, turning “a normal protein into one that attacks the mind.” For fans of Oliver Sacks and Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression, by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah

Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression, by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah

Toni Morrison, Tina Turner, Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams: Black women have summited Everests in fields from the arts to politics, fulfilling a vow to never bow, never bend. But what’s the remedy when a Black woman snaps like a tender reed? Danquah’s stirring odyssey through clinical depression reads like an expressionist poem. It's vulnerable, poignant, and fully alive.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, by Kay Redfield Jamison

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, by Kay Redfield Jamison

Jamison’s rise in the field of manic-depressive psychology was meteoric until she put herself on the couch, connecting the dots between her burning ambition and closeted anxieties. Her classic 1995 memoir reveals struggles with neurological complexities, a vivid testament to the mind’s restless, relentless desire to master its darker instincts.

Flatiron Books What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry

What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry

This illuminating, conversational collaboration between Oprah and a leading neuroscientist provides a deep dive into the legacy of childhood trauma, and how we can confront it, learn from it, and find a means of moving forward.

Heavy: An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon

Heavy: An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon

Rarely has depression been explored with such candor and courage as in Kiese Laymon’s lyrical memoir cum epistle to his mother, a poverty-scarred addict who raised her overweight Black son, in fits and starts, against the backdrop of racially divided Mississippi during the '80s and '90s. It's a valentine to survivors everywhere.

The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir, by Jenifer Lewis

The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir, by Jenifer Lewis

As the dean at the fictional Hillman College in the ’90s sitcom A Different World, Lewis had us in the palm of her hand. Unbeknownst to her fans, though, bipolarity gripped this Hollywood grande dame. Fierce, fabulous, and funny as heck, she tackles her highs and lows head-on, discusses the thin line between comedy and sorrow, and her most demanding role ever.

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

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

This beguiling, delicate memoir evokes Li’s suicidal urges and how a passion for her craft steered her back to a world brimming with color and wonder.

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan

America’s favorite food guru and author of the bestselling The Omnivore’s Dilemma expands our horizons as he explores, in gorgeous prose, the emerging science of psychedelic drugs in treating severe depression. Can a microdose a day keep the doctor away?

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, by Andrew Solomon

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, by Andrew Solomon

A National Book Award laureate, Solomon’s incandescent work picks up where Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy left off, branching out from his own mental health into a sweeping, erudite study that roves from Renaissance treatises to yesterday’s headlines, buttressed by a wealth of research and interviews with patients, biologists, and social scientists.

Penguin Books The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel van der Kolk

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel van der Kolk

Sketch a Venn diagram: Americans stricken with alcoholism, divorce, addiction, and PTSD form asymmetrical orbits around the common point of trauma. Here, a global expert draws on tools from both East and West, from yoga to neuroplastic treatments, from sports to drama, in a holistic yet scientific crusade to bring healing to the fractured self.

The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health: Navigate an Unequal System, Learn Tools for Emotional Wellness, and Get the Help You Deserve, by Rheeda Walker

The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health: Navigate an Unequal System, Learn Tools for Emotional Wellness, and Get the Help You Deserve, by Rheeda Walker

The numbers don’t lie: the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed vast inequities in healthcare, with Black communities carrying a disproportionate burden of illness and economic collapse. From the philosophical to the prophetic, an advocate lays out a road map for people of color to learn tools for emotional wellness.

Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting, by Terrie M. Williams

Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting, by Terrie M. Williams

A PR superstar with clients such as Eddie Murphy and Johnnie Cochran, Williams was cruising through her professional stratosphere until she flamed out and crashed. Like many grappling with the toll of depression, she looked both inward and outward, connecting her own depression with the larger suffering at the heart of the Black experience. Her book dares to ask—and answer—the challenging questions that haunt the interior lives of African Americans.

Headshot of Hamilton Cain

A former book editor and the author of a memoir, This Boy's Faith, Hamilton Cain is Contributing Books Editor at Oprah Daily. As a freelance journalist, he has written for O, The Oprah Magazine, Men’s Health, The Good Men Project, and The List (Edinburgh, U.K.) and was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. He is currently a member of the National Book Critics Circle and lives with his family in Brooklyn.  

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Read Like the Wind

Two books for a mental vacation.

Madeleine L’Engle’s domestic memoir; Julie Orringer’s humane short stories

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This photo shows a Swiss chalet situated on a river walkway with the snow-covered Alps looming under cloudy skies in the distance.

By Leah Greenblatt

Leah Greenblatt is a writer and critic living in Brooklyn. Her most recent review for the Book Review was of “ The Woman in Me,” by Britney Spears .

Dear readers,

I have always loved the idea of a sanitarium: Swaddle me in blankets like a chic burrito, please, and tilt my deck chair toward the Swiss Alps or whatever hills you’ve got.

Because I am neither an exhausted starlet nor an heiress blessed with endless rehabilitative funds, alas, the reality of respite rarely involves an upscale wellness resort and a passport. But a trip as brief as a day or two can still trigger the kind of brain-and-body reset that travel at its best is designed to invoke. Even the blustery arrival of an unexpected guest, tropical storm Ophelia, could not ruin the curative gifts of a recent long weekend at friends’ woodsy, social-media-free outpost in rural North Carolina. Who is to say that marathon viewings of “Naked Attraction,” accompanied by much communal shrieking, don’t count as group therapy?

I like it too when novelists we tend to keep in certain boxes turn out to have taken their own furloughs in less familiar lands: memoir, short story. And while any book worth its print run should lift you to another place — what else is reading for? — the works showcased in this week’s edition feel somehow both transporting and restorative, a med-spa of the mind. In whatever brief hours pass between their pages, there is a sense of being really truly there and not here. And for these last precious days before the 5 p.m. darkness, a.k.a. daylight saving time, descends, that is good enough for me (though the dream of Swiss burritos endures).

“A Circle of Quiet,” by Madeleine L’Engle

Nonfiction, 1972

How much do you really know about Madeleine L’Engle? Data is scant on the number of young readers who devoured her classic Y.A. novels (“A Wrinkle in Time,” “A Ring of Endless Light”) and then said, “Now tell me everything about her marriage and her views on progressive Christianity!” Even the most avid fan, though, likely graduated from her adolescent oeuvre with fond memories of starfish and tesseracts and moved on.

Released in the early ’70s, the lively and lucid “A Circle of Quiet” — essentially a midlife diary, set against the pastoral backdrop of L’Engle’s longtime second home in Connecticut — seems more squarely aimed at “Wrinkle” lovers’ consciousness-raising moms. Her musings from the New England-style farmhouse that her actor husband, Hugh, their two biological children, and a sprawling network of friends and surrogates occupied on and off for decades read like dispatches from a lost era of analog pleasures: Sunday roasts, long walks over stone bridges, laundry strung between apple trees. It’s all tender and amusing and a little bit smug: the internationally renowned author recast as humble country matriarch, failing adorably to wax her floors.

But beneath L’Engle’s domestic-goddess drag lurks a sharp and glittering mind, one that approaches everything from McCarthyism and modern religion to the encroachment of digital technology (yes, in 1972) with mousetrap intelligence and a fair amount of rigor. Though the lady doth proselytize perhaps a bit too much, her reflections on 20th-century living — the scourges of loneliness and soft bigotry, the longing to carve out space in a world that moves too fast and carelessly — still feel urgently current. Early on, she recalls an august professor at her alma mater, Smith College, dividing literature into three categories: “Majah, minah and mediocah.” At a slender and discursive 246 pages, “Quiet” qualifies as a minah work, but mediocah? L’Engle probably couldn’t be if she tried.

Read if you like: Buying stacks of old New Yorkers and Ms. magazines on eBay, Jill Clayburgh in “An Unmarried Woman”; the word “ontology.” Available from: Various online book sellers , and (one hopes) genteel Connecticut garage sales.

“How to Breathe Underwater,” by Julie Orringer

Fiction, 2003

Orringer is a lauded and very successful practitioner of Big Fiction, having produced two doorstop novels about World War II, “The Invisible Bridge” (2010) and “The Flight Portfolio” (2019). If you are a literary person of some leisure, they’re easy books to recommend. They are also fairly devastating and each over 500 pages; heavy lifting in several senses of the word.

Life is, you might have noticed, heavy enough lately. So it feels like a treat to fall into the humane and deeply readable short stories in Orringer’s 2003 debut, “How to Breathe Under Water” — even though the book starts with a bad hippie potluck and a mom weak from chemotherapy (“Pilgrims”), and throws in another terminal mother, this time amid the spinning teacups and hellmouth Florida heat of Disneyworld, near the end (“What We Save”).

Mostly, the book is about the fevered inner workings of being a girl. In “When She Is Old and I Am Famous,” a soft-bodied American art student’s study-abroad in Florence is invaded by her teenage fashion-model cousin, a feral beauty with no discernible boundaries. “Note to Sixth-Grade Self” evokes the low-key terrorism of middle-school mean girls, while “Stars of Motown Shining Bright” and “The Smoothest Way Is Full of Stones” both run the messy, anxious gauntlet of sexual discovery. These are neat, self-contained tales, maybe too tidy in their endings but wholly satisfying.

Read if you like: That one perfect season of “My So-Called Life”; Lorde’s “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen It All”); youthquakes in general. Available from: Check your library or local bookstore, or download a digital version from Scribd ; the book is also available in paperback directly from Vintage Contemporaries

Why don’t you …

Embrace your own evanescence by reading Charlotte Alter’s great, artful profile of Don’t-Die guy Bryan Johnson, the 46-year-old millionaire currently attempting to cheat-code his way to immortality? You might not live to 140, but at least you can eat low polyphenol density chocolate that doesn’t taste “like a foot.”

Enjoy the inimitable rhythms of the indie filmmaker and beloved Teutonic kook Werner Herzog’s new memoir, “Every Man for Himself and God Against All,” then cap it with a listen to the comedian Paul F. Tompkins’s pitch-perfect riff on a Herzog trip to Trader Joe’s? (Don’t worry, Werner approves .)

Peruse the retro recipes in Witold Szablowski’s chatty and illuminating “What’s Cooking in the Kremlin: From Rasputin to Putin, How Russia Built an Empire With a Knife and a Fork”? Make Stalin’s favorite Georgian walnut jam or maybe go heartier with the cosmonaut borscht; it’s your call, comrade.

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Want to know about the best books to read and the latest news start here..

Dann McDorman, the executive producer of “The Beat With Ari Melber,” gave up writing fiction in his 20s. Now, he’s publishing his first novel at age 47 .

In “Romney: A Reckoning,” the journalist McKay Coppins takes stock of Senator Mitt Romney’s career  as the politician prepares to retire from elective office.

In a new memoir, the actor John Stamos talks about honesty, sobriety and his grief  over Bob Saget’s death.

Do you want to be a better reader?   Here’s some helpful advice to show you how to get the most out of your literary endeavor .

Each week, top authors and critics join the Book Review’s podcast to talk about the latest news in the literary world. Listen here .


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    January 6, 2022. During these challenging times many people have experienced a drastic change in their mental health. However, many are finding ways to stay healthy and positive through exercising, art, music, and reading. With people heading back to work and kids back to school after the holiday break, The New York Public Library has an array ...

  9. You're Not Alone: Mental Health Nonfiction Picks for Teens

    As mental health struggles get more time in the spotlight, mental health nonfiction books have been cropping up aimed a variety of demographics. In fact, many options are now available just for teens. This list looks at great resources for those who are struggling with mental health issues or want to help someone that is.

  10. Mental Health Non-Fiction Summer Reads

    Eleventh on The New York Times non-fiction bestseller list when it was released in 2007, the book looks at how some of the students involved in the experiment could be so negatively transformed ...

  11. 8 of The Best Mental Health Nonfiction For Teen Readers

    Mind Your Head By Juno Dawson & Gemma Correll. This is a really good book for young teens to pick up to understand more about mental health. It breaks down difficult concepts with tenderness and wit. It's filled with illustrations by Gemma Correll to make us chuckle and make the text less daunting to read.

  12. Full article: A narrative study of mental health recovery: exploring

    Research Article A narrative study of mental health recovery: exploring unique, open-ended and collective processes Nina Petersen Reed , Staffan Josephsson & Sissel Alsaker Article: 1747252 | Accepted 21 Mar 2020, Published online: 04 Apr 2020 Cite this article In this article Full Article

  13. Mental Health Stigma: Society, Individuals, and the Profession

    Abstract. Mental health stigma operates in society, is internalized by individuals, and is attributed by health professionals. This ethics-laden issue acts as a barrier to individuals who may seek or engage in treatment services. The dimensions, theory, and epistemology of mental health stigma have several implications for the social work ...

  14. 16 Nonfiction Books About Mental Illness

    1. My Lobotomy by Howard Dully In the early 1960s, 12-year-old Howard Dully underwent a radical and brutal procedure: the so-called "ice pick" lobotomy. He spent the next three decades alone and in...

  15. #BreakTheStigma: 14 Nonfiction Mental Health Books for Children, Tweens

    Diane Alber Art. May 2020. ISBN 9781951287160. Gr PreK-2- Part of Alber's series on emotions, this picture book educates children on anxiety. The book's narrator, Peaceful Spot, introduces readers to Anxiety Spot and how it can incite uncomfortable emotions.

  16. Fourteen More Insightful Memoirs/Non-Fiction Books about Mental Illness

    Rachel Steinman · Follow 12 min read · May 7, 2020 Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month- I first shared Fourteen Incredible Memoirs about Mental...

  17. Mental Health : NPR

    Montana Public Radio. October 3, 2023 • A long waiting list at Montana's only state-run psychiatric hospital has left inmates untreated and stuck in county jails. To fix it, health officials ...

  18. Mental Health Conditions Can Contribute to Suicide Risk

    One in 5 Americans adults, or nearly 53 million people, experienced a mental health condition in 2020. An estimated 1 in 6 youth, or 7.7 million people, ages 6-17 experienced a mental health condition in 2016. And the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges for many populations. Mental illness alone does not lead to suicide, and most ...

  19. Non Fiction Mental Health Books

    Showing 1-50 of 609 An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness (Paperback) by Kay Redfield Jamison (Goodreads Author) (shelved 4 times as non-fiction-mental-health) avg rating 4.05 — 76,299 ratings — published 1995 Want to Read Rate this book 1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars

  20. Mental Health Non Fiction Books

    Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family (Hardcover) by. Robert Kolker (Goodreads Author) (shelved 2 times as mental-health-non-fiction) avg rating 4.16 — 116,180 ratings — published 2020. Want to Read. Rate this book. 1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars.

  21. 15 Best Mental Health Books 2022

    Temi Oyelola While May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month, these conversation-starting nonfiction books are a great resource to expand on your education—and not just in May but throughout the year. It is even more important, as we begin to emerge from the isolation, grief, and anxiety of pandemic days.

  22. 11 New Works of Nonfiction to Read This Season

    Dasani was a precocious and spunky 11-year-old with limitless potential when Elliott, a Times investigative journalist, first met her at a Fort Greene homeless shelter in 2012. That encounter led ...

  23. Mental Hospital Nonfiction (87 books)

    Mental Hospital Nonfiction Nonfiction books about mental hospitals -- memoirs from patients or doctors, or just books about the running or history of mental hospitals. ... Sociopath, Mental Illness, Personality Disorders, Mental Health, Insanity Book 3) by. Alex Rice. 2.95 avg rating — 104 ratings. score: 89, and 1 person voted

  24. Two Books for a Mental Vacation

    Fiction, 2003. Orringer is a lauded and very successful practitioner of Big Fiction, having produced two doorstop novels about World War II, "The Invisible Bridge" (2010) and "The Flight ...