3 World Mental Health Day Reading Recommendations

When I saw that it was World Mental Health Day on the 10th October, I immediately wanted to write a post recommending a couple of books that I have found useful or relatable in their coverage of mental health. I even wrote a little list of books on my phone, which I fully intended to turn into a post immediately. It has been a rather long immediately of 3 days, but we got here eventually so let’s get into it!

Mental health is a very important topic to me. I have struggled with depression and an eating disorder, and I know how isolating it can feel when everyone else seems to be coping with the world fine and your brain is on fire. Please, please, please reach out to someone. Anyone. You don’t have to do this alone and you do not deserve to feel bad, whatever your thoughts tell you. Friends and family are a great option for a more casual chat, and if your bouts of bad mental health are frequent then it may be a good idea to talk to a doctor. If the idea of talking to someone in person makes you want to curl up into a ball and roll into a volcano, then there are organisations you can text, call or message online depending on what you’re most comfortable doing. I’ll leave some links at the bottom of the post for you to check out if you feel you need them.

Everyone’s experience of mental health is unique so the books that speak to me might not speak to you in the same way, but I hope these might give you some reading ideas, or help spark a discussion with people you know about mental health. Also, while I will not be discussing sensitive topics in this post, some of these books will contain them so make sure to check content warnings if you are worried that they may affect you.

1. It’s Okay to Feel Blue

It’s Okay to Feel Blue is a collection of writings about mental health by over 70 people. It really does have something for everyone, and I highly recommend it if you want something that you can dip in and out of easily. For my full review, click here.

2. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Reasons to Stay Alive is an incredible book filled with Haig’s experiences of mental health. It is a mixture of conversations and personal anecdotes and lists, each one only a couple of pages each, so it is very easy to read. I think both people who have struggled with their mental health and those who haven’t should read this book, because it has some really great ways of describing how it feels to have depression. Also by Matt Haig is Notes on a Nervous Planet, another excellent nonfiction which also covers mental health but in a more general way, again in a fragmented format.

3. Anything by Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne is a writer or teen fiction and recently(ish) released her first adult novel. Her books frequently cover topics such as mental health, being yourself, relationships, and feminism. She is one of the authors that I will automatically read without even looking at the blurb- her writing is so emotional and honest. I will recommend them to pretty much anyone who wants to read some incredible contemporary fiction.

I decided to keep this short and sweet because I think long lists can definitely be overwhelming sometimes! Obviously there are lots of books that cover mental health, these are just a couple of my favourites.

List of UK mental health helplines here and another one here .

List of US mental health helplines here and here .

Please don’t suffer in silence, and look after yourself. Everyone has mental health, so even if you don’t have any particular problems with it you should still look after it like you would with physical health. Take a moment to breathe and check in with yourself- how are you feeling right now?

If you ever want someone to chat to, I’m happy to listen. Just message me on one of the links below or use my email on the links page. I hope you’re all having a good week ❤

It’s Not OK to Feel Blue Review

It’s Not OK to Feel Blue, edited by Scarlett Curtis

It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue and other lies is a vast collection of writings from various celebrities and activists on mental health. It includes personal anecdotes, poetry, song lyrics and even an illustration. With such a diverse array of minds with a variety of experiences with their mental health, there really is something for everyone.

I think anyone who reads this would take away something different from it depending on who you are, how your mental health is and what you need right now. I will attempt to explain what I thought were the best bits, but I highly recommend reading this for yourself.

This book did cause me to have a minor existential crisis, when I realised I have no idea what I want with my life. That being said, the collection is overall hopeful and quite inspiring, with statistics used sparingly and only when very relevant. It wasn’t a bad existential crisis, it just really made me consider areas of my own life. I found reading other people publicly sharing their experiences quite liberating, as they addressed the shame and stigma around sharing your own mental health problems. The contributions were funny at times, heart-breaking in others, just filled with so much honesty and vulnerability.

The book addresses mental health in conjunction with cancer, being a woman, race and class among other things. It is not simply personal experiences, but also how to be an LGBTQ+ ally and what you can do or say to help when a friend or family member is struggling with their mental health. This is not just a book for those with mental health problems, because everyone has mental health and as a whole society could do with talking about it more.

So read this book. Talk to someone. Cut out toxic things in your life. Make a change, one baby step at a time. Ask your friend if they’re truly okay. Things can, and do get better.

If you want to find out more or need some support, I’ll link a few websites below that are for general mental health but if you are looking for something specific a quick google will often bring one up, especially if you don’t live in the US or UK. If you have any questions or just want to talk, feel free to contact me 🙂

UK

Childline , Shout , Mind , Time to Change , Young Minds , SANE

US

National Alliance for Mental Illness , To Write Love On Her Arms , The Trevor Project , Mental Health America