Mental Health Awareness Month Reading Recommendations

Mental Health Awareness Month Reading Recommendations

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and staff have compiled a great list of recent reads that highlight ways to check in on your mental health or to read about other people who are also struggling. Above all remember it’s okay to not be okay and there’s no shame in asking for help!

A staff-created list with even more of our favorites can be found on our online catalogue. And for those interested, there is also an excellent curated Family Guide to Mental Health resources that can be accessed also be accessed through our online catalogue.

Book cover image of Everyone But Myself

Memoir: Everyone But Myself by Julie Chavez

Like so many mothers, Julie Chavez ran herself ragged trying to meet the needs of everyone else, until an unexpected panic attack forced her to find a new way. Funny, deeply honest, and inspiring for readers feeling overwhelmed in their own lives, this memoir reads like a best friend sharing how she pulled herself back to solid ground while embracing chaos along the way.

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Book cover image of Your Pocket Therapist

Non-Fiction: Your Pocket Therapist: Break Free from Old Patterns and Transform Your Life by Annie Zimmerman

From psychotherapist and TikTok personality Dr. Annie Zimmerman comes a toolkit to transform yourself and your relationships, with advice on how to heal past trauma, build sustainable connections, and take ownership of your mental health.

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Book cover image of The Anxious Generation

Non-Fiction: The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness by Jonathan Haidt

In this book social psychologist Jonathan Haidt lays out the facts about the epidemic of teen mental illness that hit many countries at the same time in the 2010s. He then investigates the nature of childhood, including why children need play and independent exploration to mature into competent, thriving adults and presents a plan for a freer, healthier childhood.

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Book cover image of At First Spite

Fiction: At First Spite by Olivia Dade

On the surface this is just another enemies to lovers small town romance from best-selling author Olivia Dade but in actuality there is a very relatable and exceptional mental health representation woven into the story. Our main character, Athena gets dumped at the alter and finds herself jobless at the same time, falling into a deep depression that only the man next door notices. With his help, she is able to embrace therapy and medication to manage her depression, finding an unexpected love along the way.

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Book cover image of Where to Start

YA Non-fiction: Where to Start: A Survivial Guide to Anxiety, Depression, and Other Mental Health Challenges compiled by Mental Health America

A resource specifically written for teens struggling emotionally and looking for help, from the nation’s leading community-based non-profit that addresses the needs of those living with mental illness.

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Book cover image of Absolutely Normal

YA Short Stories: Ab(solutely) Normal: Short Stories that Smash Mental Health Stereotypes

This collection of 16 short stories, while fictional, were all carefully chosen based on the contributing authors’ own experiences related to mental health challenges either as a lived experience or similar experience that is noted in the introduction by the editors. The stories cover a range of mental health conditions from OCD and PTSD to anxiety and the rarely discussed premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Each author also wrote a note that appears after their story to share their personal connection – a personal touch that gives each story extra weight and strengthens the collection as a whole.

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Book cover image of Stay with my heart

YA Fiction: Stay With My Heart by Tashie Bhuiyan

A South Asian American teen girl grapples with anxiety and depression following her high school graduation and mother’s recent death. Struggling in the face of her father’s absenteeism and neglect, Liana tries to please him by focusing on her new internship at his Music Recording company only to find herself getting tangled up with an aspiring band and its friendly, yet complex members.

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Book cover image of Buzzing

Middle Grade Graphic Novel: Buzzing by Samuel Sattin; Illustrated by Rye Hickman

An excellent #ownvoices middle grade graphic novel about Isaac, a young neurodivergent boy struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and negative self thoughts. When the strict therapy his mother insists on doesn’t seem to be working, Isaac finds solace in a group of friends who invite him to join their after-school role-playing game Not long after the thoughts in his head start to feel a little less loud and the world feels a little brighter. This is a must-read with multi-dimensional therapy representation and beautiful illustrations.

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Book cover image of Louder Than Hunger

Middle Grade Novel-In-Verse: Louder than Hunger by John Schu

Revered teacher, librarian, and story ambassador, John Schu explores anorexia—and self-expression as an act of survival—in a wrenching and transformative novel-in-verse story. This fictionalized account of the author’s experiences and emotions living in residential treatment facilities as a young teen with an eating disorder, Louder than Hunger is a triumph of raw honesty. With a deeply personal afterword for context, this book is a powerful model for muffling the destructive voices inside, managing and articulating pain, and embracing self-acceptance, support, and love.

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Book cover image Deep Water

Middle Grade Novel-In-Verse: Deep Water by Jamie Sumner

Previously highlighted in our Middle Grade Fiction recommendation guide, this latest novel-in-verse story from author Jamie Sumner is a great look at a young girl struggling to cope with an absentee parent trying to deal with their own depression.

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Book cover image of Marley's Pride

Picture Book: Marley’s Pride by Joëlle Retener; illustrated by DeAnn Wiley

Marley is a little nonbinary kid with big anxieties. Crowds? Pass. Loud noises? No, thanks. When their Zaza is up for an award at Pride, they want to go to the parade for the first time with their beloved grandparent. But can Marley overcome their fears? Highlighting the joyful experiences of a queer Black family finding community at Pride, this story features back matter about the history of Pride, a glossary of LGBTQ+ terms, and a list of resources. 

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