8 Must Read Books on Mental Health Awareness

Bibliophiles around the globe find solace, peace and calm in literature and its characters. Literature is spread across different genres and a variety of topics. An important topic which finds its worthy mention in literature is ‘Mental Health’. Let’s have a look at the books or novels that talk of mental health, awareness, and beyond.

8 Must-Read Books on Mental Health Awareness

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Eleanor has suffered from childhood trauma and depression. It has taken a toll on her self-esteem. ‘Sometimes you simply needed someone kind to sit with you while you dealt with things. That’s exactly what people expect when they’re suffering, either physically or mentally – someone to hold onto. If you plan to read a book on trauma, this is the right choice.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay

Written by Adib Khorram, the book explores several themes such as coming-of-age, cross-cultural relations, depression, etc. The protagonist, Darius is a character who suffers from clinical depression that leads to low self-esteem and terrible social skills. The author has managed to weave Iran, mental health, and love intricately, turning it into a memorable novel.

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful

This book is a memoir by the author Sarah Wilson, about dealing with her companion for life – anxiety. Ranging from tips to cultivating hope and a strong will to live, it’s a gem when it comes to books about mental health. Lastly, don’t let your anxiety defeat you. Defeat it with all your might and rise as a stronger individual. 

All the Bright Places

It discusses mental health, bipolar disorder, and suicide in detail. What has otherwise been taboo, is talked about openly and kept as realistic as possible. With a heart-touching message of being compassionate and kind to others, All the Bright Places changes our perspective towards life and people. Remember, people you meet might be fighting a silent battle, be kind. Empathy wins it all.

Em and the Big Hoom

Set in Mahim, a locality in Mumbai, Em, and the Big Hoom is a narrative about a mother’s manic depression from a caregiver son’s perspective. The story sets in a tiny 1 BHK apartment. Jerry Pinto manages to write mindfully about depression, family relations, worldly affairs, etc. in Em and the Big Hoom.

The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath’s renowned work ‘The Bell Jar’ is written through the eyes of Esther Greenwood. It talks about chastity, how a woman is always expected to settle down, mental health, and the like. The beautiful use of metaphor in the title suggests that she feels trapped, suffocated as if tightly closed in a bell jar.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Writing of themes like trauma reminds us that this piece of literature is a story of an adolescent suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD). The author has done a great job of portraying mental health without sugarcoating things. It’s a reminder to remember that we’re not alone, there’s someone who’ll always listen to us.

Mrs. Dalloway

Author Virginia Woolf wrote about mental illness when it was totally unspoken of, a taboo, a stain. Again, it talks of PTSD which she called shell-shock back then, also emphasizing feminism and defying conventional definitions of being a woman. Mrs. Dalloway is a unique masterpiece written in the genre of psychological fiction.

If you’re feeling too anxious or low in life, pick up one of these to brighten your spirits. It’s time we de-stigmatize mental health and normalize going to therapy. It’s time we read, soak in and understand the depth and importance of it. Let’s master the art of empathy and the next time someone speaks, let’s listen with all our heart. 

Which is your favorite book on mental health? Comment below. 

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