book lists

My Best Picks: Mental Health Lit


I’ve been reading a ridiculous amount of mental health lit lately, but then again, I always have. I’m constantly seeking to have my experiences validated by seeing them reflected back elsewhere. Of course, the search to see yourself in the world doesn’t always go well.

So I decided to make this post of my “Best Of”s — for those who are looking for great examples, and also for Future Me, who might need to re-read.

(I’m also considering updating this post as I discover more great books. The month of April just wasn’t enough to get my hands on all the books out there.)


Best Mental Health Memoir:

Loud in the House of Myself by Stacy Pershall

  • Borderline Personality Disorder & Bipolar Disorder
  • brutal honesty with respect to making mistakes, pushing people away, relapsing, etc.
  • one of my fave quotes about suicide ever:

    “A depressed person is selfish because her self, the very core of who she is, will not leave her alone, and she can no more stop thinking about this self and how to escape it than a prisoner held captive by a sadistic serial killer can forget about the person who comes in to torture her everyday. Her body is brutalized by her mind.”

Best Mental Hospital Setting:

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

  • depression
  • mental hospital story that doesn’t play into all the stereotypes: character’s depression stems from seemingly normal stress, which really resonates with me
  • (see guys, I can read male protagonists sometimes!)

Best Eating Disorder Rep:

Paperweight by Meg Haston

  • anorexia/bulimia + clinical depression
  • dual narrative between treatment center & events that led to this point; character struggles through self-blame behaviors similar to my experience with depression
  • shows that eating disorders are about more than just food
  • full review here

Best Anxiety Rep:

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

  • agoraphobia/panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression & self-harm
  • a searing look at being inside the mind of someone with serious anxiety disorders, but with a positive outlook in the ending
  • full review here

Best Treatment of Medication:

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

  • anxiety (unspecified)

  • normalization of SSRIs (meds for anxiety & depression) wherein the anxiety doesn’t control character’s entire life; character’s generalized anxiety comes through in the voice in a way that’s both realistic & adorable

  • full review here



Best Intersectionality:

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez


  • depression
  • two Latina protagonists who express their depression in different ways: one is loud & outspoken, acting up in school, while the other withdraws from her friends & family
  • my full review will be up here or on Goodreads in the near future


So that’s it for now, folks. I’ll definitely update & re-post this at some point in the future. For now, these are my favorites. Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know what you think in the comments! 


5 thoughts on “My Best Picks: Mental Health Lit”

  1. Awesome list!! I’ve only read Upside, but I’ve got a copy of Under Rose-Tainted Skies to read soon. Definitely putting the rest on my TBR – we need more good representations of mental illnesses in books! And especially about men/boys. I feel like there’s still this idea that guys can’t be mentally ill, and that really needs to be challenged in literature, imo.

    1. So true! My older brother has dealt with depression his whole life as well, but I feel like it’s even harder for him to speak up and ask for help. We have this flawed idea that men are Without Feeling and that having feelings is Bad – all of that needs to change, because we’re failing our men as well.

      1. YES. My boyfriend is currently going through a lot of mental health stuff at the moment, and that’s unfortunately one of the things he’s really internalised after being told for so many years to ‘man up’. I’m currently looking for books for him to read – if you know of any other good ones with male MCs, do let me know!

  2. Yay thanks for the tips, I’ve had ‘Loud in the House of Myself’ on my to-read list for a while now. I also recommend ‘Am I Normal Yet’ by Holly Bourne, The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten and ‘Nothing Tastes as Good’ by Claire Hennessy 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s