Reads for Mental Health Awareness Month

After the last two years of pandemic living, many people are realizing that stress, isolation, and uncertainty have taken a toll on their well-being.  May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which serves to bring attention to the vital palace occupied by mental health in everyone’s life. It is also a time to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and to help reduce the stigma so many of them experience.

Here are some new nonfiction titles available with your Livingston Library card that you can check out to educate yourself on different aspects of mental health issues. They include memoirs of struggle with mental illness, accounts of living with a mentally ill family member, and books offering ways to combat mental health conditions including stress and anxiety.

The Anatomy Of Anxiety : Rethinking The Body, Mind, And Healing Of Anxiety by Ellen Vora

Holistic psychiatrist Vora outlines anxiety’s effects on mental and physical health in her thought-provoking debut, exploring the physiological sources of anxiety and offering practical guidance to help mitigate symptoms. She teaches readers how to take anxiety inventories, avoid unnecessary stress by stabilizing blood sugar levels, rein in social media use, and alter one’s diet to lessen anxiety. 

And Now I Spill The Family Secrets : An Illustrated Memoir by Margaret Kimball

Kimball investigates her family history and interrogates her own memories and emotional development in this compassionate, enthralling graphic memoir. With her mother’s first suicide attempt on Mother’s Day 1988 as a focal point, Kimball moves back and forth in time to touch on her schizophrenic grandmother, the dissolution of her parents’ marriage, and her relationship with her siblings as adults, culminating in an examination of her older brother’s struggles with mental illness.

The Anxiety Healer’s Guide : Coping Strategies And Mindfulness Techniques To Calm The Mind And Body by Alison Seponara

Discover practical, natural, on-the-go solutions for combating anxiety with this must-have guide. While the journey toward recovery might look different for everyone, this portable resource is full of concrete activities, tools, and techniques that have been scientifically proven to calm the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system and give sufferers a better sense of control over their minds and bodies.

The Autoimmune Brain : A Five-Step Plan For Treating Chronic Pain, Depression, Anxiety, Fatigue, And Attention Disorders by David S. Younger

This book connects common brain health symptoms to the changes in the immune system, and particularly bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. Dr. Younger explains his groundbreaking research and adds a new component: how traumatic stress (whether physical or emotional) and genetics affects this same triad as inextricable factors in initiating disease and brain health symptoms. 

Bittersweet : How Sorrow And Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain

Cain explores how a bittersweet perspective can help people overcome individual and collective pain, while encouraging compassion and unity. She defines a bittersweet outlook as “a tendency to states of longing, poignancy, and sorrow.” It’s a recognition that the light and the dark are inseparable; embracing the imperfections of the world goes hand-in-hand with a desire to make the world better. Cain utilizes an engaging blend of interviews, research, firsthand accounts, and biographical anecdotes to explore the many beneficial aspects of appreciating this mindset.

Broken (In The Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson

Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way. With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. 

The Grieving Brain : The Surprising Science Of How We Learn From Love And Loss by Mary-Frances O’Connor

A renowned grief expert and neuroscientist shares groundbreaking discoveries about what happens in our brain when we grieve, providing a new paradigm for understanding love, loss, and learning.

Happy At Any Cost : The Revolutionary Vision And Fatal Quest of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh by Kirsten Grind

Tony Hsieh–CEO of Zappos, Las Vegas developer, and all-around beloved entrepreneur–was famous for spreading happiness. When Hsieh died suddenly in November of 2020, Wall Street Journal reporters Grind and Sayre quickly realized the importance of the story because of Hsieh’s stature in the industry, but as they dug into the details of his final months, they realized there was a bigger story to tell. They found that Hsieh’s obsession with happiness masked his darker struggles with addiction, mental health, and loneliness.

Healing : Our Path From Mental Illness To Mental Health by Thomas Insel

Insel, former director of the National Institute for Mental Health, debuts with a profound diagnosis of the ills and promises of the United States’ mental health-care system.  He offers a solid history of how systemic issues such as homelessness, mass incarceration, and for-profit health insurance keep the country tied to ineffective means of treating mental illness. But it’s not all doom and gloom: he offers a sense of hopeful solutions, including an expansion of community-based mental health programs, the use of technological innovations such as “digital phenotyping” that can help keep track of how people behave outside of clinics, and initiatives that provide employment, housing, and social connection.

Losing Our Minds : The Challenge Of Defining Mental Illness by Lucy Foulkes

A compelling and incisive book that questions the overuse of mental health terms to describe universal human emotions.  Drawing on her extensive knowledge of the scientific and clinical literature, Foulkes explains what is known about mental health problems-how they arise, why they so often appear during adolescence, the various tools we have to cope with them-but also what remains unclear: distinguishing between normality and disorder is essential if we are to provide the appropriate help, but no clear line between the two exists in nature.

(Mis)diagnosed : How Bias Distorts Our Perception Of Mental Health by Jonathan Foiles

A report on how mental illness diagnoses can be negatively influenced by personal history, race, and class.  takes us through troubling examples of bias in mental health work. Placing them in context of past blunders in the history of psychiatry and the DSM, he looks closely at questions that lay bare the intersections between mental health care, race, gender, and sexuality.

Move The Body, Heal The Mind : Overcome Anxiety, Depression, And Dementia And Improve Focus, Creativity, And Sleep by Jennifer J.​ Heisz

Sharing her paradigm-shifting research, a noted neuroscientist shows how exercise can combat mental health conditions; help fight addictions; improve memory, sleep, and focus; and increase creativity.

The Myth Of Closure : Ambiguous Loss In A Time Of Pandemic And Change by Pauline Boss

Ambiguous loss is  when a loss remains unclear and undefined, and thus lingers indefinitely. Now, with a pandemic that has upended the lives of people across the globe, we are collectively experiencing ambiguous loss-loss of trust in the world as a safe place and loss of certainty about our healthcare, education for our children, employment, and the rebuilding of our lives after so much loss. Here, you will find guidance for beginning to cope with this lingering distress, and even learn how this time of pandemic has taught us to tolerate ambiguity, build resilience, and emerge from crises stronger than we were before.

Never Simple : A Memoir by Liz Scheier

 Scheier reflects on her life growing up in the chaos wrought by her mother’s Borderline Personality Disorder. Sometimes raw and other times wry, Scheier recounts the combinations of adventure and abuse, love and terror her mother, Judith, engendered. A compulsive liar and gaslighter, Judith even weaponized Scheier’s own identity against her by withholding information about her father and preventing her from obtaining the legal documentation to live independently. 

Nobody’s Normal : How Culture Created The Stigma Of Mental Illness by Roy Richard Grinker

Grinker chronicles the progress and setbacks in the struggle against mental-illness stigma-from the eighteenth century, through America’s major wars, and into today’s high-tech economy. He infuses the book with the personal history of his family’s four generations of involvement in psychiatry, including his grandfather’s analysis with Sigmund Freud, his own daughter’s experience with autism, and culminating in his research on neurodiversity.

What My Bones Know : A Memoir Of Healing From Complex Trauma by Stephanie Foo

A searing memoir of reckoning and healing from an acclaimed journalist investigating the little-understood science behind Complex PTSD and how it has shaped her life. Stephanie interviews scientists and psychologists and tries a variety of innovative therapies with the determination and curiosity of an award-winning journalist. She returns to her hometown of San Jose, California, to investigate the effects of immigrant trauma on a community, she uncovers family secrets in the country of her birth, Malaysia, and learns how trauma can be inherited through generations.

You, Happier : The 7 Neuroscience Secrets Of Feeling Good Based On Your Brain Type by Daniel G. Amen

After studying more than 200,000 brain scans of people from 155 countries, Dr. Amen has discovered five primary brain types and seven neuroscience secrets that influence happiness and offers practical, science-based strategies for optimizing your happiness.

 

Your Work Wellness Toolkit : Mindset Tips, Journaling And Rituals To Help You Thrive by Ellen M. Bard

An interactive journal showing the reader how to feel better at work, be more productive, more positive, more resilient. The book is illustrated throughout with interactive activities, journal prompts and a structured program of self-care for the workplace.  

Here are Audiobooks on Hoopla appropriate for Mental Health Awareness Month.

-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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