The 10 Best Mental Health Books of 2020

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Our Top Picks

This is Depression at Amazon

"Patient cases provide real-life examples for anyone experiencing depression in their own life, or in the life of a loved one."

We’ve Been Too Patient at Amazon

"Diligently curated stories of mental health experiences help break the stigmas that so easily surround the mental health space."

This Too Shall Pass at Amazon

"A psychotherapist uses hours of conversations with patients to showcase how individuals adapt differently in the face of hardship."

Black Pain at Amazon

"The author addresses how emotional pain uniquely affects the Black community, and how to address it head-on without feeling ashamed."

Own Your Self at Amazon

"Holistic psychiatrist Kelly Brogan, M.D., offers alternatives to medication for handling mental health disorders."

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone at Amazon

"This book will make you feel heard while encouraging you to open up and reach out to the people who are there to listen."

Your Happiness Toolkit at Amazon

"It provides a simple understanding of what depression is and what feeds or fights that depression."

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple at Amazon

"Takes the concept of mindfulness to the next level with its 10 strategies for improving individuals’ mental health."

Be Calm at Amazon

"A clinical psychologist helps people of all backgrounds manage their anxiety and cope with stress in this easy read."

Own Your Anxiety at Amazon

"Rather than a disorder to be ashamed of, Brass encourages readers to look at their anxiety as an intimate aspect of who they are."

Mental health impacts every aspect of our lives, whether we’re aware of it or not. It affects how we think and feel, and guides us in our decisions and how we act around other people. Mental health also has a direct impact on individuals’ physical health—poor mental health could make an individual more susceptible to certain chronic physical conditions and autoimmune diseases.

Mental illnesses have been around just as long as humans have. Thankfully, we are now living in a society that is beginning to understand the importance of discussing these issues and offering acceptance to the individuals in our lives who struggle with their mental well-being.

Improved psychological health means an improved quality of life. Many therapists, psychologists, and mental health professionals have accepted the responsibility of continuing our mental health education with books that discuss everything from daily stresses to depression.

Here, the best mental health books for improved well-being.

Our Top Picks

This is Depression

This Is Depression

Courtesy of Amazon

In "This is Depression", psychiatrist Dr. Diane McIntosh shares what she’s experienced in the 20 years she’s been working with patients who have been diagnosed with depression. She takes readers through common causes of depression, the diagnosis process for depression, and the many possible treatment options an individual may be prescribed.

Her take on the topic is not only founded in research, but her use of stories shared by patients also provides real-life examples for anyone experiencing depression in their own life. This book is a necessary guide for anyone who faces depression— whether their own or a loved one’s— in their life.

We’ve Been Too Patient

"We’ve Been Too Patient" is a collection of 25 stories and essays that portray the unfortunate reality of many who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Editors Kelechi Ubozoh (consultant and keynote speaker) and L.D. Green (advocate and author) diligently curated stories of mental health experiences, all in an attempt to break the stigmas that so easily surround the mental health space.

These stories, while in many cases hard to stomach, shed light on experiences of overmedication, electroconvulsive therapy, involuntary hospitalization, and other traumatic events that can forever alter someone’s life. Their discussion of the systemic problems within mental health care educates readers, empowers writers, and breaks stigmas.

This Too Shall Pass

Psychotherapist Julia Samuel uses hours of conversations with patients to showcase how individuals adapt differently in the face of hardship. Backed by academic, medical research, her analysis of the stories she shares clearly explains how mental health is different for every person, yet the prioritization of positive mental health (and smart, easily enforced coping mechanisms) should remain the same. 

Black Pain

Author and mental health advocate Terri Williams knows that Black people are hurting. She knows because she is one of them. In Black Pain, Williams addresses the topic of depression, a topic that is still taboo, especially in the Black community.

With down-to-earth discussions, Williams tackles emotional pain and how it uniquely affects the Black experience, encouraging women and men to seek the help they need without feeling ashamed.

Having experienced depression first-hand after overworking herself as the head of a demanding public relations company, Williams knows what it takes to finally come to terms with your inner sorrow. She reminds us that we are brave, not cowardly, for facing our traumas head-on and finding solutions with the help of others.

Own Your Self

While medication is a common method for handling mental health disorders, holistic psychiatrist Kelly Brogan, M.D., offers alternatives in "Own Your Self". She discusses how the symptoms we face in mental illness are not always in need of fixing, but instead need to be processed, accepted, and then healed with non-medicated methods.

With research to back her up, she lays out how to identify factors, find transformative emotional opportunities, and find ways to heal your mind from within. Dr. Brogan believes that when there is a prioritization of self-care, individuals will find themselves with clearer, sharper mental health.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

Therapist Lori Gottlieb got a taste of her own medicine when, after an incident that left her shaken and confused, she found herself on the therapy couch. She has the education to be the doctor, but now her experience has made her the patient as well—her perspective expands to understand and feel both sides of a therapy appointment.

In her witty, endearing story of self-discovery, she discusses the truths and lies we all tell ourselves, examining the harm they can cause when allowed to be out of control. "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" will make you feel heard while encouraging you to open up and reach out to the people who are there to listen.

Your Happiness Toolkit

Carrie Maxwell Wrigley, LCSW, has been a counselor for 30 years. Her career has largely been focused on providing applicable steps for individuals struggling with their mental health—"Your Happiness Toolkit" follows this focus. It provides a simple understanding of what depression is and what feeds or fights that depression.

She provides a self-assessment model to help individuals identify what their depression is, and she offers 16 self-help tools that help them overcome it and find happiness. "Your Happiness Toolkit" is a guide for both those experiencing psychological issues and loved ones trying to help them along the way.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple

"Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple" takes the concept of mindfulness to the next level with its 10 strategies for improving individuals’ mental health. Author Seth J. Gillihan, Ph.D., focuses on effective tools—like identifying negative thoughts—that allow individuals to find relief from their anxiety and depression. While each tool is thoroughly backed with research, the book serves as an easy-to-read manual full of small, simple steps that lead to success.

Be Calm

Jill Weber, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who helps people of all backgrounds manage their anxiety. "Be Calm" takes all that knowledge and divides it into three sections: feelings, behaviors, and thoughts.

Each section takes the main anxiety symptom an individual finds themself facing and provides an explanation for that symptom, techniques to control it, and a path to finding inner calm. It’s easy to read, understand, and apply to your life, no matter what situation you find yourself in.

Own Your Anxiety

Anxiety coach Julian Brass’ career has been spent guiding individuals toward empowerment in the face of anxiety. "Own Your Anxiety" provides readers with tools that focus on what they are able to control, positive action, and motivation.

Instead of viewing anxiety as a disorder to be ashamed of, Brass encourages readers to look at their anxiety as an intimate aspect of who they are—to be shaped, not hidden. He combines medical research and personal experiences to provide a resource that leads readers toward a healthier, happier life.

Why Trust Verywell Mind

As a previous fitness coach, long-time wellness enthusiast, and current health editor, Lily Moe understands the importance of prioritizing your mental health. She not only encourages those around her to speak out about their own mental health, but she walks the walk with open discussions, sharing of resources, and advocating for organizations that help us all to learn how to conquer obstacles placed before us. Most importantly, Lily always looks for research and first-hand reviews when it comes to deciding on a product. 

Information presented in this article may be triggering to some people. If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained crisis worker. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn About Mental Health. Updated January 26, 2018.