Some Books on Mental Health

Compiled by Terry Slade

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression - Andrew Soloman
2002 Scribner, 1st Touchstone edition 576 pages (paperback $18.00) ISBN10:0684854678 ISBN13:9780684854670
Author's website:
Comprehenisive and very well-respected book on depression.

Undoing Depression - Richard O'Connor
Subtitled: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You

Not being an expert or anything, this looks to be one of the best books on the subject of depression. He stresses that medication and therapy are needed in most cases, but also that there is a lot of self-help that can and should be done. I gave a copy of this book to someone who was in the hospital and psychiatrists, therapists, nurses, and other patients took an interest in it, writing down the title, borrowing it, etc. This may be a good book for anyone dealing with depression or anyone wanting to understand it. Has information for friends and family.

The author's website:

Read more about it at Amazon

Mind Over Mood - Dennis Greenberger, Christine Padesky
Subtitled: Change How You Feel by Changing How You Think.
1995 Guilford Press 243 pages (paperback $22.95) ISBN 0898621283

This is a workbook for what is called Cognitive Therapy.

Read more about it at Amazon

The Truth About Depression: Choices for Healing - Charles L. Whitfield M.D.
2003 Health Communications 312 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN 0757300375
Makes the case that depression is not a genetic brain-chemistry problem best solved by drugs, but actually a reaction to childhood trauma.


Change Your Brain, Change Your Life - Daniel G. Amen M.D.
1999 Three Rivers Press 352 pages (paperback $15.00) ISBN 0812929985


Healing Through the Dark Emotions - Miriam Greenspan
Subtitled: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear and Despair
2003 Shambhala 272 pages ISBN 1570628777

The author's website:


Depression-Free for Life - Gabriel Cousens
Subtitled: An All-Natural Five-Step Plan to Reclaim Your Zest
2001 Quill 304 pages

Gabriel Cousens is the author of Conscious Eating and other books about food, and is also a psychiatrist. I have not studied this book, but if I wanted to research depression and diet, I would start here.


The Edge Effect - Eric Braverman
2005 Sterling 304 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN 1402722478
Read more about it at: Amazon:

Optimum Nutrition for the Mind - Patrick Holford
2004 Basic Health Publications 320 pages (paperback $17.95) ISBN 1591201055
Read more about it at: Amazon:

Against Depression - Peter D. Kramer
2005 Viking 368 pages


The Art of Happiness - The Dalai Lama

A magic book of deep wisdom from a true master of life and happiness. Whether you are clinically depressed or just want to be happier, this book should be helpful. And who doesn't want to be happier?


Full Catastrophe Living - Jon Kabat-Zinn
Subtitled: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

This book is about mindfulness meditation. There are a lot of books about applying meditation to mental and physical health. This looks like a comprehensive guide. Also recommended would be any books by Thich Nhat Hahn, who wrote the preface to this book.


The Language of Letting Go - Melody Beattie
1996 Hazelden 390 pages

This was recommended by a nurse when I was visiting someone in a psych ward. From the synopsis at Amazon: "Focusing on self-esteem and acceptance, and written in the direct unsentimental style of Beattie's bestsellers, these daily meditations give voice to the thoughts and feelings common to men and women in recovery. They encourage reflection on problem-solving, self-awareness, sexuality, intimacy, attachment, acceptance, relationships, and more."
She has lots of other good books, such as Codependent No More.


Sex, Drugs, Gambling, and Chocolate - A. Thomas Horvath
subtitled: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions
2003 Impact Publishing 240 pages (paperback $15.95) ISBN 1886230552

Check out the 5-star reviews at Amazon. Sort of an alternative to 12-step programs.


A Million Little Pieces - James Frey
2004 Anchor 448 pages ISBN 1400031087

Controversial book detailing the author's recovery from major drug abuse. The controversy is mainly over the fact that the book is not entirely non-fiction, the truth has been embellished here and there. Also the writing style is unconventional and the author has some trouble with the concept of a higher power, which is key to 12-step recovery. The book was a best-seller and also an Oprah Book Club selection. Check out some of the over 1000 reviews at Amazon. I have not read this book but it looks like a very interesting read.


Smashed: The Story of a Drunken Girlhood - Koren Zailckas


Dry: A Memoir - Augusten Burroughs


A Year to Live - Stephen Levine
Subtitled: How to Live This Year as Though It Were Your Last


Man's Search for Meaning - Victor Frankl

A super-classic. From the editorial review at Amazon: "Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is among the most influential works of psychiatric literature since Freud. The book begins with a lengthy, austere, and deeply moving personal essay about Frankl's imprisonment in Auschwitz and other concentration camps for five years, and his struggle during this time to find reasons to live. The second part of the book, called "Logotherapy in a Nutshell," describes the psychotherapeutic method that Frankl pioneered as a result of his experiences in the concentration camps. Freud believed that sexual instincts and urges were the driving force of humanity's life; Frankl, by contrast, believes that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. Frankl's logotherapy, therefore, is much more compatible with Western religions than Freudian psychotherapy. This is a fascinating, sophisticated, and very human book."


The Zen of Recovery - Mel Ash
1993 Tarcher/Putnam/Penguin 244 pages (paperback $15.95) ISBN0-87477-706-2

A practical synthesis of AA's twelve steps and Zen Buddhism's 8-fold path.

Read more at Amazon

Cool Water - Alcoholism, Mindfulness and Ordinary Recovery - William Alexander


The Writings of Florence Scovel Shinn - Florence Scovel Shinn
1988 Devorss 335 pages

This is a collection of 4 books by Florence Scovel Shinn - The Game of Life and How to Play It (1925), Your Word is Your Wand (1928), The Power of the Spoken Word (1940), and The Secret Door to Success (1945). These are all classics in the field of self-help and metaphysics, dealing with the spiritual laws of positive attitudes and affirmations.

Read more at Amazon

Same collection is also published under the title The Wisdom of Florence Scovel Shinn


The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment - Eckhart Tolle
1999 New World Library (paperback $21.95) ISBN 1577311523


Shadow Syndromes - John Ratey, Catherine Johnson

Radical Forgiveness - Colin Tipping

You Can Heal Your Life - Louise Hay

Why People Don't Heal and How They Can - Carolyn Myss

Author's website:

When Anger Hurts - Judith McKay, Matthew McKay, PhD, Pewter D. Rogers, PhD
Subtitled: Quieting the Storm Within
2nd Edition 2003 New Harbinger 320 pages ($16.95 paperback) ISBN:1572243449 ISBN13:9781572243446

The Unmistakable Touch of Grace - Cheryl Richardson

Father Hunger - Margo Maine, Ph.D.
An excerpt from a review at "Although I am a physician, I am also the father of a dughter with an eating disorder and read this book upon the advice of her therapist. I am very glad to say that it has started my daughter and me on a path to a much richer relationship and that she is on the road to recovery."

Anatomy of Anorexia - Steven Levenkron

A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain - Marilee Strong
1999 Penguin 256 pages (paperback $15.00)ISBN 0140280537

Bodies Under Seige - Armando R. Favazza

Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation - Steven Levenkron

The Scarred Soul: Understanding and Ending Self-Inflicted Violence - Tracy Alderman

Bodily Harm - Karen Conterio

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry - Jon Ronson

7 Must-read Books on the Art and Science of Happiness -

Internet Mental Health (

This award-winning website has tons of info on all aspects of mental health and includes a large, well-organized list of links to other sites for more information.

Say No to Psychiatry (

And this very interesting website gives some alternative viewpoints.

Trouble in Prozac Nation - David Stipp

Lengthy article about SSRIs in November 28, 2005 Fortune Magazine

Tons of books can be found here:

About this page:

I'm not a doctor or therapist and I haven't spent much time studying the vast area of mental health, so I'm no expert, but these seem to be some very good books. Perhaps they may be of help or interest to someone. Amazon links are provided for reference and convenience, I earn no commission.

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