Mental Health Recommendations

So tenth of October is Mental Health Awareness Day and it’s also my birthday so I decided to make it a full week and really explore a few different angles. To kick off the week, I thought we’d start with a simple post detailing a few amazing books incorporating mental health into their stories.

First off, we have the fabulous Under Rose-Tainted Skies (Louise Gornall). This is the first book I read covering agoraphobia and OCD which didn’t make me want to cry or cringe constantly. It’s so well done and so understood (it is an own voices book so that does make sense!) that it almost feels like the main character, Norah, could be related to you. It’s beautiful and yet very realistic; nothing is sugar-coated or made a bit prettier. I see myself in Norah a lot and I will forever treasure this book. Plus it matched my hair when I bought it, so immediately puts it high in my favourites!

Heart Shaped Bruise (Tanya Byrne) is next and there’s no way I could leave it off this list. It’s about Emily, who’s awaiting a trial in a Young Offenders Institution and the reader has no idea what she’s done or how she got there. It’s her side of the story and it’s so beautifully written that we can easily understand each phase of anger and bitterness and every other bold, dangerous feeling. In terms of mental health, it’s interesting but not particularly ‘helpful’ (not it’s intention!) but I did have to put it in here since it’s so good and well put-together. She goes to psychiatrist meetings and there’s a strong mental health angle and it’s super thrilling and interesting to read.

Only Ever Yours (Louise O’Neill) covers eating disorders in a sci-fi sort of setting. Girls are robots, created to be the most beautiful to impress the men and have babies (it’s also very feminist which is fab!). This causes the girls to think very harmfully and very realistically in terms of eating disorders. I love how this book is so real and yet so unreal all at once.

Am I Normal Yet? (Holly Bourne) is the first in the Spinster Trilogy and is so good, especially in its depiction of OCD. It’s a contemporary story and follows Evie as she struggles with her mental health. It’s a nice story and has a very real feel to it since the symptoms of Evie’s mental illness are very real. I can relate to Evie a lot and enjoy seeing into her internal thoughts through this book.

Girl Online (Zoe Sugg) is a great book for teens as it portrays anxiety but it isn’t the sole purpose of the story. It follows a girl as she falls in love, goes through school and figures herself out all whilst dealing with different situations causing her to feel anxious. It’s well-written, realistic and is great for someone who’s either interested to learn a little, or is beginning to feel they may be struggling with anxiety themselves but are maybe unsure.

No Virgin (Anne Cassidy) isn’t specifically mental health either but it recounts a rape and the trauma a girl goes through. By doing this, it shows insight into the girl’s mind and how long-lasting the effects of a trauma (such as rape) can be. I particularly appreciate how it demonstrates the changes in the way she sees herself and feels about herself. It’s raw, it’s real and it’s very realistic.

Check back tomorrow for another mental health-themed post!

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