My Top 6 Books about Mental Illness

As May is the annual Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought it would be fitting to combine my love of reading with my desire to raise awareness for mental health. So here we have it! A list of my favorite mental health themed books!

Believarexic by J.J. Johnson

Believearexic_drawn maze concepts_final.indd

Believarexic follows the life of fifteen year old Jennifer after she discloses to her parents that she has an eating disorder. The story begins with her admission into the Samuel Tuke Centre, a treatment facility, and from there the book follows her through the ups and downs of recovery.

This books is my #1 book of 2016 so far! I absolutely LOVED it and I would recommend it to anyone, especially those who have struggled with an eating disorder as well as individuals who are interested in learning more about the disorders.


The Disappearing Girl by Heather Topham Wood


The Disappearing Girl begins in the aftermath of the tragic death of Kayla’s father. In the year that follows his death, Kayla develops an obsession with losing weight which quickly spirals out of control and she develops anorexia and bulimia.

This book does an excellent job of demonstrating just how difficult it can be for a sufferer to come to terms with their illness and how such disorders can impact both the sufferer and their loved ones.

This book was among my top 3 books of 2015!


Cut by Patricia McCormick


Cut follows the story of Callie who is admitted into Sea Pines, a residential facility for young women who struggle with various mental health challenges. As the title suggests, Callie struggles with self-harm in the form of cutting.

Honestly, when I was reading this book I 100% thought it was coming from a place of personal experience on the author’s part. However, after reading the book I did some research and discovered that the author has never personally struggled with self-harm. I was shocked! She does such an amazing job of describing the suffering and the addictive nature of self-harm that I couldn’t believe she had never personally experienced self-harm. I commend Patricia McCormick on a realistic and empathetic portrayal of what it is like to struggle with self-harm and what it takes to recover.

Clean by Amy Reed


Clean is the story of five young people facing the same challenge: addiction. The books follows the lives of Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason, and Eva as they face their addictions in rehab and come to terms with their actions and their secrets about the past.

I personally have never struggled with addiction, yet, I found myself able to empathize with the characters and really get inside their heads and feel what they were feeling. I read this book in one sitting because it was so engaging and entrancing. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone interested in mental health books!

Zoe Letting Go by Nora Price


Zoe Letting Go was another one of my top 3 books of 2015. This books is an incredible story and I absolutely did not see that ending coming!

This book is another which deals with anorexia within the setting of a treatment facility, but what sets this book apart is that much of the story unfolds in the form of letters which Zoe writes to her friend Elise. Except Elise never writes back…

This is a page-turner with a twist that you will NOT see coming. I 100% recommend that you pick up a copy of this books AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and then comment below letting me know what you think!

Stolen- A letter to my captor by Lucy Christopher

6408862Stolen delves into the life of sixteen year old Gemma after she is kidnapped from a Bangkok airport and brought to the Australian Outback by her captor, Ty.

As the book progresses, Gemma begins to demonstrate telltale signs of Stockholm Syndrome, feelings of affection or love that a victim has for their captor.

This is another book which I read in the space of one day because I just could not put it down! Every chapter is packed with excitement and suspense right up until the very end.



These are only a few of the books that I’ve read about mental health (I’ve probably read close to 100 in total) but they’re the ones that have stood out to me as being compelling, interesting, and accurate in their depictions of mental illness.

Do you have a passion for reading mental health books? Let me know what your favorites are in the comments below!




18 thoughts on “My Top 6 Books about Mental Illness

    • Discoverecovery says:

      They’re really great reads! If you like classics then The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is also pretty good and intended for a more mature audience.

      • Bradley says:

        I read The Bell Jar in school, so of course I hated it. I’ll need to check it out again now that I have a more mature mind…at least I hope it matured

      • Discoverecovery says:

        I had a similar experience with To Kill a Mockingbird. I absolutely HATED it in school, but it’s a lot more enjoyable when you can read it at your own pace without having to worry about writing an essay to analyze the themes 🙂

    • Discoverecovery says:

      Agreed! It’s one of my favorite books! I’m glad you enjoyed it as well. Do you have any book recommendations for me? I love hearing what other people are reading that I may not have heard about before. 🙂

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