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Reads for Mental Health Awareness Month 2023

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Reads for Mental Health Awareness Month 2023

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which serves to bring attention to the vital place 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 to borrow in book and ebook format, that can help educate us 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 and strategies to channel them in positive ways.

anxiety antidote

The Anxiety Antidote : How Awareness And Action Can Lead To Self-Control And Inner Peace by Kamran Bedi

The book offers tools and techniques that the reader can apply quickly on a daily basis, such as exercises on self-reflection, breath work, mindfulness and visualization.  As a practical, “how to” self-help book, the reader will get a deeper understanding of their anxiety from a cognitive and emotional point of view, allowing them to transform their mind and emotions quickly, for the better.

The Anxiety Coach : Every Parent’s Guide To Building Resilience In Their Child by Michael Hawton

Childhood anxiety is much more prevalent these days, and parents and carers need to be able to help their kids to prevent dangerous escalation. With 18 years of expert, qualified experience, the author shows how to help children and tweens build up the necessary brain architecture and perspective, and create the emotional reserves and balance needed throughout life. User-friendly features in this book include: case studies of a family who have successfully tackled their children’s anxious behavior, worksheets outlining the methodical steps parents should take, advice on how to manage a child’s digital world, tips to help worried parents deal with their own anxious thoughts and feelings.

Breathe In, Breathe Out : Restore Your Health, Reset Your Mind And Find Happiness Through Breathwork by Stuart Sandeman

Sandeman reveals the hidden power of breathing and how, by changing the way you breathe, you can transform the way you think and feel. Since tragic loss brought him to breath work, Stuart has changed the lives of thousands through his signature sessions. Now he wants the same for you. Whether you want focus or flow, more energy or less anxiety, Stuart can tell you how to get it. Combining modern science and ancient wisdom, he sets out how to stay on top of your game, overcome a negative mindset and heal from your past. You’ll learn to deepen the connection with yourself, others and the world around you.

The Catastrophic Worrier : Why You Worry & How To Stop by Graham Davey

Excessive and distressing worrying is a problem that affects everyone at some point in their lives, but for some people this can become a lifelong affliction. Catastrophic worry can turn even imagined setbacks into a cascade of devastating events, leading to loss of sleep, lower self-confidence, poor decision making, and even health problems. In this guide, leading worry expert Davey explains why we worry, and offers readers a clear path to stopping catastrophic worry so they can regain control and live a happier life.

easy crafts for the insane

Easy Crafts For The Insane : A Mostly Funny Memoir Of Mental Illness And Making Things by Kelly Williams Brown

A story about how crafting tutorials serve as the backdrop of a life dissolved, then glued back together. Brown had 700 Bad Days. Her marriage collapsed, she broke three limbs in separate and unrelated incidents, her father was diagnosed with cancer, and she fell into a deep depression that ended in what could delicately be referred to as a “rest cure” at an inpatient facility. One of the few things that kept her moving forward was, improbably, crafting. Not Martha Stewart–perfect crafting, either—what could be called “simple,” “accessible” or, perhaps, “rustic” creations were the joy and accomplishments she found in her worst days. To craft is to set things right in the littlest of ways; no matter how disconnected you feel, you can still fold a tiny paper star, and that’s not nothing.

Change Your Brain Every Day: Simple Daily Practices To Strengthen Your Mind, Memory, Moods, Focus, Energy, Habits, And Relationships by Daniel G. Amen

Psychiatrist and clinical neuroscientist Amen, MD, draws on over 40 years’ clinical practice with tens of thousands of patients to give you the most effective daily habits he has seen that can help you improve your brain, master your mind, boost your memory, and make you feel happier, healthier, and more connected to those you love. Today is the day to start changing the trajectory of your life, one tiny step at a time.

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.

How Am I Doing? 40 Conversations to Have with Yourself by Dr. Corey Yeager

Life is hard. But it gets a whole lot easier when you start to talk it out. Here you’re invited into a series of conversations with yourself to improve your mental health as you discover your purpose, honor your story, and explore who you want to be. Dr. Yeager, psychotherapist for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons offers you 40 questions to help you raise awareness of your thoughts and emotions and reconnect with who you want to be.

how not to kill yourself

How Not To Kill Yourself : A Portrait Of The Suicidal Mind by Clancy W. Martin

Martin chronicles his multiple suicide attempts in an intimate depiction of the mindset of someone obsessed with self-destruction. He argues that, for the vast majority of suicides, an attempt does not just come out of the blue, nor is it merely a violent reaction to a particular crisis or failure, but is the culmination of a host of long-standing issues. He also looks at the thinking of a number of great writers who have attempted suicide and detailed their experiences (such as David Foster Wallace, Yiyun Li, Akutagawa, Nelly Arcan, and others), at what the history of philosophy has to say both for and against suicide, and at the experiences of people who have reached out to him across the years. 

How To Make Good Things Happen: Know Your Brain, Enhance Your Life by Marian Rojas Estape

For those in pursuit of a better life, psychiatrist Estapé presents the essential guide to neuroscience-driven mindfulness. Understanding your brain, managing your emotions, and being aware of your responses to stressors can give you greater self-control. Rather than a gimmicky guidebook, this is a thorough look at how our brains react to stress, threats, hyperstimulation, and the vices of our digital age. With proven techniques backed by solid, up-to-date psychiatric research, Estapé teaches us how to make the best of our lives.

The Intrusive Thoughts Toolkit : Quick Relief For Obsessive, Unwanted, Or Disturbing Thoughts by John Hershfield

Do you have unwanted, repetitive, negative, or intrusive thoughts that are getting in the way of your life, keeping you up at night, or making you downright miserable?

Written by a team of mental health experts and grounded in evidence-based therapy, thisToolkit provides fast-acting tools for soothing distressing thoughts in the moments when you need it most. With this take-anywhere guide, you’ll learn proven techniques to get unstuck from negative thoughts and feelings, adopt healthier thinking habits, and increase overall well-being. You’ll also find easy and doable ways to help you press pause on spiraling thinking, and in-the-moment interventions to help you quiet your mind before your thoughts get out of control. 

The Stress Prescription by Elissa Epel

We can’t avoid stress. But we can embrace it and transform it. Whether we’re facing deadlines, difficulties with family or friends, personal crises, or just the uncertainty of the world—stress is the ocean we swim in. Even our negative thoughts can trigger our body’s stress response so we rarely experience periods of ease and deep restoration. Dr. Epel distills decades of research, infused with wisdom, into a practical yet transformative seven-day plan of science-based techniques that can help you harness stress through more positive challenge and purpose. 

unexpected gift of trauma

The Unexpected Gift Of Trauma : The Path To Posttraumatic Growth by Edith Shiro

A groundbreaking approach to healing from trauma and experiencing posttraumatic growth from a leading psychologist, featuring a powerful, five-stage framework to help readers not just recover, but thrive and transform.

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.

Zig-Zag Boy : A Memoir Of Madness And Motherhood by Tanya Frank

A compassionate, heartrending memoir of a mother’s quest to accept her son’s journey through psychosis. In the years following Zach’s shifting psychiatric diagnoses, Tanya goes to war for her son, desperate to find the right answer, the right drug, the right doctor to bring him back to reality. She struggles to navigate archaic mental healthcare systems, first in California and then in her native London during lockdown. Meanwhile, the boy she raised-the chatty, precocious dog-lover, the teenager who spent summers surfing with his big brother, the UCLA student-suffers the effects of multiple hospitalizations, powerful drugs that blunt his emotions, therapies that don’t work, and torturous nights on the streets. Holding on to startling moments of hope and seeking solace in nature and community, Tanya learns how to abandon her fears for the future and accept the mysteries of her son’s altered states. 

Online Courses

Universal Class, available to Livingston Library cardholders, has courses on anxiety therapy, stress management, emotional healing

Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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