39 Mental Wellness Must Reads

By NYPL Staff
December 8, 2021

Did you know reading can boost mental health? It’s been tough out there. That’s why we’ve created The Community Mental Health Project to help you find the mental and emotional support you or a loved one might need. The Community Mental Health Project features informative videos, programs, and recommended reads, all created by and for Black and Latinx/a/o New Yorkers—communities who have experienced the highest health disparities and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Explore 39 powerful mental health reads below! These books cover everything from practicing self-care to understanding mental illness. 

Many of these books are available in one or more accessible formats, as linked below.

If you find it hard to read standard print, The New York Public Library’s Andrew Heiskell Library provides free access to talking books, talking book players, braille, a talking book download website and a free talking book and e-braille app for mobile devices. Learn more and apply.

Note: DB = available on BARD in talking book format and as a mailable talking book. Some titles are available through Bookshare and can be found through the Bookshare (BK) link under that title. All Heiskell members can gain access to Bookshare for free.

DB (digital talkingbook) / BK (Bookshare)

Looking for more? Check out these mental wellness book lists: 75 lecturas imprescindibles sobre la salud mental (Spanish books for adults)

39 Mental Wellness Must Reads

72 Hour Hold: A Novel by Bebe Moore Campbell
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook | DB | BK

A Hunger So Wide and So Deep: American Women Speak Out on Eating Problems by Becky W. Thompson
Request: Book

Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman's Journey With Depression and Faith by Monica A. Coleman
Request: Book | E-Book | Electronic Resource

Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit by Mary-Frances Winters
Request: BookE-Book | Audiobook | Large Print | DB | BK

Black Men And Depression: Understanding and Overcoming Depression in Black Men by John Head 
Request: Book | BK

Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting: Real Talk for When There's No Where to Go but UP by Terrie M. Williams
Request: Book

Black Women's Mental Health: Balancing Strength and Vulnerability edited by Stephanie Y. Evans, Kanika Bell, and Nsenga K. Burton
Request: Book | Electronic Resource

Care for the Mental and Spiritual Health of Black Men: Hope to Keep Going by Nicholas Grier
Request: Book

Cry Like a Man: Fighting for Freedom from Emotional Incarceration by Jason Wilson
Request: Book | Audiobook | BK

Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience by Sheila Wise Rowe
Request: Book | BK

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook | Large Print | DB | BK

How Far You Have Come: Musings on Beauty and Courage by Morgan Harper Nichols
Request Book |  BK

How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Nicole LePera 
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook | DB | BK

How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community by Mia Birdsong
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook | BK

I Am Diosa: A Journey to Healing Deep, Loving Yourself, and Coming Back Home to Soul by Christine Gutierrez
Request: Book | E-Book |  BK

I Will Survive: The African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse by Lori S. Robinson
Request: Book 

I'm Telling the Truth, But I'm Lying by Bassey Ikpi
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook | DB | BK 

In and Out of Our Right Minds: The Mental Health of African American Women edited by Diane R. Brown and Verna M. Keith
Request: Book 

Mean by Myriam Gurba
Request: Book | DBBK

My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook | BK 

Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen: The Emotional Lives of Black Women by Inger Burnett-Zeigler
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook | BK 

Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat: A Story of Bulimia by Stephanie Covington Armstrong
Request: Book | BK 

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing by Joy DeGruy
Request: Book | BK

Psychological Health of Women of Color: Intersections, Challenges, and Opportunities edited by Lillian Comas-Díaz and Beverly Greene
Request: Book

Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery by bell hooks
Request: Book | BK

Soothe Your Nerves: The Black Woman's Guide to Understanding and Overcoming Anxiety, Panic and Fear by Angela Neal-Barnett
Request: Book | BK

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook | DB | BK

The Color of My Mind: Mental Health Narratives from People of Color = El color de mi mente: narrativas de salud mental de personas de color edited by Dior Vargas
Request: Book

The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook | BK

The Oxford Handbook of Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health edited by Esther D. Rothblum
Request: Book | Electronic Resource

The Strong Black Woman: How a Myth Endangers the Physical and Mental Health of Black Women by Marita Golden
Request: Book

The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health: Navigate an Unequal System, Learn Tools for Emotional Wellness, and Get the Help You Deserve by Rheeda Walker 
Request: Book | E-Book | BK

The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time by Alex Korb 
Request: Book | E-Book | BK

Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence-From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Lewis Herman
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook | BK

Understanding Mental Illness: A Comprehensive Guide to Mental Health Disorders for Family and Friends by Carlin Barnes and Marketa Wills 
Request: Book | E-Book | BK

We've Been Too Patient: Voices from Radical Mental Health: Stories and Research Challenging the Biomedical Model edited by L.D. Green and Kelechi Ubozoh
Request: Book  | BK

What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook | BK

Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman's Journey Through Depression by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah 
Request: Book

You Belong: A Call for Connection by Sebene Selassie
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook  | BK

This book list was made possible through support from the Leon Levy Foundation.