40 Mental Health Books for Young Adults

By Caitlyn Colman-McGaw, Manager, Young Adult Education
February 15, 2022

Did you know reading can soothe a busy mind? In tough times, it can be hard to get away from the stress of the outside world, but one way you can is with a good book. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 40 powerful mental health reads for young adults. These books share moments of inspiration and sorrow as well as offer tips for how you can keep moving forward.  

These books are a part of the Community Mental Health Project which exists to help you find the mental and emotional support you or a loved one might need. This 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. 

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.

DB (digital talkingbook) / BK (Bookshare)

Looking for more? Check out these Fiction and Nonfiction Reads To Support Mental Health for Children and Teens. Looking for resources for adults? Check out these mental wellness book lists: 75 lecturas imprescindibles sobre la salud mental (Spanish books for adults) and 39 Mental Wellness Must Reads (libros en inglés para adultos).

Check out these must-reads below: 

Silhouetted by the Blue by Traci L. Jones
Request: Book | E-Book

Collateral Damage: The Mental Health Effects of the Pandemic by Carla Mooney
Request: Book

Dear Black Girl: Letters from Your Sisters on Stepping into Your Power by Tamara Winfrey Harris
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook

Forty-Two Minutes: The Indigo Lewis Series by Janay Harden
Request: Book

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork
Request: Book | E-Book | Audiobook | DB

Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Request: Book | E-Book

Zero O'Clock by C.J. Farley
Request: Book | E-Book

(Don't) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health edited by Kelly Jensen
Request: Book

COVID Chronicles: A Comics Anthology edited by Kendra Boileau and Rich Johnson
Request: Book

Heads Up: Changing Minds on Mental Health by Melanie Siebert 
Request: Book | E-Book

Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker
Request: Book | E-Book | DB

Superhero Therapy: Mindfulness Skills to Help Teens and Young Adults Deal with Anxiety, Depression, and Trauma by Janina Scarlet
Request: Book

American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott
Request: Book | E-Book | DB

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez
Request: Book | E-Book

The Same Blood by M. Azmitia
Request: Book

Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration edited by Rose Brock
Request: Book

My Heart and Other Blackholes by Jasmine Warga
Request: Book | E-Book | DB

The Resilient Teen: 10 Key Skills to Bounce Back from Setbacks & Turn Stress Into Success by Sheela Raja
Request: Book | E-Book

The PTSD Survival Guide for Teens: Strategies to Overcome Trauma, Build Resilience, and Take Back Your Life by Sheela Raja
Request: Book | E-Book

The Fall of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Request: Book | E-Book

Black Girl, White School: Thriving, Surviving, and "No, You Can't Touch My Hair" edited by Olivia V.G. Clarke
Request: Book

Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance and Being You by Kathryn Gonzales
Request: Book

Ordinary Girls: A Memoir by Jaquira Díaz
Request: Book | E-Book | DB

Your Brain Needs a Hug: Life, Love, Mental Health, and Sandwiches by Rae Earl
Request: Book

Brave Face: A Memoir by Shaun David Hutchinson
Request: Book | E-Book | DB

The New David Espinoza by Fred Aceves
Request: Book | E-Book

Same But Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express by Holly Robinson Peete
Request: Book | E-Book

The Beautiful Struggle (Adapted for Young Adults) by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Request: Book | E-Book

Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard by Echo Brown
Request: Book | E-Book | DB | Large Print

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Request: Book | E-Book | DB | Large Print

The Disturbed Girl's Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos
Request: Book | E-Book | DB

Feminist AF: A Guide to Crushing Girlhood by Brittney Cooper
Request: Book

Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini
Request: Book | E-Book

I Will Save You by Matt de la Peña
Request: Book | E-Book | En Español

It's All Love: Reflections for Your Heart & Soul by Jenna Ortega
Request: Book | E-Book

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Request: Book

The Place Between Breaths by Na An
Request: Book | E-Book

Rewire Your Anxious Brain for Teens: Using CBT, Neuroscience, and Mindfulness to Help You End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry by Debra Kissen
Request: Book | E-Book

Surviving The Emotional Rollercoaster: DBT Skills to Help Teens Manage Emotions by Sherry Van Dijk
Request: Book

Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles (Reprint) by Jessica Burkhart
Request: Book