Banish Blue Monday with 7 Books about Mental Health

Pinch, punch how’s it only the third Monday of the month?

Apparently January the 20th is the most depressing day of the year- but we all know mental illness isn’t related to a specific month or day of the year.

Still, it’s the perfect reason to check in on your own mental health or on the people around you.

We’ve picked 7 books from the SHU Library Gateway that discuss a variety of mental illnesses so you can learn more about yourself or someone close to you.

Remember help is always available to you at SHU. Click here to be redirected to the Student Wellbeing service.

Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Eating Disorders, Depression


Image result for were all mad here book

1. We’re All Mad Here: The No-Nonsense Guide to Living with Social Anxiety 


“In a nutshell, social anxiety is being hyper-aware of how you’re perceived by others and having and overpowering fear/obsession about looking like an idiot”.


Award-winning Mancunian blogger Claire Eastham‘s brutally honest guide to living with social anxiety.

She covers everything from university to dates (and actually enjoying them).

Her humorous and anecdotal approach to mental health makes the book feel like a close friend guiding you through the first steps of coming to terms with living with social anxiety.


Image result for a mindfulness guide for the frazzled2. A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled 


“I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re all in this together: many reside in the Land of Frazzledom, and we’re all trying to find some kind of exit route”.


Author Ruby Wax OBE is an American actress, comedian, lecturer and mental health campaigner.

In 2013, she obtained a Masters degree in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy from the University of Oxford to increase her understanding of the brain and mental health issues.

Using this knowledge and her own experience she has written a straightforward approach to mindfulness for the ordinary person.

Think less staring at a butterfly wing and more living and enjoying every moment.


Image result for reasons to stay alive book3. Reasons to Stay Alive 

“How to stop time: kiss.
How to travel in time: read.
How to escape time: music.
How to feel time: write.
How to release time: breathe.”


This international bestseller by Matt Haig is a thought-provoking, honest approach to something that few people will openly talk about.

At the age of 24, he felt like ending his life.

He didn’t, but three years of depression followed.

Matt is so glad he survived that he wrote a book for others in a similar situation of things that he wished someone would’ve told him at the time.

It explores how to live better, love better and feel more alive.


4. I Had a Black Dog: His Name Was Depression 



Matt Johnstone describes depression as a Black Dog companion in his life.

This unusual, illustrated book is a great read for those who have depression,  and the people around them that want to get a better understanding of it.

In less than 200 words Matthew somehow perfectly encapsulates what life with depression is really like.

Image result for marbles mania depression michelangelo and me5. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me


Cartoonist Ellen Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly before her thirtieth birthday.

Manic and terrified that medications would cause her to lose creativity, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability while retaining her passions and creativity.

Funny and personal, her memoir provides an inside look into the effects of a mood disorder on an artists work through black and white images.


Image result for lighter than my shadow6. Lighter Than My Shadow 


Katie Green‘s hand-drawn story of her struggle and recovery from an eating disorder is a heavy, haunting must-read.

Everything from Katie’s colour choices in this graphic novel to the intimate details of her mental illness makes the reader really understand what living with anorexia is really like.



Image result for night shift graphic novel debi gliori7. Night Shift


Debi Gliori explores and examines her own experience with depression and how it can affect a person’s whole outlook upon life.

Debi represents depression as a dragon, saying that she would ‘arm-wrestle dragons for eternity if it means that I can help anyone going through a similar struggle’.




Your mental health and wellbeing is important to us.

To get help and advice click here to be redirected to the Student Wellbeing Service for professional advice and recommendations.

Members of staff can find more information about wellbeing support by going to the Staff Wellbeing hub on the intranet.

Find a range of wellbeing resources here and click here to find Books on Prescription: A reading list curated by health professionals and people affected by the conditions.

Let us know your recommendations & what you are reading:

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