It’s Mental Health Awareness Month! // Sharing Ten of My Favorite Books with Mental Health Rep

Hello friends & happy May! I’ve been looking forward to today’s post for what feels like ages because today I get to talk about a topic that’s super important: mental health representation in books.

Mental health is a very personal subject to me as I’ve been struggling with it myself since childhood and have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and a depressive disorder. Reading books with mental health representation has been extremely beneficial and honestly life-changing for me. And since May is Mental Health Awareness Month (you can read more about that here!), I wanted to honor it by recommending ten of my favorite books with mental health rep.

***Content warning: I’ll be mentioning mental health related issues and other serious topics in this post (anxiety, depression, trauma, suicide, panic attacks, self harm, abuse, etc). If you feel like you can’t read about those things right now, I completely understand if you don’t continue the rest of this post. I don’t go in to detail about anything, but I know it can still be triggering. It’s more important that you take care and be safe! ❤

Okay, on to the books ~ !


More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

This is by far the most well-written depression rep I’ve ever come across (it’s own voices!) and one of the most powerful stories I’ve read in my life. Even though it’s heavy and difficult to read in some places, I appreciate how raw and realistic it is. Not only is this one of my all time favorite mental health books, it’s also one of my all time favorite books in general. It’s a masterpiece.

 “I will do my best to always find the sun in the darkness because my life isn’t one sad ending—it’s a series of endless happy beginnings.”

➤Trigger warnings: depression, self harm, suicide/suicide attemptimage-5

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesa Zappia

I! love! this! book! It’s about being true to yourself, pursuing your passions, the importance of online communities and fandom, and what it means to live with anxiety in day-to-day to life. It’s similar to Fangirl in some ways, but more serious on the mental health aspect. This was actually the book that gave me the confidence to start participating in the book community and create a blog!

“Our stories have lives of their own- and it’s up to us to make them mean something.”

➤Disclaimer: I wanted to make a quick note that one of the characters at the end of this book (the love interest) handles the main character’s mental health in a poor way. Even though I absolutely loved everything else, I have to admit that part was sort of upsetting to read. Just thought I’d mention it here!

➤Trigger warnings: anxiety, panic attacks, depression, suicide/suicide attemptimage-5

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

I feel like I’ve mentioned this book in practically all of my posts lately, but it honestly deserves all the recognition. This story is focused on the affects school, society, and family can have on mental health. It’s one of the most important books I’ve read and it actually changed me in so many ways. I couldn’t recommend it more.

“I’m sure you think I was complaining about nothing. You probably think I’m a whiny teenager. And yeah, it was all in my head, probably. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t real.”

➤Trigger warnings: depression, mentions of suicidal ideation, emotional abuseimage-5

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Hooray for fantasy books with mental health rep!! It’s not as common to come across non-contemporary books that prominently feature mental health, so I’m thankful this series does just that. Each of the characters in here have been through past traumatic experiences, and instead of ignoring that (which tends to happen in other fantasy books), Bardugo made sure to emphasize how much these characters were affected by what they went through. We definitely see how the long-lasting impacts their pasts had on them.

“The trick is in getting back up”

➤Trigger warnings: sexual assault/rape, emotional abuse, anxiety, violence, addiction, mentions of suicideimage-5

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

I have some mixed feelings about the ending of this book, but it ultimately made a positive impact on me and I still think it’s an excellent story. I can’t believe this was only just published in 2007 because I feel like it’s already considered a classic? Love this one a whole lot.

“A working brain is probably a lot like a map, where anybody can get from one place to another on the freeways. It’s the nonworking brains that get blocked, that have dead ends, that are under construction like mine.”

➤Trigger warnings: depression, suicidal ideation, mentions of self harmimage-5

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

This is one of my more recent reads I really enjoyed! The main character of this book has social anxiety and also experiences emotional abuse from a narcissistic parent, and she must deal with the effects of both. It’s a beautifully written and emotional story with a hopeful ending. I’ve been looking forward to reading more from this author.

“I’ll still question whether people mean something different from what they say. And I’ll probably always feel my heart thump when I think someone is criticizing me.
But I can live with that.
I accept myself.”

➤Trigger warnings: anxiety/social anxiety, emotional abuse

image-5

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

More Adam Silvera because he writes some spectacular mental health books. I really like how this one explores the character’s mental illness in addition to other aspects of his life, like friendship and family and grief. This entire story transformed my life in so many ways that I can’t even begin to describe. It’s own voices as well (for the OCD rep), and it’s brilliant, and I could shout about my love for it forever.

“I’m no longer waking up on the wrong side of my life”

➤Trigger warnings: OCD, depression, suicidal ideationimage-5

Light Filters In by Caroline Kaufman

I randomly came across this poetry collection at Barnes & Noble a few months ago and decided to read it on a whim. I’m glad I did because this was GOOD and so well-written. I’m forever on the search for more poetry books with mental health rep, so if you have any recommendations, please send them my way!

“It is hard,
but I’m doing it.
And that is bravery.”

➤Trigger warnings: self harm, sexual assault, mentions of suicide, anxiety, depression, abusive relationshipsimage-5

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a favorite book of mine (the plot was a bit messy), but I really appreciated the themes of grief and sadness. Specifically, I liked the way this book explored isolation and loneliness, and how that can dramatically impact someone. It represented depression in a very real and honest way. It’s also gorgeously written and a super fast read, so I’d definitely recommend it!

“It’s a dark place, not knowing.
It’s difficult to surrender to.
But I guess it’s where we live most of the time. I guess it’s where we all live, so maybe it doesn’t have to be so lonely. Maybe I can settle into it, cozy up to it, make a home inside uncertainty.”

➤Trigger warning: depressionimage-5

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Another fantasy series that actually incorporates mental health issues! I love how Juliette can still be considered a strong lead despite the fact that she still struggles with past trauma. Her journey throughout this series is honestly amazing. Also, in the new trilogy, there’s more representation for anxiety and panic attacks. I have a lot of appreciation for Tahereh Mafi for including these things.

“Things are changing, but this time I’m not afraid. This time I know who I am.”

➤Trigger warnings: past abuse, anxiety, panic attacks (book 4)


Alright, those are ten of my faves! Mental health representation is such a critically important thing to include in media as it spreads awareness and can benefit those who struggle with it. I’m so grateful that these books do that. I love love love them.

One more thing: I tried to include the main trigger warnings, but please take care reading these books as some of them are quite heavy. And if you’ve read any of these and think I missed a warning, just let me know and I’ll add it ASAP!

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!


I’d love to know

What are your favorite books with mental health rep? Have you read any I mentioned in this post? Any on your TBR??

29 thoughts on “It’s Mental Health Awareness Month! // Sharing Ten of My Favorite Books with Mental Health Rep

    1. Thanks so much Brittany! 💞 I totally get you. I loooove books with mental health rep but sometimes they can be a lot to handle so I don’t read them as often, ya know? They’re very good and very powerful though! I hope you enjoy the ones you added to your TBR if you end up reading them:)

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      1. Exactly! They are great to read, especially when you can relate, but sometimes they can be really heavy and hard to get through if anything is triggering or feels like too much! I also feel like there just aren’t enough of them!

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  1. Adam Silvera’s books are definitely some of the most emotional books I’ve ever read. More Happy Than Not was the first book that ever made me ugly cry, and it just hit so many of my inner emotions unlike any other books I had read. And Radio Silence also spoke a lot to me on my own feelings about school and life.

    I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this lovely list, especially Eliza and Her Monsters! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could not agree more! Adam Silvera writes some of the most emotionally powerful stories, especially MHTN. That one hit me hard! And yesss Radio Silence is such a relatable one. I’m glad you enjoyed both of those as well💞

      Aw yay, I hope you like the books on this list whenever you get the chance to read them! Eliza and Her Monsters is spectacular – I have a feeling you’ll enjoy it. Thanks for your comment Xandra!

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  2. Really loved this post. I’m always so afraid to read books within these realms as my anxiety and depression is so scary to me. But I’m going to keep it saved on WP, for one day I’ll face that fear. Thank you for writing this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank YOU for your kind words! I completely and totally understand that. These books can be difficult to read so its definitely best to read them only if you feel comfortable doing so. Hope you’re doing well and thanks for your comment! 💕

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  3. amazing post Brianna!!!! reading books with depression rep has helped me so much with my own depression, it always makes me feel so hopeful to read other characters coping with it and just, being amazing ❤ I loved Radio Silence with my entire heart, the friendship rep!!!!!!! WHEN SHE TACKLES HER BEST FRIEND INTO A HUG????? I was overwhelmed with pure happiness 🙂

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    1. Ahhh Malanie THANK YOU! It makes me happy to hear that books with depression rep have helped you as well💞 They’re so so so important! AND YESSS the friendships in Radio Silence are too wholesome. I love it!! thanks for your comment, and I hope you’re having a good May so far☺️

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  4. Wonderful post!! I always mean to do something like this but never do lol. A lot of these books are on my TBR so it’s good to know that the portrayal is authentic. I would add The Perks of Being a Wallflower to this list. Charlie helped me deal with so much ❤

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    1. Thanks so much!! Haha I get what you mean, I’ve been thinking about doing a post like this for such a long time but only just now got around to putting it together. I’m glad to hear a lot of these books are on your TBR! I hope you enjoy them if you get the chance to read any 🙂 Ohhh I definitely need to finish Perks someday! I read some of it years ago but sadly never finished it. I’m so glad to hear it made a positive impact on you ❤️

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  5. This is such an AMAZING post, Brianna!! I love so many of the books you recommended. I also really like that you mentioned SoC because people don’t often see the mental illness representation in it at first glance. I’ve also been meaning to read Starfish too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks Tiff! 💞💞💞 Yaaaay I’m so glad you like some of these books too! YES exactly, I think the mental health aspect of SoC tends to get overlooked since it’s fantasy, but it’s definitely there and it’s super well done. And oh Starfish is such a good one! I hope you enjoy it whenever you get the chance to read it🙂 thanks for your comment!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh I’m glad you love Adam Silvera’s books as well! They’re so so so good. And aw that makes me really happy to hear that Radio Silence and Eliza have made an impact on you❤️ Agreed, SoC is terrific!! Thanks for your comment Margaret:)

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  6. This was a great post— I want to read them all now!! I love that you included quotes from them as well. It also lovely to hear how books helped and changed your life. I agree fantasy doesn’t include enough mental health representation and I think Six of Crows was really good for that.
    I would love to read Eliza and Her Monsters and Radio Silence. And I need to try some Adam Silvera books as I have heard great things– I think ‘More Happy Than Not’ might be the first one I try out. I really like the title and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it!! 🙂
    I loved this post!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Sophie!! That honestly means a lot to me that you said you liked the quotes because I was indecisive about including them or not. I’m glad they were appreciated 🙂 Agreed, fantasy should definitely include more discussion of mental health like SoC does! It’s super important. Ohh Radio Silence and Eliza are both incredible – I hope you enjoy them if you ever get the chance to read them! And Adam Silvera’s books are some definite faves. MHTN is so good and so powerful! Hope you like it!! And thanks again for your kind words 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This was such an amazing post, Brianna! These are some great books here – I really loved Six of Crows and We Are Okay in particular! A recent favourite mental health book is Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram! It has biracial rep, LGBTQIA+ rep and clinical depression rep. I cried six times during reading (which never happens) and I loved it SO MUCH. Please read it if you haven’t already. Happiest of reading, Brianna!

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  8. Ahh Brianna, I was so happy to see this amongst all the posts that I’ve missed (sorry btw…i’ve been so busy) Mental health, as we have discussed multiple times, is always so important and the awareness should be spread. But I do hope that you are personally doing better 🖤
    I’m actually currently writing my own mental health/illness discussion & book rec post (yes, i am currently writing all this and my post at 12 am).
    It should be up before the end of May (probs in a couple of days bc i love procrastinating on school to work on anything and everything else), so if you wanna pop on by and join the discussion 😁😉
    I absolutely love all your choices/recs! I am so glad to see that you included SoC on here bc I know a lot of people dismiss the mental health aspect of the characters, which is super upsetting. But I have yet to read Radio Silence (which i have been dying to purchase and read), HIAYLM, Starfish, and We Are Okay.
    Also, I am happy you brought up the ending of EAHM. I know we have discussed this before, along with All The Bright Places *ew* and Made You Up. I have to agree with you because the rep was well done, but Walter, or whatever his name is, really pissed me off lol. I would have loved the book a lot more if the ending didn’t really taint the entire book for me. But as always the rep is more important and Zappia did better with EAHM than Made You Up.
    As always I love this post and just reading what you have to say again. Hope we can talk soon, lovely! 💞🙋‍♀️

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