Mental health is deeply personal, and it’s been depicted across songs, TV, films and, of course, books. We know that mental health can take shape in many different forms, whether through addiction or body trauma. Selected by wellness expert Meghan Yuri Young, these six reads offer insight, understanding and education on different mental health topics. For more from Meghan Yuri Young, check out her TikTok video for Slice.ca.
Related: Mental health awareness: 10 terms you need to drop from your vocab.
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
This book has long been lauded as the definitive novel on comprehending addiction. In it, writer and physician Gabor Maté examines different types of addictions while explaining the factors that contribute to different peoples’ susceptibility. He weaves together stories from his patients who have struggled with drug addiction and uses their journeys to illustrate the powerful ways in which addiction operates, while also leaving readers empowered knowing more about these diseases.
Related: Best self-help books in 2021: here’s what’s on our reading list.
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
Many of us have experienced trauma, or felt the emotional impact of knowing someone who has. This book explores how the brain operates by drawing on author and psychiatrist Bessel Van Der Kolk’s own neuroscientific research, and looks at how our brains become disconnected from the bodies after a traumatic experience. It also offers insight into different processes around healing and treatment.
Related: The best books on empowerment, diversity and being a decent human being for kids.
A Mind Spread Out on the Ground
Haudenosaunee writer Alicia Elliot does not shy away from diving into the devastating ongoing impact of colonization and the subsequent intergenerational trauma felt by native peoples across North America. She peels back the layers on how systemic oppression has informed her own life by connecting her stories to larger issues of the racism within the healthcare system, the stigma around poverty and mental illness, and more.
Related: 10 young indigenous women leading the way for the next generation.
You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, And The Black Experience
Tarana Burke, leader of the #MeToo movement, and professor Brené Brown teamed up on this essay collection featuring stories from Black artists, creators and academics that explore the impact of white supremacy. Each piece challenges the idea of resilience and what it means to live without shame.
Related: 10 Black Canadians who played a big role in Canadian history.
The Queer and Transgender Resilience Workbook
The world can be an incredibly discriminatory and unjust place, especially when you’re queer or trans. This book by Anneliese Singh is a guide to unpacking internalized negativity while teaching the skills you need to thrive and love your true self. There are tips on how to cope with stress, develop self-esteem and more.
Related: Improve your self-talk: 8 ways to stop negative language and be kind to yourself.
The Courage to Be Disliked: How to Free Yourself, Change your Life and Achieve Real Happiness
Though not all of us will admit it, we care about whether other people like us or not. But we also know that constantly worrying about how we are perceived is time-consuming, stressful and just plainly, not fun. Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga explore how we can be happy while putting the expectations of others and ourselves behind us.
Related: 10 tips for coping with social anxiety.