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13 Books To Read That Will Help You Understand Mental Health

The world of mental health is a controversial and emotional one. Here are 13 books that will help you understand it a little better.

#1 Keep Pain in the Past by Chris Cortman

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Contrary to what many people believe, we can recover from emotional trauma relatively quickly and completely on our own. Whether it's extreme trauma such as sexual abuse or the horrors of war or less dramatic, but psychologically speaking just as serious wounds involving shame and guilt, we don't need to spend years in intensive therapy to recover. 

While most people know what they can do on their own to treat physical ills―like using ice on a muscle sprain―they don't realize that they can apply certain psychological principles to treat anxiety, depression and many other conditions from the comfort of their own homes. Keep Pain in the Past will teach you the critical 21st century skill of treating psychological wounds on your own. 

Discover how Sheri, a 37-year-old attorney, recovered from panic attacks that seemed to come out of nowhere. Follow the journey of Mark, a 29-year-old Army veteran who experienced the horror of war in Afghanistan, as he healed from the downward spiral that had caused him to lose his job and become increasingly uncommunicative with his family. 

Explore how Melinda, a 42-year-old professor who struggled to sustain a romantic relationship, confronted her torturous childhood and has now found love that is still going strong after three years. Keep Pain in the Past achieves what conventional therapy does not. This book will help you confront the emotional baggage of your past, reach closure by completing the event, and finally discover a life unhaunted by past trauma. 

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Brenda Knight from Mango Media

  1. Dr. Cortman’s latest book gives amazing insight on how we all have the ability to put our pasts behind us once and for all. The book goes on top of the “Must Read” pile!

#2 Stop Anxiety from Stopping You by Helen Odessky

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Our pace of life has increased exponentially in the last few decades. When signs of anxiety and panic appear, they ravage our lives, our dreams and our spirit. But it is now possible to stop anxiety from stopping us in our tracks. In Stop Anxiety from Stopping You, Dr. Helen Odessky helps us understand the process of anxiety--and how to arm ourselves with strategies that work. 

Dr. Odessky draws on her fifteen years of clinical experience to guide us through the process of not only learning how to overcome anxiety, but also how to enrich our lives. This book will show you how to stop anxiety and how to stop panic attacks in an easy-to-implement six-step framework. You will learn about the signs of anxiety and how to overcome them, methods to stopping panic attacks, and ways to treat anxiety. 

Dr. Odessky's compelling and optimistic guide will help you move from a position of difficulty to one of hope. 

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Brenda Knight from Mango Media

#3 Dead Serious: Breaking the Cycle of Teen Suicide

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To say that Dead Serious is important in today's world is a major understatement. The suicide rate among teens in the U.S. is climbing, and we can all do our part to raise awareness and start a productive dialogue. 

Jane Mersky Leder writes with authority, sensitivity and unwavering passion. This book is an essential read for teens, parents and educators all over the world who want to understand mental health. 

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Contributor: Sara Wigal from JKS Communications

#4 The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey

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Self-doubt is at the centre of the majority of mental health conditions. You feel detached from the normal workings of society. It sounds odd to recommend a book of tennis to understand mental health, and it would, but this book is much more than just tennis. 

The Inner Game of Tennis walks you through what goes on inside the mind of peak performers when doubt strikes. It is practical, to the point and the best book out there to truly understand from and not learn about mental health.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Ignacio Perez de Bartolome from Sai.Coach

#5 #Chill: Turn Off Your Job and Turn On Your Life

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Many of us have been taught that working productively and nearly without ceasing is a show of our dedication to work. Skipping out on vacation days and not taking sick days to complete all of our tasks and go above and beyond isn't just making ourselves invaluable employees or pushing our companies to the limit--for many it is a sign of work addiction, a relationship-squashing, debilitating disease similar to other addictions, but not often recognized until recent years. 

Dr. Bryan E. Robinson's focus is on helping perfectionists find work/life balance through mindfulness based exercises that help them to understand why and how they became addicted to work, and what they need to do to change. In #CHILL Turn Off Your Job and Turn On Your Life Robinson asks readers to discover how to BE and not just always focus on DOing. 

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Sara Wigal from JKS Communications

#6 Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

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This book is a vivid first-person account of the experience of depression. Beyond understanding the symptoms, causes, and effects of depression, this book with great eloquence helps you to understand what it's like to go through it. Reading it will change your perspective on this all-too-common affliction. 

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Contributor: Raffi Bilek from Baltimore Therapy Center

#7 Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl

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The author had a difficult childhood. She battled anorexia, bulimia, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder. She writes an honest and somewhat funny story of her struggles and the mental health care system.

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Contributor: Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

#8 The Man Who Couldn’t Stop by David Adam

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This book explains how OCD starts and plagues one’s life. He explains how his mind wasn’t his own and it was constantly filled with intrusive thoughts that he couldn’t shake off. 

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Contributor: Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

#9 Trauma and Recovery by Judith L. Herman

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This book will teach you about PTSD caused by domestic violence, combat, and political terror. It’s filled with victim’s true stories in their own words. A must-read for anyone who wants to learn about the psychological effects of trauma. 

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Contributor: Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

#10 The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce D. Perry

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This book includes various case studies by child psychologist Bruce Perry and his work on the study of trauma. Great read to get a view on just how important the first few years of life are for us and how various forms of trauma can impact our brains and individuals later in life.

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Contributor: Susan Youngsteadt, Family Centered Treatment Clinician

#11 How to Survive the Loss of a Parent by Lois F. Akner

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Great book for anyone who has lost a parent or will be losing a parent soon. I lost both of my parents by the age of 25 and found a lot of comfort in understanding my grief through this book.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Susan Youngsteadt, Family Centered Treatment Clinician

#12 I Hate You–Don’t Leave Me by Jerold J. Kreisman

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This book focuses on understanding borderline personality disorder or BPD. We also suggest it for parents of adoptive children who may have not developed a solid bond yet or to better understand the impact of trauma on children.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributor: Susan Youngsteadt, Family Centered Treatment Clinician

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Written by Taegan Lion