Posted in advice, Helpful information, Monday Mania

Monday Mania #17: Books About Mental Illness

Mental Illness is a common diagnoses in our society.  Almost everyone knows someone related to  or diagnosed with a mental illness, some just aren’t aware of it.  In this post mental illness refers to biological brain disorders that interfere with normal brain chemistry (ex: bipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD and Schizophrenia).  This is opposed to Developmental disorders (ex: autism spectrum disorders & ADHD), which I am posting about next week.  I am addressing them separately because they are different types of disorders. But whatever the diagnoses is, it’s a confusing time for the diagnosed individual and their family.

Mental illnesses are not preventable or curable at this time, but they are treatable.  Below, I have compiled a list of books to help both diagnosed individuals and family members.  This list is far from complete but can provide you with a start.

The books are separated into 3 categories: resources/guides, family/self-help, and memoirs.  The books were placed in a category based on how the information is presented and who wrote it.

* If you are aware of other books that can help please put the book’s title and author in the comment section at the end of the post.*

General Resources

  1. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-IV) by American Psychiatric Association (5/18/2013)
  2. The Essential Guide to Psychiatric Drugs (2007) by J.M. Gorman
  3.  Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome (2001) by N Andreason
  4. The Broken Brain: The Biological Revolution in Psychiatry (1984) by N. Andreason

Family/Self Help

  1. How to Live With a Mentally Ill Person: A Handbook of Day-to-Day Strategies (1996) by C. Adamec
  2. The Caring Family: Living with Chronic Mental Illness (1982) by K. Bernheim, R. Lewine and C. Beale
  3. Calming your Anxious Mind (2007) by J. Brantley
  4. Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About it. (2003) by J.R. DePaulo
  5. What To Do When Someone you Love is Depressed (2007) by M. Golant and S. Golant
  6. More Than Moody: Recognizing and Treating Adolescent Depression (2002) by H. Koplewicz
  7. Planning for The Future: Providing a Meaningful Life for a Child with a Disability (2005) by M.L. Russell
  8. When Madness Comes Home: Help and Hope for the Children, Siblings and Partners of The Mentally Ill (1997) by V. Secunda
  9. When Someone You Love has a Mental Illness: A Handbook for Family, Friends and Caregivers (1992) by R. Woolis


  1. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness (1995) by K.R. Jamison
  2. Hurry Down Sunshine (2008) by M. Greenberg
  3. Is There No Place on Earth For Me? (1982) by S. Sheehan
  4. My Sister’s Keeper: Learning to Cope With a Sibling’s Mental Illness (1992) by M. Moorman

Remember, this list is FAR from complete and I encourage you to look for ones that are ment for the specific diagnose(s) you or your family member received, including children’s books to help younger kids understand what is happening to themselves or their sibling.

Please know that there are a variety of different psychology professionals, groups and organizations at the local and national level out there.  I am personally familiar with my local branch of National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI), and whole-heartedly recommend them as a resource; they offer support, education and other services to diagnosed individuals and family members.  NAMI and other national organizations have websites that allow you to search for services in your area.

If you are aware of other books that can help please put the book’s title and author in the comment section at the end of the post.

** Do not use my list as a substitute for care from a mental health professional(s). I created this list to be used in combination with help from mental health professionals, I want to pass on these resources because I am a family member (and friend) to individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses. **



I was a bibliophile before I learned the alphabet. From an early age I have used books to relieve the pressures of reality. I was I teenager before I appreciated the learning power of books. Now, as an adult, I read books for both learning and relaxation.

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