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Reading Well for mental health

Written by · Published Jun 6, 2018

The Sleep Book, A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled, Life After Bereavement

The Reading Agency and Society of Chief Librarians have released a new list of Reading Well books for people with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, OCD and eating disorders.

The scheme aims to help library users understand and manage their mental health.

Common feelings and experiences

Stress Control: a mind, body, life approach to boosting your wellbeing, by Jim White

“Stress is part and parcel of life. We all get it. Think of blood pressure. If you are alive, you have blood pressure. If you are alive, you have stress. If your blood pressure gets too high, you should do something about it. The same is true with stress and this book will help you to control it.

“Stress can be a mixture of anxiety, depression, panic feelings, poor sleep, low self-confidence, low self-esteem and a poor sense of wellbeing. It is one of the most common problems in the world today. But controlling your stress doesn’t have to mean expensive therapy or a long waiting list for a referral to a service. This book will teach you to become your own therapist.”

The Sleep Book: how to sleep well every night, by Guy Meadows

“Supported by case studies, background information, exercises, key summaries and client testimonials, and enhanced with illustrations and visual aids, The Sleep Book teaches a revolutionary new method for combating insomnia.”

Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness, 2nd Edition: a self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques, by Gillian Butler

“In this fully revised and updated edition, Dr Gillian Butler provides a practical, easy-to-use self-help course which will be invaluable for those suffering from all degrees of social anxiety.”

Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, 2nd Edition: a self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques, by Melanie Fennell

“Melanie Fennell’s acclaimed and bestselling self-help guide will help you to understand your low self-esteem and break out of the vicious circle of distress, unhelpful behaviour and self-destructive thinking. Using practical techniques from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), this text will help you learn the art of self-acceptance and so transform your sense of yourself for the better.”

The Essential Guide to Life After Bereavement: beyond tomorrow, by Judy Carole Kauffmann & Mary Jordan

“The period following the death of a loved one can be a time of great turmoil. This book acts as a helpful and supportive road map through the initial period of loss, and through the weeks and months that follow.”

Grief Works: stories of life, death and surviving, by Julia Samuel

“Death is the last taboo in our society, and grief is still profoundly misunderstood. So many of us feel awkward and uncertain around death, and shy away from talking honestly with family and friends.

Grief Works is a compassionate guide that will inform and engage anyone who is grieving, from the ‘expected’ death of a parent to the sudden unexpected death of a small child, and provide clear advice for those seeking to comfort the bereaved.

“With deeply moving case studies of real people’s stories of loss, and brilliantly accessible and practical advice, it will be passed down through generations as the definitive guide for anyone who has lost a loved one, and revolutionise the way we talk about life, loss and death.”

An Introduction to Coping with Grief, Second Edition, by Sue Morris

“Grief is a natural reaction to loss, but in some cases it can be devastating, preventing the bereaved from moving on with their life and affecting their relationships and work. This self-help guide offers an examination and explanation of the grieving process and offers strategies to help someone adjust to life without a loved one.”

Overcoming Anger and Irritability, 2nd Edition: a self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques, by William Davies

“This self-help manual is for those who find that they are spoiling the lives of both themselves and those around them with their irritability and bad temper. It helps sufferers understand why bouts of anger occur, and what can be done to overcome them.”

Other common conditions

The Compassionate Mind Approach to Postnatal Depression: using compassion focused therapy to enhance mood, confidence and bonding, by Michelle Cree

“It is well-known that having a baby can be a time of joy but also one of anxiety and even depression for new mothers. Indeed it is very common for new mothers to experience a short period of distress following childbirth, often referred to as ‘baby blues’. Usually this passes quite quickly, however for more than 1 in 10 women, this distressing experience can be more prolonged.

“This practical self-help book helps women to recognise some of the symptoms and, where appropriate, to normalise them, thereby alleviating their distress.”

Defeating Depression: how to use the people in your life to open the door to recovery, by Roslyn Law

“This ground-breaking new self-help book is based on interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), a therapeutic approach being adopted by the government’s nationwide Improved Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, alongside cognitive behavioural therapy.”

Overcoming Mood Swings: a self-help guide using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques, by Jan Scott

“This self-help manual for those who have experienced mood swings gives details on tried and tested techniques that will help people identify and manage their moods more effectively. Background information on depression and mania is also provided.”

Body Image Problems and Body Dysmorphic Disorder: the definitive treatment and recovery approach, by Chloe Catchpole, Annemarie O’Connor & Lauren Callaghan

“From the heart and soul of mental health sufferer Chloe Catchpole, and the expert minds of the talented clinical psychologists Lauren Callaghan and Dr. Annemarie O’Connor, this book is divided into two helpful, cohesive parts. Detailed from the separate perspectives of a sufferer and the psychologists is an insight into mental health recovery that sufferers can really relate to.”

Getting Better Bite by Bite: a survival kit for sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders, by Ulrike Schmidt, Janet Treasure & June Alexander

“This self-help programme, which has been evaluated in a randomised controlled trial, provides detailed step-by-step advice for dealing with eating difficulties.”

Self-help books

Break Free from OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT, by Fiona Challacombe, Victoria Bream Oldfield & Paul M. Salkovskis

“Are you plagued by obsessive thoughts, rituals or routines? Would you like to regain control over your behaviour and cast your fears aside? This practical guide, written by three leading cognitive behavioural therapy experts, enables you to make sense of your symptoms, and gives a simple plan to help you conquer OCD.”

The Sheldon Short Guide to Phobias and Panic, by Professor Kevin Gournay

“This book looks at how to tackle both specific phobias and the anxiety which causes such disproportionate fear, and covers obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety state, and panic disorder with agoraphobia.”

Overcoming Panic, 2nd Edition: a self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques, by Vijaya Manicavasagar & Derrick Silove

“Panic attacks are recognised as one of the most serious forms of anxiety, and can become disabling. This guide explains both the physical and emotional symptoms, the common causes of this ‘fear of fear’, and how to master anxiety management techniques.”

Overcoming Worry and Generalised Anxiety Disorder, 2nd Edition: a self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques, by Mark Freeston & Kevin Meares

“Up to 44 in every 1000 adults suffer from a condition known as generalised anxiety disorder. This is much more than the normal worrying we all do - it can be a debilitating disorder leading to significant personal and social problems and sometimes financial loss.

“Using established and proven CBT techniques, expert clinicians Kevin Meares and Mark Freeston help readers to understand that it is their propensity to worry, not the multitude of problems they worry about, that is the root of the problem.”

Overcoming Health Anxiety: a self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques, by David Veale & Rob Willson

A bestselling title that uses CBT techniques to help you overcome chronic anxieties about your health.

Overcoming Anxiety, 2nd Edition: a self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques, by Helen Kennerley

“This book offers expert advice on managing the worries, fears and anxieties that can impair the quality of one’s life. Each problem is discussed and explained, and there is a self-help guide for those who wish to tackle their difficulties alone.”

An Introduction to Coping with Anxiety, Second Edition, by Lee Brosan & Brenda Hogan

“Written by experienced practitioners, this title explains what anxiety is and how it makes you feel when it becomes unmanageable or lasts for long periods of time. It will help the reader to understand their symptoms and is ideal as an immediate coping strategy and as a preliminary to fuller therapy.”

Overcoming Depression, 3rd Edition: a self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques, by Paul Gilbert

“This book provides a guide to recovering from sadness, loss and depression. It explains how the mind and body interact and how our thinking affects our brains. Case histories are used to show how others have overcome their problems.”

Manage Your Mood: how to use Behavioural Activation techniques to overcome depression, by David Veale & Rob Willson

An accessible introduction to Behavioural Activation – a CBT technique that can help you overcome your depression and other problems.

An Introduction to Coping with Depression, Second Edition, by Lee Brosan & Brenda Hogan

“Depression affects thousands of people in the UK. Written by experienced practitioners, this book explains what depression is and how it makes you feel. It will help the reader to understand their symptoms and is ideal as an immediate coping strategy and as a preliminary to fuller therapy.”

Mind Over Mood, Second Edition: change how you feel by changing the way you think, by Dennis Greenberger & Christine A. Padesky

“Written by two clinical psychologists, this manual shows you how to improve your life using cognitive therapy. Step-by-step worksheets teach you specific skills that have helped thousands of people conquer depression, panic attacks, anxiety, anger, guilt, and relationship problems.”

The CBT Handbook: a comprehensive guide to using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to overcome depression, anxiety and anger, by Pamela Myles & Roz Shafran

“CBT is widely recommended nowadays in the NHS for the treatment of emotional and psychological problems, such as depression, low self-esteem, low mood, chronic anxiety, stress or out-of-control anger. This thorough yet easy-to-read general self-help guide is a must-have for anyone experiencing these common problems.”

Living Life to the Full: key life skills to change your life, by Christopher Williams

“Wanting to feel happier, find time for you, overcome problems and keep calm in the face of difficulty? This book teaches you powerful wellbeing strategies based on the tried and trusted cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approach.”

Therapies and approaches

Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world, by Mark Williams & Danny Penman

Mindfulness reveals the secrets of lifelong happiness and details a unique programme developed by Oxford University psychologist Professor Mark Williams with colleagues around the world.”

Includes a CD.

Introducing Cognitive Behavioural Therapyt (CBT): a practical guide, by Elaine Iljon Foreman & Clair Pollard

“Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a branch of therapy widely regarded as effective in curing or alleviating numerous disorders, from anorexia to post-traumatic stress disorder. This book focuses on how you can use CBT’s measured and results-driven approach to improve your life.”

Personal stories

The Boy with the Topknot: a memoir of love, secrets and lies in Wolverhampton, by Sathnam Sanghera

“This is a hilarious and heart-rending reinvention of the modern British memoir.

“For Sathnam Sanghera, growing up in Wolverhampton in the eighties was a confusing business. On the one hand, these were the heady days of George Michael mix-tapes, Dallas on TV and, if he was lucky, the occasional Bounty bar. On the other, there was his wardrobe of tartan smocks, his 30p-an-hour job at the local sewing factory and the ongoing challenge of how to tie the perfect top-knot. And then there was his family, whose strange and often difficult behaviour he took for granted until, at the age of twenty-four, Sathnam made a discovery that changed everything he ever thought he knew about them.

“Equipped with breathtaking courage and a glorious sense of humour, he embarks on a journey into their extraordinary past trying to make sense of a life lived among secrets.”

I Had a Black Dog, by Matthew Johnstone

“It was Winston Churchill who popularised the phrase Black Dog to describe the bouts of depression he experienced for much of his life. Johnstone, a sufferer himself, has written this moving and uplifting insight into what it is like to have a Black Dog as a companion and how he learned to tame it and bring it to heel.”

Living with a Black Dog, by Matthew & Ainsley Johnstone

“A touching and beautifully illustrated book, written for those who care for those suffering from depression.”

We’re All Mad Here: the no-nonsense guide to living with social anxiety, by Claire Eastham & Natasha Devon

“Claire Eastham, a twenty-something living in London and working in her dream job, has a seemingly perfect life - except for her social anxiety.

“Combining honest personal insights, humour and practical advice, this book explains what anxiety is, why it happens, and how to survive it.”

The Recovery Letters: addressed to people experiencing depression, by Olivia Sagan, James Withey & Tom Couser

“An anthology of inspirational, heartfelt letters written by people who have recovered or are recovering from depression and addressed to those who are currently affected by it with additional resources for recovery.”

A Manual for Heartache: how to feel better, by Cathy Rentzenbrink

“When Cathy Rentzenbrink was still a teenager, her happy family was torn apart by an unthinkable tragedy. In A Manual for Heartache she describes how she learnt to live with grief and loss and find joy in the world again. She explores how to cope with life at its most difficult and overwhelming and how we can emerge from suffering forever changed, but filled with hope.”

Reasons to Stay Alive, by Matt Haig

“Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.”

A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled, by Ruby Wax

“500 years ago no-one died of stress: we have invented this concept and now we let it rule us. Rest has become a dirty word, and our idea of satisfaction is answering the last email. We’re sleepwalking through our own lives. Ruby Wax shows us how to wake up from this stupor with a scientific solution to modern problems: mindfulness.

“Outrageously witty, smart and accessible, Ruby Wax shows ordinary people how and why to change for good.”

Alice Violett

Alice Violett

I write and edit content for the Suffolk Libraries website. Visit my website.