Mental health is every bit as important as physical health. And yet, all too often, the impact of depression and other mental illnesses is underestimated, and people who struggle with depression are not taken seriously. Fortunately, help is available. It takes many forms, including therapy and other professional treatments. And there are plenty of books that offer ways to improve your life and mental health. Because everyone is different, no depression guidebook will work as a one-size-fits-all solution. So take a moment to learn about the books spotlighted in this article and see which one might fit you best.
If you prefer not to treat your depression with drugs, or if drugs just don't work for you, try Dr. Stephen Ilardi's The Depression Cure. This book recommends six lifestyle changes that can help you feel better in both body and mind. While the changes themselves are necessary and important, the way you implement them is up to you. For example, exercise is important, but you decide what type of exercise you do, and whether or not you want to exercise with others. It's all about finding what works for you.
If you are a Black person with a mental illness, you must fight not only the demons in your own mind, but also a healthcare system that too often dismisses your suffering. Dr. Rheeda Walker's The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health teaches you how to be your own advocate, to understand the harmful effects of racism on emotional health, and to deal with everyday stressors in healthy ways.
by Joyce Meyer
For a Christian-based approach to depression treatment, Straight Talk on Depression is the self-help book for you. It teaches that you already have the tools to cope with the bad things in life. All you need is the guidance provided by author Joyce Meyer and the faith that Christ will help you. The book also includes quotes from scriptures that will give you strength as you work to overcome your depression.
Getting help can be complicated. How do you detach yourself from toxic relationships that are making your mental health worse? What's the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist? (Is there one?) What do you do if therapy isn't working? For anyone who thinks they might need help but isn't sure where to start, author Kati Morton, who is both a licensed therapist and a popular YouTuber, provides gentle but straightforward answers to these questions and many others.
by Deborah Mitchell
Depression is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Getting them back in balance is easier said than done, but Dr. Michael B. Schachter has found one solution. He takes a holistic approach to treating depression called orthomolecular psychiatry. As he explains, this method involves acknowledging that mental health is connected to physical health and making lifestyle choices that will change your brain chemistry for the better.
by Valerie Davis Raskin, MD
Having a baby is often advertised as a transformative, joyous experience. But postpartum depression is very common, affecting at least one in seven people who give birth. This Isn't What I Expected helps sufferers understand what postpartum depression is (and what it isn't), how to get the support you need, and how to be kind to yourself as you walk the road to recovery.
Dior Vargas; Dugud Lab (By (photographer))
People of all races can suffer from mental illness, but people of color are too often left out of the mental health conversation. The Color of My Mind features photographs of and quotes from people of color who struggle not only with mental illness, but with finding good mental health care. On a brighter note, the interviewees share treatment methods that have worked for them and positive lessons they took away from their struggles.
Edited by Amy Ferris
Sometimes, just knowing that you are not alone can help you feel better. The stories in Shades of Blue were written by over 30 writers, all of whom have had personal experience depression, suicide, drug use, and other mental health issues. Their stark, honest, but ultimately hopeful tales show that it is possible to live with and recover from mental illness. You might not find the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel," but you can live a happy and fulfilling life even with your depression.
When you are depressed, it is easy to get bogged down by obsessive, troubling thoughts. Dr. Alexander Lloyd has developed a process called memory re-engineering that can help you reassess bad memories and the negative emotions associated with them. This can help you improve your mood, make positive lifestyle changes, and much more.
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Eileen Gonzalez is a freelance writer from Connecticut. She has a Master’s degree in communications and years of experience writing about pop culture. She contributes to Book Riot and Foreword Reviews, and she occasionally tweets at @eileen2thestars.