10 Brilliant Books to Help You Understand Mental Health Better


1. When The Body Says No, The Cost of Hidden Stress by Gabor Mate

This book helps the reader to understand how stress and trauma in life can lead to physical illness. He uses case studies to illustrate how the repression of emotions can impact our health and gives strategies for ways to manage life more effectively. Available from Amazon.

2. Brainstorm, The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Dan Siegel

Dan Siegal (author of Parenting from the Inside Out and The Whole-Brain Child) shows parents how to turn one of the most challenging, developmental periods in children’s lives into one of the most rewarding. It is an incredibly positive read which outlines ways that parents and teens can turn conflict into connection by forming a deeper understanding of one another. Available from Amazon.

3. Aware by Dan Siegel

Aware introduces readers to the Wheel of Awareness, a life-changing tool for cultivating more focus, presence and peace in one’s day to day life. He reveals how developing a Wheel of Awareness practice to focus attention, open awareness and cultivate kind attention can literally help you grow a healthier brain and reduce fear, anxiety and stress in your life. Available from Amazon.

4. Lost Connections by Johann Hari

Johann Hari’s book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Consequences springs from his own experience of depression, but is rooted in three years of research. Age 18, Hari was put on anti -depressants by his GP but he says the question that should have been asked by that doctor, and by all the people treating those with depression and anxiety, is this: is there any reason that you might feel this way?” Hari believes that in many cases, it is not the individuals who are sick but the circumstances of their lives. “ you’re not a machine with broken parts, you’re a person with unmet needs. It’s a sign that something is wrong in your life, not in you.” Available from Amazon.

5. Raising Girls by Stephen Biddulph

A practical guide and passionate call to arms which aims to empower parents of girls to raise confident and well rounded daughters. Biddulph teaches parents how to build their daughters self awareness, encourage friendships and equip them to learn and believe in themselves. Available from Amazon.

6. Raising Boys by Stephen Biddulph

The author gives practical and honest advice to parents so they can recognise the different stages of boyhood and learn how to raise happy, confident and kind young men. He outlines how boys need to be parented in a different way from girls and have their own very special psychological and physical make-up. Available from Amazon.

7. How Not to Lose It by Anna Williamson

This is a go to mental guide for young people which teaches them practical strategies for dealing with issues such as exam stress, friendship problems and panic attacks. It explains how it’s not just your body that should be fit and healthy but your mind needs to be, too. Available from Amazon.  

8. Trauma Essentials by Babette Rothschild

This is a clearly written and accessible book which covers the psychological effects of traumatising experiences and describes several treatment options. Available from Amazon.

9. The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert

This is a fantastic book which gives advice on how to develop self-kindness, self-compassion, self-confidence, better relationships and good mental health. It suggests a range of exercises to help readers address self- punishing behaviours and overcome negative brain patterns. Available from Amazon.

10. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant

This is a very simple book with a very simple message – to love yourself like your life depends on it. The author doesn’t claim to be a life changing guru, he simply shares the wisdom and experience that helped him move from a very depressed place into a much happier and satisfying place. Available from Amazon.



TeenMatters is a counselling and coaching practice for children, teens, parents and adults. Based in South West London, we offer counselling in Twickenham, Richmond and Kew.