If you have depression, know someone who does, or want to learn more about it, these books can help. People who work as therapists told us which ones they thought were the best. We then chose a few that our own health editors thought were good, too. You’ll find novels, self-help books and memoirs on this list, as well as poetry and comics. There is something for everyone on this list.
As well, remember that you’re not alone. COVID-19 has made life more difficult for everyone, but especially for people who have a mental illness. If you want to learn more about depression, go to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
MICHAEL I. BENNETT, M.D. AND SARAH BENNETT
If you are a licensed psychologist like Kate Balestrieri, Psy.D., you will love this book because it is written in a casual, snarky tone that most people can identify with. They show the reader how to become more resilient, no matter what bitter pills life throws at them.
Don’t be afraid of the word “poems” on the cover. This book is full of poems. When she goes to work every day, Poloma feels like a fake because of the depression that is hidden inside. This is a story about a woman called Poloma. It’s written in the style of poetry, but it’s also very easy to read as a story.
The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
“If a person enjoys novels, I love this book for more of a storytelling approach,” says Laura Rhodes-Levin, L.M.F.T., founder of The Missing Peace Center for Anxiety in Los Angeles. Solomon talks about mental illness from his own experience in this National Book Award winner. He also talks about science and history to give a more complete picture of depression.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
For people who like young-adult books, this one tells the story of a New York City teen who can’t keep up with his friends. His anxiety and depression make it hard for him to handle the stress of getting good grades, going to the best schools, and getting a good job.
Reasons to Stay Alive
People who have depression or who care for someone who does are going to find this book very inspirational and helpful. It’s written by Vinay Saranga, a psychiatrist and the founder of the Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry. “The author talks about his darkest days and how he turned it all around in his own words. It’s real, heartfelt, and full of hope.”
Depression Hates a Moving Target
He is 49 years old, has been depressed for a long time, and doesn’t run. Sweeney has lost all hope. That’s when she takes a chance on jogging and starts to see how exercise can change her life for the better. In this memoir, she talks about how running helped her get back in control of her mental health.
Rhodes-Levin: “I found this book to be very easy to read, with a lot of good advice about how to deal with depression.” As he was talking on national TV, Harris started to have a panic attack. He realized that he had to figure out what was going on with his body and mind so that he could get back in control.
Body Full of Stars
MOLLY CARO MAY
If you or someone you care about is having problems with postpartum depression, pick up this book. It can help. After the birth of her child, the author felt isolated. This made her realize that society doesn’t pay much attention to the mental burdens that new moms face.
Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope
Hari makes a strong case that being disconnected from nature, security, one’s values, and so on is the root of depression and despair, says Balestrieri. “The need for reconnection is described in this book, and it gives the reader important tips on how to find meaning, purpose, and community as a collective antidote to hopelessness, dejection, and depression.”
The Crying Book
After a friend died by suicide, Christle grappled with her own dark emotions and began to research crying—why we cry and what it means to us as a society. When she wrote this book, she used both science and first-person experience.
The Depression Cure
STEPHEN S. ILARDI, PH.D.
As a doctor, Dr. Saranga likes this book because it brings us back to our roots. “It shows how to relieve depression and keep the body and mind at their best. It really drives home the point that our bodies were not meant to be able to live the way modern society wants them to.”
My Path to Happy
This is a good book to read if you want something light. It became a habit for Reed to post a positive thought on Facebook every day while she was going through her own depression. In this case, Reed’s own drawings make the whole thing even more beautiful.
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
DAVID D. BURNS, M.D
It has something for everyone, says Dr. Saranga, the doctor. “There are a lot of mental health issues that can be hard for people to deal with, and this book has great ways to deal with them. Having a personal therapist is about as close as you can get to having one of your own”
Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America
This book, which was written in 1994, talks about a generation that is addicted to prescription drugs to treat a variety of mental health problems. Along the way, Wurtzel talks about her own problems with depression.
Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve
A lot of great things can be done at home, at work, or just about anywhere in this book to help people regulate their nervous system and get back to feeling more regulated, says Balestrieri. Rosenberg talks about these tools in the book. In his easy-to-read and understand explanations, he makes the experience of heavy emotions less mysterious and gives the reader options for self-soothing right away, making it easier to deal with the emotions.