Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 13-19 May 2019. The theme this year is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.
To celebrate, Team Bookends are sharing some of their favourite books which focus on mental and emotional wellbeing, and aim to empower readers to take control of their bodies and their minds.
Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #BeBodyKind
Lindy West’s Shrill, which has been adapted for television, is about how women are told to be small – physically small, quiet, and small in our presence in the world – and how we shouldn’t accept this. West discusses the obstacles and stereotyping she had to overcome to make herself heard, and tackles subjects including racism, oppression, fat-shaming and rape culture. Full of dark humour, Shrill is a book about how as women we shouldn’t be afraid to take up room.
My choice for Mental Health Week 2019 is The Mind Monster Solution, the brilliant and uplifting book from former elite boxer and cognitive hypnotherapy practitioner Hazel Gale.
Following a career taking on tough opponents in the ring and facing an even tougher adversaries in the form of her own self-sabotage, anxiety and depression, Hazel has created a revolutionary system for tackling negative thought processes. Her book is packed full of practical tips and tools to help manage mental health and improve everyday happiness. Essential reading for anyone tackling a mind monster of their own.
One new voice championing discussions around mental health awareness is actor and Guardian journalist Rhik Samadder. I feel like what Rhik is talking about is particularly on point this year as he unpicks the idea of masculinity and what it means to be a man talking about feelings, anxiety, body image, relationships and depression. His up coming book I Never Said I Loved You reminds me very much of Bryony Gordon’s first mental health memoir – but this time, saying it for the boys! Searingly funny, sharp with comic, everyday (and very relatable) observations but dark, raw and incredibly emotional all at the same time, we’re already getting a massively positive response from the media with big names like Matt Haig and Cathy Retzenbrink leading the charge!
My second pick for Mental Health Week is Amy Morin’s fabulous new book 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do – a timely and positive manual which tackles the thorny issues affecting women’s mental health today, from sexism to social media.
Empowering and accessible, Amy’s book warns against perfectionism and self-comparison and provides techniques to help women of any age own their power, aim high, and reach their goals – perfect for any self-doubters out there!
The Little Girl on the Ice Floe is a remarkable memoir – at a time when we’re seeing a lot of success for novels about surviving childhood abuse, Adelaide Bonn’s unflinching and breathtakingly honest testimony is something very special indeed. It’s not an easy read, but the writer’s skill is to take you into her darkness and yet still show you the light. By writing the unsayable, she reclaims her experience. I am stunned by Bonn’s lyricism, candour and strength, but most of all by the frankness of her testimony paired with the beautiful nature of her writing. I cannot recommend this book enough – it will give you a totally new perspective on mental health and a solidarity with those who suffer.