Mental Health Awareness

Staff PicksShaw/Watha T. Daniel Library

Mental Health Awareness


Mental health issues are a growing concern in the US. These books help explain stress, trauma, the brain’s responses, and the treatment advances occurring in the field. 

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky - Eminently accessible but fully research grounded, Sapolsky compares and contrasts humans to the rest of the animal kingdom and how our brains and societal structures change our stress and stress response and how that leads to long term damage in our bodies. 

The Mind: Leading Scientists Explore the Brain, Memory, Personality, and Happiness by John Brockman - A series of interviews with leading scientists from the 1990s to the early 2000s, this wide ranging volume is informal and accessible for the everyday reader interested in brain and behavior research. 

The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon - Spanning time and geography, this looks at depression from many angles - personal, cultural, scientific, and socioeconomic - to present a much fuller picture of the illness than is normally written. Sometimes stark, The Noonday Demon ends with hope and is recommended for any reader interested in learning more about depression.

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk - Trauma affects a far larger number of people than the general population realizes. This work by a renowned researcher discusses the effects of trauma, the underlying neurobiology, the implications to society of trauma sufferers, and the increased treatment options developed over the last few decades. 

What Happened to You by Bruce Perry - Using Oprah Winfrey’s personal experiences and written in a casual interview style, Perry walks readers through brain biology, physical responses to stress, and how reframing the questions we ask ourselves as we respond to trauma and stress has a deep impact on our ability to heal.