Common mental health challenges & disorders [books]

What is a mental health challenge?

A mental health disorder is a health condition that changes how a person thinks, feels or acts and causes difficulty in the way he or she lives their life. Signs and symptoms range from mild to severe.

When should you be concerned?

When these symptoms last more than 2 weeks and interfere with daily life, it is important to seek professional help.

Common mental health disorders:

Learn more about each of these disorders on

Helpful books...

Where to Start: A Survival Guide to Anxiety, Depression, and Other Mental Health Challenges
Are you looking for some direction and unsure where to start your mental health journey?
by Mental Health America  view

You Are Not Alone: The NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Health―With Advice from Experts and Wisdom from Real People and Families By by Ken Duckworth MD view

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook
By Edmund J. Bourne  view

Anxiety Relief For Teens
By Regine Galanti PhD  view

Mental Health for the Whole Child: Moving Young Clients from Disease & Disorder to Balance & Wellness
By Scott M. Shannon

The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls from Today's Pressures and Conflicting Expectations
By Stephen Hinshaw & Rachel Kranz

The Disappearing Girl: Learning the Language of Teenage Depression
By Lisa Machoian

An Unquiet Mind
By Kay Redfield Jamison

CBT Strategies for Anxious and Depressed Children and Adolescents: A Clinician's Toolkit
By Eduardo L. Bunge PhD, Javier Mandil, Andrés J. Consoli PhD, Martín Gomar Lic

Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder
By Paul Mason

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide
By Kay Redfield Jamison

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
By Andrew Solomon

The Parent Handbook on Childhood and Adolescent Depression (Free PDF)
By Erika's Lighthouse

I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help!
How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment.
By Xavier Amador

Reading List suggestion from Hiding In Plain Sight PBS screening

  • The Age of Anxiety by W.H. Auden
  • Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the
  • Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker
  • Building Happier Kids by Hansa Bharghava, MD, FAAP
  • The Center Cannot Hold, My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks
  • Children and Childhood in Western Society Since 1500 by Hugh Cunningham
  • A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction by Patrick Kennedy and Stephen Fried
  • Darkness Visible by William Styron
  • David’s Inferno, My Journey through the Dark Woods of Depression by David Blistein
  • Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health by Thomas Insel
  • The History of Childhood by James Marten
  • I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Hannah Green
  • January First by Michael Schofield
  • Lost Connections by Johann Hari
  • The Mad Among Us, A History of the Care of America’s Mentally Ill by Gerald N. Grob
  • Madhouse, A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine by Andrew Scull
  • Madness in Civilization by Andrew Scull
  • Mental Health in America: A Reference Handbook by Donna Kemp
  • Mental Illness by Victoria Sherrow
  • Mind Fixers, Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for The Biology of Mental Illness by Anne Harrington
  • Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story by Jewel
  • Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction by Judith Grisel
  • Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison
  • The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon
  • No One Cares About Crazy People by Ron Powers
  • Psyche On The Skin, A History of Self-Harm by Sarah Chaney
  • Psychiatry and Its Discontents by Andrew Scull
  • Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It by Jennifer Michael Hecht
  • Social (In)justice and Mental Health Edited by Ruth S Shim, MD, MPH and Sarah Y. Vinson, MD, EDS Q The Teenage Brain by Frances Jensen
  • Ten Days in A Mad-House by Nellie Bly
  • An Unquiet Mind, A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison
  • You Are Not Alone by Kenneth Duckworth, MD
  • Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, Stretch It, Shape It by JoAnn Deak, PhD & Sarah Ackerly

Additional resources for understanding mental health challenges...

  • Go Ask Alice
    Site is supported by a team of Columbia University health promotion specialists, health care providers, and other health professionals, along with a staff of information and research specialists and writers. Our team members have advanced degrees in public health, health education, medicine, counseling, and a number of other relevant fields.
  • Smarter Sex
    Confidential, mail-in testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Love is Respect
    Highly-trained advocates offer support, information and advocacy to young people who have questions or concerns about their dating relationships. Free and confidential phone, live chat and texting services are available 24/7/365.