Reading can be a great form of self-care, and there are a wide range of books available on various mental health topics. If you are interested in exploring or understanding your mental health further, please see a list of books compiled by University of Exeter Wellbeing Service staff below.
Our selection is not intended to be the final word. We are sure there are many other good and helpful books out there; in any case we recognise that what is helpful is very subjective and depends on personal circumstance.
Wellbeing Services also have a range of books available for loan from the Reed Mews Wellbeing Centre. If you would like more information, please visit our reception or email email@example.com
Additionally, the Library's Wellbeing & Leisure Collection has a Reading for Health and Wellbeing selection, which covers books recommended by us and the Reading Agency's Reading Well (Books on Prescription). These books are available in print and some are available online. This is a great resource, which you can learn more about here.
The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World by Haemin Sunim
"This is a beautiful book, both in its written and pictoral sense. Written by a South Korean Buddhist monk, this book focuses on a mindful approach to situations and issues that affect us all in life. What I love most about the book is how it is really easy to pick up and just read a couple of short paragraphs and then put it back down, perfect when it is really difficult to concentrate for too long. I like to keep this book easy to hand as it can help to offer some perspective when you might be ruminating over things in your head, as we all do."
Emily Scrace, Mental Health Advisor
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
"Matt Haig is an author who at the age of 24 experienced significant depression out of the blue. This book is Matts personal account about how he came through this crisis and learnt to live and love better and feel more alive. It is written in a matter of fact way, with humour, that resonates deeply with others. It is helpful if you experience these difficulties yourself or wish to understand what a loved one/friend is going through."
Jo Blakely, Mental Health Advisor
The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-True Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind and Soul by William Stieghart
"Sometimes we need a poem to speak to us, and stop us feeling alone. This collection of poems offers comfort for all of life’s wellbeing complexities such as loneliness, heartbreak, lack of courage, fear etc. It provides comfort, inspiration, solace, and a realisation that we are not alone."
Jo Blakely, Mental Health Advisor
- Overcoming Anger and Irritability by William Davies
- Overcoming Worry and Generalised Anxiety Disorder: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques by Meares and Freeston
- The Worry Cure: Stop worrying and start living by Leahy
- Overcoming Health Anxiety: A self-help guide using congitive behavioural techniques by Willson and Veale
- Overcoming Anxiety by Kennerley
- Beating Your Eating Disorder: A Cognitive Behavioural Self-Help Guide for Adult Sufferers and Their Carers by Waller and others
- Bulimia Nervosa & Binge Eating – A Guide to Recovery by Cooper
- Overcoming bulimia nervosa and binge-eating : a self-help guide using cognitive behavioral techniques By Peter J. Cooper (2009) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb2636544
- Getting better bit(e) by bit(e) : a survival kit for sufferers of bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorders By Ulrike Schmidt and Janet Treasure (2005) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3680076
- Overcoming body image disturbance: a programme for people with eating disorders by L. Bell & J. Rushforth (2008) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1828246
- The invisible man: a self-help guide for men with eating disorders, compulsive exercise and bigorexia By John F. Morgan (2008) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1825920
- Anorexia nervosa : a recovery guide for sufferers, families, and friends By Janet Treasure and June Alexander (2013) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb2595013
- Anorexia nervosa : a survival guide for families, friends and sufferers By Janet Treasure (1997) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1180248
- Fat is a feminist issue: the anti-diet guide for women plus Fat is a feminist issue II By Susie Orbach (2006) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3751364
- Anorexia nervosa and bulimia: how to help By Marilyn Duker and Roger Slade (2003) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1716837
E-books - The books below are available online and students simply need to login using their Exeter IT login details when prompted. Go to: as.exeter.ac.uk/library/resources
- Living with Your Body and Other Things You Hate: How to Let Go of Your Struggle with Body Image Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by E.K. Sandoz & T. DuFrene (2014) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3264964
- Boys get anorexia too: coping with male eating disorders in the family By Jenny Langley (2006) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3545772
- Skills-based learning for caring for a loved one with an eating disorder : the new Maudsley method By Janet Treasure, Gráinne Smith, and Anna Crane (2007) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1812635
- The anorexia workbook : how to accept yourself, heal your suffering, and reclaim your life By Michelle Heffner, Georg H. Eifert ; foreword by Steven C. Hayes (2004) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3265278
- Understanding your eating: how to eat and not worry about it By Julia Buckroyd (2011) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3264966
- The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Bulimia: A Guide to Breaking Free from Bulimia Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by Emily Sandoz (2011) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3264967
- Overcoming anorexia nervosa: a self-help guide using cognitive behavioral techniques By Chris Freeman (2009) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb1774687
- Demystifying anorexia nervosa: an optimistic guide to understanding and healing By Alexander R. Lucas (2004) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb2642246
- Overcoming your eating disorder: a cognitive-behavioral treatment for bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. By W. Stewart Agras, Robin F. Apple (2008) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3264969
- Binge no more: your guide to overcoming disordered eating By Joyce D. Nash (1999) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3265279
- Overcoming binge eating: the proven program to learn why you binge and how you can stop By Dr. Christopher G. Fairburn (2013) http://encore.exeter.ac.uk/iii/encore/record/C__Rb3264971
- Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by David Veale and Rob Willson
- Overcoming perfectionism: A self-help guide using scientifically supported cognitive behavioural techniques by Roz Shafran, Sarah Egan and Tracey Wade
- Overcoming Low Self-Esteem: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques by Melanie Fennell
- Overcoming Insomnia and Sleep Problems by Colin Espie
- Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness by Gillian Butler
- Pocket Study Skills series https://www.macmillanihe.com/series/Pocket-Study-Skills/14549/
- Healing from Trauma: A Survivor's Guide to Understanding Your Symptoms and Reclaiming Your Life by Jasmin Lee Cori
- The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
- Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence by Rick Hanson
- The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-True Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind and Soul by William Stieghart
- 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works - A True Story by Dan Harris
- The Compassionate Mind (Compassion Focused Therapy) by Paul Gilbert
- Mind Over Mood, Second Edition: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think by Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky
Reading Well for mental health (Books on Prescription)
The Reading Well scheme helps you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using helpful reading available from public libraries. The scheme is endorsed by health professionals and people with mental health needs. Read about the scheme and selection of books here.
The books provide helpful information and support for managing common mental health conditions, or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences. Some books also include personal stories from people who are living with or caring for someone with mental health needs.
You can be recommended a title by a health professional, or you can visit your local library and borrow a book yourself. The scheme is available in 98% of English library authorities.
The scheme is delivered by The Reading Agency and the Society of Chief Librarians, with funding from Arts Council England and Wellcome. For more information, please visit their website.