• Question: What is the best piece of reading you'd recommend for studying mental health?

    Asked by name353can to Rob, Olly, Nicola, Jasmin, Dennis, Caroline on 12 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Jasmin Moon

      Jasmin Moon answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      I would say it depends what level you are studying at at the moment. If you want to understand more about the experiences of people with mental health problems then Matt Haig’s book ‘reasons to stay alive’ is very interesting and informative, as is ‘The stranger on the bridge’ by Jonny Benjamin. However they are both very honest books and talk about suicide so I wouldn’t recommend them if reading about this might upset you.
      There are probably lots of academic textbooks out there that talk about the reasons mental health problems occur and studies that have been carried out in this area, but I believe the best way to learn about mental health problems is to hear someone with mental health problems speak or write about their experiences.

    • Photo: Robert Dempsey

      Robert Dempsey answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      It’s a bit more advanced, but Richard Bentall’s Madness Explained is a fantastic book and really gets into some of the issues with psychiatric classification. I believe Ruby Wax has written some good books on mental health but I’ve not had chance to read them myself!

    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      I love the works of Dr Jordan Peterson – some people don’t like him but it’s good to keep an open mind.

      I also like the books of Professor Richard Wiseman. He makes psychology entertaining.

      I also read a lot of true-crime stories. My favourite writer is Ann Rule. Her books give you an idea how serial killers think.

    • Photo: Oliver Clabburn

      Oliver Clabburn answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      This is an interesting question! I’d probably suggest The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s not strictly a psychology/mental health book (or non-fiction for that matter!) It is, however, something I recommend everyone read as it’s pretty short and got some great messages!

    • Photo: Caroline Brett

      Caroline Brett answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      I’ve not read them (they’re on my bookshelf waiting) but I’ve heard good things about Matt Haig’s books and Ruby Wax’s book. Obviously textbooks are good for understanding different conditions but they do tend to be quite dry and it’s probably better to read these kinds of autobiographies or accounts from people who have experienced mental health difficulties to get a real sense of what it’s like

    • Photo: Nicola Johnstone

      Nicola Johnstone answered on 14 Jun 2019:


      It’s not specifically focused on mental health, but I like Dean Burnett’s ‘The idiot brain’ for a nice overview of how the brain and all it’s quirks.

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