18 Comforting Reads for Mental Health Awareness Month

Apr 27, 2024 6:28:00 AM / by Broadleaf Books

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In a world with increasing burnout, rates of mental illness, and conflict, it's never been more important to prioritize our mental health. And for many of us, we find solace and peace in the pages of a good book. From inspiring personal stories to soothing reads on grief and loss, and from meditations that support spiritual and personal growth to reflective pieces that guide toward inner healing, these books offer comfort and encouragement for your journey toward mental well-being.


Personal Growth 


Cancer Sucks, but You'll Get Through It

Michelle Rapkin

Publication date: March 12, 2024

Surviving cancer—and thriving—is about more than just medicine. It's about managing your needs, relationships, and more. In Cancer Sucks, but You'll Get Through It, three-time cancer survivor and long-time publishing executive Michelle Rapkin offers a guide for anyone who has heard the words "It's cancer." Infused with hope, heart, and non-medical advice, this book shares personal experience and priceless learnings from interviews with other cancer survivors. 

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The Rise of Rage

Julie A. Christiansen

Publication date: February 13, 2024

Anger is probably the most misunderstood of all the human emotions. Rage has shown that anger can be a catalyst for change. On the flip side, it can also be a tool employed in fear by those resisting reform or trying to quell protests. The Rise of Rage explores the nature of anger and walks us through a ten-step process to effectively resolve angry feelings, helping us free ourselves from the bondage that anger puts us in and learn how to make it work for us instead.

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This Book Won't Make You Happy

Niro Feliciano

Publication date: April 5, 2022

Happiness is fleeting. But what if it's not even needed to live a life of purpose and peace? This Book Won't Make You Happy offers a path to something much more achievable and satisfying: contentment. By incorporating simple postures rooted in cognitive behavioral science and mindfulness practices into our daily routines, we can move toward balance and calm and away from anxiety. Through these practices we will overcome obstacles that hold us back from living meaningful and contented lives.

Read an excerpt here.

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Leah Katz

Publication date: May 3, 2022

Western society too often trains women out of feeling innately confident in the wisdom we hold inside. Instead, we are handed down a set of expectations about everything from our bodies to our career choices. In Gutsy, Dr. Leah Katz draws on her training as a psychologist and on personal experience to offer tools for getting "unstuck" from society's unrealistic and sometimes harmful expectations. It's time to create the rich, vibrant life we have always wanted.

Read an excerpt here.

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Purposeful Empathy

Anita Nowak

Publication date: April 11, 2023

We are living in an era of a massive empathy deficit, yet our capacity to imagine what someone else is experiencing has never been more important. Through inspiring stories, interviews with experts, and self-development exercises, Purposeful Empathy offers practical advice to foster personal, organizational, and social transformation.

Read an excerpt here.

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Grief & Loss


Winter Grief, Summer Grace

James E. Miller

Publication date: January 2, 2024

Grieving the loss of a loved one is an experience with many different stages and seasons. Winter Grief, Summer Grace helps readers navigate the phases of emotion through the four seasons of the year. Through quotes, poetry, and advice, James E. Miller provides guidance and comfort for those who mourn.

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BL good grief complete series transparent

The Good Grief Series

Various Authors

There is no "right" way to grieve. For more than fifty years, Good Grief has helped millions of readers find comfort and hope after loss. Whether one is mourning a death, the end of a marriage, a job loss, or other difficult life changes, Good Grief is a steady companion in times of loss.

In addition to Good Grief, the Good Grief series offers a devotional and a journal for those searching for more resources to help them heal. The three books can be purchased as a complete set, in bundles of two, or individually.

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Grieving Room

Leanne Friesen

Publication date: February 6, 2024

We are forever changed when we lose a loved one. Leanne Friesen thought she knew a lot about bereavement, but only when her sister died from cancer did she learn what grieving people need. In Grieving Room, Friesen writes with vulnerability, wisdom, and wit about lessons learned in the face of death. When we lose someone, we all need room to grieve. 

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David W. Peters

Publication date: November 7, 2023

Accidental injury is the leading cause of death for Americans under forty-five, which means that those who have caused accidental deaths walk among us. They are us. Episcopal priest David W. Peters unintentionally killed someone in a traffic accident, and in Accidental, he guides readers through the aftermath toward healing.

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Mental Health Stories


How to Begin When Your World Is Ending

Molly Phinney Baskette

Publication date: November 15, 2022

When Molly Phinney Baskette was diagnosed with cancer at thirty-nine, her theology of and relationship to God were profoundly tested. How to Begin When Your World Is Ending weaves together her story with the stories of others to mine joy from the hardest parts of being human. In doing so, Baskette reminds us that no matter what you are going through, someone has been there before you and found meaning in the madness.

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Bipolar Faith

Monica A. Coleman

Publication date: February 8, 2022

Bipolar Faith is a spiritual autobiography as well as a memoir of mental illness. In this powerful book, Monica Coleman shares her lifelong dance with trauma, depression, and the threat of death, while also examining the ways that the legacies of slavery, war, poverty, and alcoholism mask a family history of mental illness. Only as she was able to face her illness was she able to live faithfully with bipolar—and in the process, discover a liberating vision of God. 

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My Body and Other Crumbling Empires

Lyndsey Medford

Publication date: March 7, 2023

We are living in a world that is sick: literally sick, with a majority of adults in the US living with a chronic illness, and figuratively sick, with increasing rates of burnout and disconnection. Lyndsey Medford was used to critiquing unsustainable systems from a theoretical perspective, but when her autoimmune disorder roared out of remission, she discovered that her own body's systems lived at the vortex of the dysfunction of all other systems. My Body and Other Crumbling Empires points out the beauty of our limitations; the importance of accessibility; the interconnection of individual and public health; and the wisdom we have gained from living with our particular bodies.

Read an excerpt here.

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Cry, Baby

Benjamin Perry

Publication date: May 16, 2023

Weeping, one of our most private acts, can forge connection. But many of us have been taught to hide our tears. When writer Benjamin Perry realized he hadn't cried in over ten years, he undertook an experiment to cry every day. Cry, Baby explores humans' rich legacy of weeping and helps us reclaim our crying to bring us into deeper relationship with a world that's breaking. 

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Spiritual Living


What Makes You Come Alive

Lerita Coleman Brown

Publication date: February 7, 2023

Howard Thurman, known as the godfather of the civil rights movement, served as a spiritual adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. and other activist leaders in the 1960s. What Makes You Come Alive beckons readers into their own apprenticeship with Thurman. Lerita Coleman Brown walks with us through Thurman's inimitable life and commitments as he summons us into centering down, encountering the natural world, unleashing inner authority, and recognizing the genius of the religion of Jesus.

Read an excerpt here.

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Hope Leans Forward

Valerie Brown

Publication date: November 8, 2022

We are daily asked to move toward bravery and stretch in the direction of goodness, patience, and vulnerability. Filled with Quaker wisdom, mindfulness practices, and stories of people living out simple yet life-affirming bravery, Hope Leans Forward is a guidebook for all of us who are on journeys of transformation, self-discovery, and spiritual discernment. 

Read an excerpt here.

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Collisions of Earth and Sky

Heidi Barr

Publication date: January 31, 2023

Research indicates that spending time in a natural setting provides a plethora of benefits, from lower blood pressure to increased immunity to an enhanced sense of well-being. But the pace of our lives often leaves little room for this connection. Collisions of Earth and Sky is a journey of self-inquiry for digging into our roots, figuring out what it means to live in community, and integrating those truths so we can add to the world's healing.

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Practice the Pause

Caroline Oakes

Publication date: January 24, 2023

Many of us are living daily in a state of chronic stress and fight-or-flight response. But it doesn't need to be this way. New developments in brain science have proven that intentionally pausing for a few minutes actually rewires our brain in ways that make us calmer and less reactive, helping us to be better able to see the bigger picture. Practice the Pause explores how a seven-second pause practice can move us beyond our fight-or-flight response and equip us to cultivate the common good.

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The Gift of Restlessness

Casey Tygrett

Publication date: April 25, 2023

No one asks for restless moments. But what if restlessness is normal and not a sign that we must move on or move out? The Gift of Restlessness turns over our innermost questions and holds them up to the light. Where do I belong? What am I here for? Is there enough? And in turning over these questions, Casey Tygrett finds a surprising alignment with the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. In this prayer, we find freedom to ask basic human questions and permission to befriend our longings. 

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