5 Must-Read Books for Understanding Mental Health

Posted by HeyCarson on

Regardless of whether or not it feels like it (wasn’t the 2022 World Cup about a week ago?), this is 2023. Mental health cases have been on the rise over the past couple of years and we, both as a society and as men, are no longer standing idly by as the numbers continue to worsen. We’re fully embracing the “out with the old” (stigmas and gender norms), “in with the new” (awareness and healthy emotional expression) mindset. This starts with becoming as informed and educated on the topic of mental health as possible so we can work towards a better understanding and experience of it. You in?

If you are, we’ve got a couple of resources to help you get started. Check ‘em out: 1. The Body Keeps Score by Bessel van der Kolk

This book title – having been talked about everywhere from Tiktok to national morning news to mental health conferences all over the globe – is one you might’ve heard already (and for a good reason). Written by one of the world’s leading experts on traumatic stress, this book takes on the difficult yet vital task of explaining how stressful events (both as children and adults) can store trauma in the body and, when unreleased, can become the root cause of much of our physical and emotional pain.

2. Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions by Russel Brand

We know him, we love him, he makes us want to stroke a furry wall – it’s Russel Brand! As much as this guy is hilarious and musically talented, he’s also extremely intelligent and riddled with life experience. Using his own personal life stories (and plenty of humor and compassion, of course) Russel Brand uses this book as a powerful medium to share tons of life-changing insights into overcoming his deepest, darkest emotional valleys so that you can, too.

3. This is Depression: A Comprehensive, Compassionate Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Understand Depression by Dr. Diane McIntosh

The title pretty much says it all. Whether you’re trying to gain a grasp of the complexities of your own mental struggles or hoping to extend a helping hand to a friend or loved one, this book provides the science and insights to help you do just that.

4. Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity by Justin Baldoni

The pressure to provide. The pressure to “hold it together.” The pressure to get and keep a six-pack. Actor and social activist Justin Baldoni addresses it all in this brave and personal analysis of the harms of gender norms in today’s society.

5. The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health by Rheeda Walker, PhD


It is impossible to deny and we shouldn’t try to: Black men and People of Color are disproportionately affected by mental health disorders in the United States. This book, written by esteemed Licensed Clinical Psychologist Rheeda Walker, examines the systems behind this harmful phenomenon and provides tips for navigating them as a Black person. Person of Color or not, however, this resource is an insightful and eye-opening read.

Whether you choose to read one, all, or none of these books, we encourage you to remember, fellas: Knowledge is power.

Here’s to tackling this mental health obstacle with all we’ve got!