12 Mental Health Books For Your Well-Being

Mental health is such a vast topic. From dialectical behavioural therapy to the social determinants of mental health, it can be difficult to know where to begin. In honour of this year's Life on the Line campaign, we put together a list of mental health book recommendations from experts working in the field to help steer you in the right direction.

We asked the team at 'Family Outreach and Response', a unique Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto program (which served over 600 families last year), to share their favourite mental health books to improve the well-being of you and your loved ones.

If you want to support their program, you can donate directly on our website, or purchase one of ten unique limited edition signed and numbered art prints were 75% of all sales will be donated to the program.


Shannon O’Neill Q.Med, Family Mental Health Navigator, assists families navigate the mental health system in hospitals due to an admittance of a loved one, and then continues to support the family post discharge. Families receiving support during this time is a pivotal ingredient for recovery. Shannon believes this both through her own experience as a support person for a family member who struggles with their mental health as well as her professional experience working in the mental health field. The family support strengthens communication and connection which are necessary components to mental health recovery.

1. Empowered Boundaries: Speaking Truth, Setting Boundaries and

Inspiring Social Change

by Cristien Storm

Having a deep understanding of what is okay and what is not okay for you, and being able to communicate that in a kind, compassionate and non-judgemental way is a gift that you give to those that you love. This book shows how we create boundaries in preservation of the relationship by using communication for connection and not for combat. It explores what may be getting in the way of us establishing boundaries within our own relationships. It also shows how creating boundaries can be collaborative, honouring ourselves and recognizing our coexistence with others.

2. Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames

by Thich Nhat Hahn

Anger, both the feeling of and the expression of, is something I find challenging to sit with. This book explores the good, the bad, and the ugly of anger. It provides guidance on how to sit with your own anger and how to be effective in a space with another’s anger.

With exquisite simplicity, Buddhist monk and Vietnam refugee Thich Nhat Hanh gives tools and advice for transforming relationships, focusing energy, and rejuvenating those parts of ourselves that have been laid waste by anger.


Liam Skinner brings to his practice ten years of experience providing counselling and psychotherapy services to individuals, families and groups in a variety of settings including private practice, community mental health organizations and social service agencies. His educational background and professional development have focused on relational, existential integrative and somatic therapies, as well as anti-oppressive and feminist approaches.

3. When Things Fall Apart:

Heart Advice for Difficult Times

by Pema Chodron

The beautiful practicality of her teaching has made Pema Chödrön one of the most beloved of contemporary American spiritual authors among Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. A collection of talks she gave between 1987 and 1994, the book is a treasury of wisdom for going on living when we are overcome by pain and difficulties. Chödrön discusses:

• Practices for reversing habitual patterns

• Methods for working with chaotic situations

• Ways for creating effective social action

• Ways for creating effective social action

• Using painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and courage

• Communicating so as to encourage others to open up rather than shut down • Practices for reversing habitual patterns • Methods for working with chaotic situations