The Incite Book List – Mental Health Awareness Week

This Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) (15-21 May) we are revisiting the Incite Book List, sharing some new recommendations from our resident team of bookworms, all with a focus on titles which explore mental health, or offer a welcome escape.

Mental ill-health affects 1 in 4 people and doesn’t discriminate against age, race or gender. However, whilst mental health issues are relatively common, they can also be extremely isolating. So it’s all the more important to start and destigmatize these conversations.

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on increasing people’s awareness and understanding of anxiety – one of the most common mental health issues we face – and finding ways to prevent and manage it.

In the list of recommendations below is a selection of books that that engage with mental health or provide comfort and inspiration. Reading for your mental health doesn’t just have to be the traditional self-help books – everything from powerful fiction to poetry or children’s stories can offer a safe space, a place to escape reality completely or a place to explore and reflect.

This Mental Health Awareness Week we are taking a moment to remind ourselves that reading for pleasure can help reduce anxiety.

There are lots of other things you can do to help with feelings of anxiety. Check out Mental Health Foundation tips:

Read on for six picks from the Incite team.

Kate recommends…

Jog On by Bella Mackie 

[From Goodreads] Divorced and struggling with deep-rooted mental health problems, Bella Mackie ended her twenties in tears. She could barely find the strength to get off the sofa, let alone piece her life back together. Until one day she did something she had never done of her own free will – she pulled on a pair of trainers and went for a run.

In Jog On, Bella explains with hilarious and unfiltered honesty how she used running to battle crippling anxiety and depression, without having to sacrifice her main loves: booze, cigarettes and ice cream.


Aya recommends…

Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown 

[From Goodreads] In Atlas of the Heart, Brown takes us on a journey through eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances—a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection.


Stefan recommends…

The Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux 

The mindful contemplation of a long train journey in a form you can read on the tube.

[From Goodreads] After eleven years as an American living in London, the renowned travel writer Paul Theroux set out to travel clockwise around the coast of Great Britain to find out what the British were really like. The result is this perceptive, hilarious record of the journey. Whether in Cornwall or Wales, Ulster or Scotland, the people he encountered along the way revealed far more of themselves than they perhaps intended to display to a stranger. Theroux captured their rich and varied conversational commentary with caustic wit and penetrating insight.


Lisa recommends…

Brave Enough Not to Quit: How I Realised My Football Dream by Millie Farrow 

[From Amazon] This is the inspirational story of Millie Farrow, a footballer who has battled major injuries alongside her battles with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety, but remains determined to succeed. Now she is using her experiences to help others facing adversity. This is a story of fighting back from rock bottom to find happiness.”


Liz recommends…

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig 

“The only way to learn is to live”

From Goodreads: Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?


Lucinda recommends…

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy 

You may have caught the charming animation which aired on tv over Christmas, but many consider the book to be more powerful. Suitable for any age, you can pick it up, flick to a random page and feel inspired or comforted.

Charlie Mackesy’s beautiful drawings help explore the thoughts and feelings that unite us all.