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9 Conversation Starting Books About Mental Health

The best way to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health is to talk about it- or write about it.

In honour of Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 30th, we’ve created a list of books that not only address the difficult topics of mental health and mental illness but also serve as a message of hope and a reminder that we are not alone.

Holding Still For As Long As Possible by Zoe Whittall

“In Holding Still for as Long as Possible, the awareness of mortality intersects with the romantic restlessness of youth. It makes for a story whose vital signs are fully present and robust.” — Toronto Star

 

Where Did You Sleep Last Night? by Lynn Crosbie

Where Did You Sleep Last Night is terrifying and beautiful. It is a thrift store jam-packed with once loved, tattered, and gorgeous images. Crosbie is as mad as Rimbaud as sweet as Keats and as debauched as Courtney Love. Kurt Cobain would have adored her.” — Heather O’Neill, author of The Girl Who Was Saturday Night

All Our Relations by Tanya Talaga

“Talaga has written Canada’s J’Accuse, an open letter to the rest of us about the many ways we contribute — through act or inaction — to suicides and damaged existences in Canada’s Indigenous communities. Tanya Talaga’s account of teen lives and deaths in and near Thunder Bay is detailed, balanced and heart-rending. Talaga describes gaps in the system large enough for beloved children and adults to fall through, endemic indifference, casual racism, and a persistent lack of resources. It is impossible to read this book and come away unchanged.” — RBC Taylor Prize Jury Citation

Joyful Living by Teva Harrison

"For me, drawing is magical. It’s cathartic and transformative. It lifts me up when I am low. It fills me up when I am empty. It calms my nerves when I have anxiety. And when I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, drawing pulled me out of the deepest depression I’ve ever experienced." — Author and illustrator, Teva Harrison

In-Between Days by Teva Harrison

“In her heartbreakingly honest exploration of these spaces in-between, Harrison provides a useful guide for those who cannot know the thoughts and fears of someone living with chronic illness; and for those experiencing a similar situation, the book shows that even in the most personal of journeys, you are not alone. At its heart, In-Between Days is a firm statement that joy and hope can exist in the same space as anxiety and fear; that each day we are given should be lived, as Harrison says, ‘With a sense of wonder and delight.’” — National Post

The Enchanted Life by Sharon Blackie

“A master of her craft, Blackie weaves beautiful threads of folklore, psychology, history, philosophy, and much more into this remarkable work, reminding the reader of the magic inherent in all of our lives, whether we live in the suburbs, the city, or a remote wind-swept island. Enlightening as it is poetic, The Enchanted Life is a fable for our modern times. I will walk differently through our world after reading this book, paying attention to what is alive, which, if you look closely, Blackie shows us, is absolutely everything.” — Emily Urquhart, author of Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family, and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes

Great Expectations by Lisa Moore and Dede Crane 

“This collection of essays about childbirth is dedicated to parents of the past, present, and future. No matter which you are, you'll find something to enjoy in these often humorous and dramatic personal stories. The contributors are a who's who of CanLit.” — Best Health

Authenticity by David Posen 

"If you don’t want your tombstone to read “death by stress,” the latest book from Posen (after The Little Book of Stress Relief) may have the right remedies for you and your workplace. Posen makes a sound, compelling case for active stress reduction at work, due to concerns such as inefficiency, depression, and increased risk of heart disease and stroke." — Publishers Weekly

The Outside Circle by Kelly Mellings and Patti Laboucane-Benson

“I’ve never read a graphic novel like this that’s so thorough in portraying Canada’s history from the Aboriginal perspective. I hope this book finds its way into every classroom, friendship centre, treatment centre, halfway house, safe house, youth detention centre, and library in Canada . . . I’m in awe of what you are holding in your hands. This is more than a graphic novel. It’s a teaching; it’s a reminder; and it’s a textbook of hard-won wisdom. It’s also a wish.” — Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed


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