A Bookworm’s 5 Favorite Mental Health Books

February 09, 2024

Livia Caligor is an NYC-based writer and photographer who works in media operations. She graduated from Cornell University in 2021 with a B.S. in Fashion Management, a concentration in Communications, and a minor in English. She’s worked in marketing, wholesale, and operations at brands including Lafayette 148, Elie Saab, Alexander Wang, and Marchesa; through these international experiences, she developed a keen understanding of the supply chain and issues of sustainability and social responsibility – with bylines in Architectural Digest, teenVogue, and the Folklore, she seeks to use writing to facilitate industry change and make design a more equitable space. Livia is passionate about deconstructing the social stigmas around mental health; she is especially interested in how socio-economic and racial privilege, beauty standards, and industry cultures inform and shape mental health. As a new member of the BTWFoundation, she seeks to address barriers to treatment, especially for kids without the means. In her free time, she loves reading, boxing, photography, and drawing and is an avid member of the little monster community!

Follow her Instagram @livia.caligor and her photography page @puddlesbylivia

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If you’re a fellow bookworm like me, you might be entering the new year with a book list. One thing I was excited to see in the literary world in 2023 was the rise in conversations around mental health. After all, sharing stories and experiences from a vast array of perspectives is integral to destigmatizing the conversation and fostering greater inclusion around the topic. 

I rounded up 5 of my favorite books about psychology and mental health from this year, for those who might want to learn more about the topic going into the new year! 

1. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, a memoir by clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison, examines Jamison’s experience with bipolar disorder and its lasting impact on her childhood growing up. Specifically, it explores the impact the illness had on her professional life, self awareness, and relationships, chronicling her journey to seek proper treatment and the obstacles she encountered on the way.

2. The Color of My Mind: Mental Health Narratives from People of Color is a bilingual health book in English and Spanish. Containing 12 essays on cultural stigmas around mental health that shaped the writers’ experiences, it seeks to answer Latina mental health activist Dior Vargas’ central question: how do people of color experience mental illness? 


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A post shared by Dior Vargas, MS, MPH (@dior_vargas) 

3. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk has been a buzzy book on social media for the past two years – and certainly for good reason. Written by a psychiatrist specialising in PTSD research, the book details how trauma reshapes both the mind and body and the scope of its impact.  

4. It Didn’t Start with You by Mark Wolynn excavates the lasting effects and cycle of inherited trauma – right down to how it alters one’s genes. It leads readers through a process of introspection and tackles ways to understand and unlearn generational trauma. 


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A post shared by Mark Wolynn (@markwolynn)

5. Mental Health, Race, and Culture by Suman Fernando is a powerful critical analysis of the barriers to mental health resources amongst minority cultures and the impact of race on the mental health epidemic. Fernando covers theoretical perspectives as well as practical implications across different racial and cultural groups. It especially delves into new discourses in mental health, the mental health of low-income demographics, and non-Western psychiatry and practices. 

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