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  • Writer's pictureSiân Smith

4 books I recommend for Mental Health Week

Updated: May 17, 2023

Background reading forms a vital part of my CPD (continual professional development) and feeds into my experience as a non-fiction book editor and proofreader for women authors writing about health and wellbeing.

Reading itself is an activity that supports my own mental health (my particular experience with mental health centres around anxiety and disordered eating). Specialising in mental health ensures I can help others spread their message about their own recovery and advice, and constantly remind myself it's OK to put my own mental health first.

Every single one of these books has a 5-star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘Help Me!’ – Marianne Power

This book is the culmination of a year-long plan Marianne devised to closely follow the advice of one self-help book a month. I was laughing from page 3 and didn’t stop laughing until the end. But as well as Marianne’s naturally humorous style of writing, I was moved and enlightened by what she discovered and experienced during her experiment.

A selfie of a caucasian woman with blonde, wavy hair, wearing sunglasses and a blue cardigan with black animal print. She is holding a book with many sticky tabs. The book is blue with a ginger-haired woman sitting cross-legged, surrounded by books. The book is called 'Help Me! How Self-help Has NOT Changed My Life'.
Reading 'Help Me!' in the sunshine. Photo credit: Siân Smith

‘The Salt Path’ – Raynor Winn

Reading should be an utter joy. That’s what I felt when I read this book. It's more than just a couple's account of wild camping along the South West Coast Path.

Raynor’s poetic turn of phrase. The way she interweaves hard facts about homelessness and the decline of British wilderness and nature. Her sheer determinism. The fact that this is a true story. All these elements combine to create a book that I was utterly devastated to finish.

A copy of 'The Salt Path' is one somone's knee. The photo has been taken outside. You can see the grass in the background with a campervan in the background.
I read 'The Salt Path' during a camping trip in the 2022 heatwave. Photo credit: Siân Smith

‘Simply Anxious’ – Lisa Towers

There are two reasons I’m recommending this book. 1) It’s full of hope for recovery from anxiety, which seemed fitting for this year’s Mental Health Week theme of anxiety. 2) It’s the first book I ever copyedited after launching my business last year.

Lisa provides an account of how she recovered from anxiety after TWENTY years of experiencing anxiety disorder. I love how she encourages you to reframe the language you and others use around the concept of anxiety, as well as providing practical tips on how to manage your own anxiety.

Exactly TWO WEEKS after I launched my book editing business, Lisa got in touch with me on Instagram to ask if we could talk about me proofreading her book. I can never thank Lisa enough for giving me that chance.

A caucasian woman with brown, round glasses is holding a copy of 'Simply Anxious' by Lisa Towers.
I still can't believe this book started my editorial business. Photo credit: Siân Smith

‘The Saturday Night Sauvignon Sisterhood’ – Gill Sims

Yup, Gill Sims made my list again. I just adore Gill’s series of books. They are so, so funny. I’m not sure if you’d find them as funny if you aren’t a mum or parent, but her observations and frustrations around parenthood are just spot on. I was delighted to hear she is releasing another book in the series for Christmas!

A copy of 'The Saturday Night Sauvignon Sisterhood' by Gill Sims on Kindle, with a blue Kindle cover behind it. Behind the Kindle is a bookcase filled with books.
I read the occasional book on Kindle, but I prefer paperbacks. Photo credit: Siân Smith

I love looking back on a year of reading. I’ve read some brilliant ones and some, well, not-so-brilliant ones. However, there is a distinct lack of funny books. Laughter and fun are two factors that can easily be overlooked when it comes to looking after our mental health. So please recommend any books (fiction or non-fiction) that will have me crying with laughter!

Have you read any of these book recommendations? Are you going to add them to your TBR list?

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