You don’t have to be in the middle of a mental health crisis to learn how to take care of this important aspect of your life. Fortunately, there are many audiobooks about mental health issues that offer research, advice, and empathy. The best mental health audiobooks serve not only as a rich source of information but also as a comforting companion that you can turn to at any time.
Diving into audiobooks about mental health can provide you with the opportunity to explore a wide range of topics—from managing anxiety and depression to cultivating happiness and resilience. These audiobooks are an excellent way to engage with mental health experts, storytellers, and individuals who have navigated through their own mental health journeys. So, whether you’re simply curious, seeking self-improvement, or searching for ways to cope, this curated list offers a versatile, accessible medium to deepen your understanding and commitment to mental well-being.
- First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety by Sarah Wilson
- Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
- Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
- When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress by Gabor Mate M.D.
- Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett
- Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find-and Keep-Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
- The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe
- Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
- Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle by Mark Wolynn
- The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health by Emeran Mayer
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
- Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
- All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
- Good Morning, Monster: Five Heroic Journeys to Recovery by Catherine Gildiner
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
- I’m Telling the Truth but I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi
- Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation by Dalia Kinsey
- Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Julie Smith
- A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life by Ayelet Waldman
- Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill by DJ Jaffe and E. Fuller Torrey, M.D.
- You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow
- I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety by Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson narrates her own story of dealing with anxiety throughout her life, and it was a new viewpoint to hear since I have struggled with anxiety myself and researched it endlessly. Wilson’s approach, as the title implies, is to befriend the beast that is anxiety and learn what we can from it as we navigate through daily life.
Combining her personal experiences and opinions with research and input from other people, Wilson gives us a new way to look at a condition that affects so many of us. Go in knowing you may not agree with all of Wilson’s conclusions on how to best handle anxiety. It’s still very much possible to enjoy this listen even if your approach to the condition is different.
Length: 9 hours and 5 minutes
Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
Though Clear’s audiobook about habits probably falls under self-help, his research and advice can give anyone a mental health boost. Why can’t we simply do the things we set out to, and why are bad habits so hard to break? Clear helps listeners understand how the mind works and then offers solutions that will help them lead the lives they want.
Atomic Habits is not magic, nor does it promise overnight change. Still, implementing even a handful of Clear’s tips into my daily life has helped me accomplish goals and stay consistent in areas of my life that used to feel out of control.
5 hours and 35 minutes
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
This short listen delivers practical advice alongside a heartfelt story of figuring out how and why to live when you lose your will to see the way forward. I’ve listened to all of Haig’s books about mental health and how to navigate living in a fast-paced world that seems built to induce anxiety and depression. His recommendations are practical, and he does not shy away from the hard parts of his own story.
Grab this listen for a shot of hope and understanding from an author who has been to his lowest point and found a way to come back into the world.
4 hours and 16 minutes
When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress by Gabor Mate M.D.
The mind-body connection makes sense, but Mate will put any doubts you have to rest as he explores how stress can make us physically ill. Through detailed research and case studies, Mate leaves no doubt that our bodies are affected by what goes in our minds, and trapped emotions, chronic stress, and denying our needs can result in physical ailments.
Mate handles this topic with care, and he offers solutions to help us manage the stress that puts our mental and physical health at risk. You will want to listen to this more than once, and you will also likely pause to take notes often.
11 hours and 48 minutes
Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett
A beautiful story of a family bound together by love and devastation, Haslett shows what depression passed down from parent to child can look like. Michael, the oldest of three siblings, is brilliant but struggles with depression the way his father did. I loved getting different viewpoints as I listened to this book since it offered insight into what each family member was experiencing. You feel Michael’s pain and the desperation of the family members attempting to save him from himself.
This is an undeniably sad book, but it’s also funny and hopeful.
10 hours and 52 minutes
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find-and Keep-Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
Understanding how you function in relationships is important if you want them to be healthy and to last. Attached explores adult attachment styles and offers insight into who we are as individuals and how it impacts us when we enter into a relationship.
Avoidant and anxious partners end up together all the time, and knowing how to handle your own attachment style, as well as your partner’s, can help you navigate troubled times and build a more secure attachment. Even partners who have the same attachment style need to know what motivates them and how they can better connect to the person they love.
This book can offer insight into any relationship, whether it’s romantic or platonic.
7 hours and 4 minutes
The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe
I didn’t know about John Moe’s podcast when I started listening to his book, but he has been sharing his personal experiences with depression for a while. Moe talks about his family history, his own demons, and the triggers that can make depression worse as we try to balance busy, stressful lives. His candid approach will leave you with the feeling that a kind friend is talking to you, reminding you that we are all on this journey together.
9 hours and 50 minutes
Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
I often imagine gifting every person I know this book, especially the women in my life who seem on the verge of burnout constantly. The authors explain what it’s like to live in a world where women are expected to do everything, be everything, and love themselves while always striving to be better. They point out the importance of breaking the stress cycle, even as we live in a world of chronic stress, and they teach listeners how to do it.
I’m not exaggerating when I say this book was life-changing for me, and I come back to it often. The Nagoski sisters rise up to offer solutions and true self-care that can alleviate chronic stress for those buried underneath it.
7 hours and 1 minute
Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison
Writing from personal experience and tons of research, Jamison’s audiobook is a necessary but brutal listen for anyone who wants to know more about depression and suicide. She offers the most common mental health issues that lead to suicide as well as things we do as a society that can actually make this situation worse.
This was not an easy listen, and you should be ready to stop and start as you digest the realities around why people end their lives. It’s a compassionate, comprehensive study of a topic too long ignored.
11 hours and 3 minutes
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
A classic you may have read in high school, Plath’s fictional account of Esther Greenwood’s descent into madness is worth a revisit. Many of the events in the book are thinly veiled fictionalizations of Plath’s time in New York as a student, as well as her suicide attempt and harrowing experience in the mental health care system of the time. The issues of feminism, mental health care, and trying to be a woman in the creative world are still relevant, and this is a listen that has something new to offer each time I return to it.
7 hours and 24 minutes
It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle by Mark Wolynn
An emerging body of research explores the idea that the mental health issues we suffer from often don’t begin with us but go back to our parents and other family members. Even if we aren’t aware of the trauma bestowed upon us by family members, our genes may actually be affected, leaving us vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and pain.
Understanding how we might inherit these problems can also offer insight into how to treat them. Many current approaches to mental health issues don’t work, but that could be because we are looking at these problems the wrong way. Insightful and hopeful, this is a listen for everyone.
Length: 8 hours and 16 minutes
The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health by Emeran Mayer
I got first-hand experience in dealing with the mind-gut connection when a family member was diagnosed with Celiac disease. As I dove into research about gut health, microbiomes, and the mental health connection, I was floored to realize that so much of what happens in our brains is impacted by our guts.
Mayer’s research will expertly introduce you to how our minds and bodies are connected, and how we can help our mental health by paying special attention to our physical health. He offers practical advice you can use to focus on a diet that prioritizes brain function.
Length: 9 hours and 57 minutes
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor has a carefully curated plan to keep her free from other people and all the complications they involve. Socially awkward and blunt, she prefers to stay away from others, but a chance encounter with a neighbor and a co-worker brings her out of her isolated state and into relationship building she’s not quite prepared to handle.
Underneath this need for isolation is a past that Eleanor must face to move forward. Honeyman creates beautiful, realistic characters struggling with their demons in a listen that will have you laughing and crying in equal parts.
Length: 11 hours and 2 minutes
Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
Sibling bonds are strong, and this novel about one sister helping her sibling deal with mental health issues is gut-wrenching and beautiful. Miranda and Lucia are Chinese-Americans living their own lives when Lucia starts hearing voices. Lucia’s impulses have always taken her to unexpected places, but her mental illness is progressing and Miranda wants to find a way to help her. How much can you sacrifice to save someone you love?
Length: 13 hours and 19 minutes
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Niven’s novel about two teens who meet on the bell tower of their school has been compared to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in a complimentary way. Theodore Finch struggles with depression and is obsessed with death and all it has to offer. Violet Markey is grieving the loss of her sister, and both of these characters stand on a precipice trying to figure out how to move forward. They meet each other and discover more about themselves and who they are in this moving account that will leave you in tears.
Length: 11 hours and 4 minutes
Good Morning, Monster: Five Heroic Journeys to Recovery by Catherine Gildiner
Catherine Gildiner gives us personal insight into five patients she’s treated who faced some of the most dire situations. With sympathy, knowledge, and even humor, Gildiner attempts to help each of them face the terrors of their pasts and move forward in a way that will help them have a better future.
A great example of what therapy can be at its best, Good Morning, Monster is a listen that will offer listeners hope even as they hear how these brave characters fought through situations most of us will never have to face.
Length: 13 hours and 15 minutes
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I recommended this book to a friend who loved it but wished I’d offered some trigger warnings. I don’t want to make the same mistake twice, so I highly recommend Yanagihara’s tale of four friends who move to New York together. However, I will tell you that the grief, trauma, and overall despair in this book does not make it a light listen. While hope is found in the corners of darkness, it is a very dark book.
Willem, Malcolm, JB, and Jude seek their destinies in the city, tethered by friendship and love, but each faces the challenges of trying to make a life. Jude, brilliant and kind, struggles with a past unimaginable to most, and his journeys through memories of his past threaten to unravel his present, even with his companions near.
Length: 32 hours and 51 minutes
I’m Telling the Truth but I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi
Ikpi has been a mental health advocate for years, and her essays share the raw truth of what it’s like to live with Bipolar II and anxiety. She shares her personal experiences while also offering insight to anyone who wants to know the specific challenges of mental health issues and how they creep into every facet of life.
Ikpi’s words are unforgettable and enthralling, and I listened to this book quickly and then wanted to start it all over again. After years without a diagnosis, Ikpi uses what she now knows about Bipolar II and her experiences to help others thrive.
7 hours and 12 minutes
Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation by Dalia Kinsey
The LGBTQ AND BIPOC communities don’t often get mental health advice personalized for them. Dalia Kinsey hopes to change that. Kinsey addresses the issues around food, colorism, and body dysmorphia that plague many queer people of color. They offer hope, insight, and solutions to help anyone live a better life where body acceptance is real and eating is a joyful event.
Length: 4 hours and 2 minutes
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Julie Smith
If you want a book full of tips for taking care of your mental well-being, Smith is ready to offer more than enough for you. Full of tips on how to stay strong and face adversity no matter where you are on your mental health journey, this is a listen that you will want to pause and take notes on as you hear it. Whether you are simply trying to become more emotionally resilient or dealing with depression and anxiety, Smith offers help that is easily digestible and practical.
7 hours and 16 minutes
A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life by Ayelet Waldman
When conventional approaches to depression don’t help Waldman, her personal and professional life starts to suffer. Desperate for any answer that could help, she begins microdosing LSD and finds a calm she hasn’t felt with any other treatment.
Waldman thoughtfully explores the history of this drug, and she takes us on her personal journey as well as introducing us to research circulating around LSD. For anyone willing to explore an unconventional approach, Waldman’s book can feel like a lifeline.
Length: 7 hours and 37 minutes
Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill by DJ Jaffe and E. Fuller Torrey, M.D.
The most severely mentally ill individuals suffer in a system obsessed with well care. Those who need the most help often end up in jail or without a home. Jaffe explores why and how this can happen inside a system that spends millions to offer help and continues to fail the most vulnerable.
Researched and easy to understand, Jaffe puts the blame on the system that keeps already ill people and their loved ones suffering, and he does it with a studied eye and plenty of support.
Length: 9 hours and 24 minutes
You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow
The opioid crisis has been in the spotlight lately, and Glasgow’s novel about a family turned upside down by one child’s addiction shines a light on this problem. Emory struggles to establish an identity outside of her family. With a brother whose addiction leads to an accident and the judgment of the community where they live, this isn’t easy to do.
Glasgow presents a nuanced view of addiction and how it impacts everyone in its wake. Though a story of fiction, it is relevant to the times we live in and the struggle of drug addiction that so many face.
Length: 12 hours and 11 minutes
I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
Child star Jennette McCurdy narrates her story of fame, mental health troubles, and an overbearing mother who cared more about her daughter’s success than her actual life. Since her mother decided what she wanted for her child from a young age, McCurdy learned to please her mother as she took total control over her life in ways unimaginable to most of us. When McCurdy’s mom dies, she begins her own journey of healing to recovery from the trauma and pain her mom caused.
Honest, unflinching, and wonderful for anyone who has a complicated relationship with a parent, you will get through this listen quickly.
Length: 6 hours and 26 minutes
What are the best mental health audiobooks you’ve listened to? Please let me know in the comments section below.