5 books that tackle themes of mental health

Posted on October 9, 2020

World Mental Health Day is an international day for mental health education and awareness. This is something we care passionately about at Saraband, so we’ve curated a selection of our books that explore mental health in their own way and ask questions about the stigma attached to it. Some of these books speak directly to mental health, while others have it stitched and weaved discreetly into their prose. But they all have one thing in common: they open up the conversation around mental health by sharing the experiences of people who have struggled with their own mental health. And for that reason, among many others, we are incredibly proud to have published them.

All of these books are available to buy from our online shop. For this weekend (9–11th October), in honour of World Mental Health Day, we will donate 50p per sale to the Mental Health Foundation

Everything Passes, Everything Remains by Chris Dolan

‘Cycling along, the interior landscape changing faster than the topography. Memory and dreams whipping themselves into daymares. A much-loved country became almost subconsciously foreign, unfamiliar, the spring sun hot and dangerous, close friends distant.
The weight of all that’s remembered.’

Everything Passes, Everything Remains takes us freewheelin’ through Spain, song and memory as Chris Dolan explores the highs and lows of growing up and growing older. We follow Dolan and his Black Dog, or Dodo as he calls it, through a lifetime of Spanish adventures that question how we think about identity, as individuals, yes, but also as citizens and nations. He examines memory and how it tricks us; how it chops up all the pieces of our lives and rearranges them to create a different picture – sometimes better, sometimes worse, rarely accurate. It is ‘thoughtful, hopeful and beautifully written.’ Colin Blane

To raise awareness of male mental health and suicide, Chris will be launching his book with a fundraiser for Movember. He will be cycling to The Kelpies where he will meet Alan Brown, a fellow cyclist and mental health advocate, for an open conversation about mental health and cycling that will be live-streamed on Facebook. More details to come.

The Garden Cure by Jan Cameron

Through a lifetime’s experience of award-winning work in community gardens and in mental health care and training, Cameron shows us how tending green spaces can bring tremendous benefits to mental health. Using the garden’s annual cycle, she reveals how stages of the growing year can act as a powerful metaphor and even mirror healing mechanisms that can help in times of distress, anxiety or depression.

The Garden Cure is full of ideas and tools that will help support your own and others’ physical and mental well-being, especially when life is challenging. How, in other words, gardening helps us all grow and thrive.

A Time of Birds by Helen Moat

Reaching a crossroads in her daily life, Helen and her son follow the great rivers to the edge of Asia, meeting a beguiling cast of characters. Reflecting upon a continent shaped by war and peace, Helen recalls her own upbringing during Northern Ireland’s Troubles. Taking its name from the spirit of the author’s father – his lifelong battle with depression but also his love of birds – the book aims to celebrate humanity in all its quirky individualism.’An inspiring adventure.’ Tom Chesshyre, Daily Mail













Dead Ringer by Nicola Martin

The idea is simple, vain, exciting.

Tap the app, upload a picture, find your #deadringer. When Ella and Jem connect, the resemblance is uncanny, but their lives are polar opposites. Other than their looks, their only similarity is the desire to escape. Is it possible to hide in your double’s skin? And at what cost? All too believable, twisty, compelling and fast – Dead Ringer will leave you reeling.

‘As well as being a taut and fast-paced thriller, Dead Ringer is a beautiful meditation on how opportunities offered by youth, beauty and ambition crash into the hard realities of adulthood. The book has a lot to say about privilege/deprivation, mental illness and and the long-term effects of trauma.’ – Joanne Metivier, Goodreads

Well by Mary Gunn

When Dr Mary Gunn was diagnosed with cancer, her first reaction was fear, and to fight the disease aggressively. But when it came back – and turned out to be incurable – she knew that she couldn’t live the rest of her life in fear. Mary embraced a new approach to life: to accept all the joy and sorrow, safety and danger, certainty and unpredictability – to live freely.

In uncertain times, when it’s difficult not to feel the fear, Dr Mary Gunn’s remarkable memoir offers mindfulness tools for resilience, and shows how we can all use acceptance, compassion and love to live courageously, magnificently. Backed up by many years of experience as both a doctor and a patient, her story will inspire you to let go of fear, love life and live well.

Remember to take some time for yourself this weekend. Ask a friend if they have time to talk. Remind your loved ones that they are loved. And if you’re feeling okay in yourself then check in with someone you haven’t heard from in a while – you may make their day.