The team at Stop The World have all had different experiences of poor mental health. From being signed off with stress at work, to an anxious feeling that we’ve left a candle burning so we turn the car around after a 2 hour journey, and of course depression and low mood.

One thing we all share is an understanding that mental health is real, it’s present in all of us and it’s a hard thing to get our heads around at the best of times.

Therefore, through all of our mental health journeys, we’ve found ways to research and understand what’s happening to us. This isn’t necessarily by looking up our symptoms on the NHS website, but actually we tend to read a lot of fiction and non-fiction. The best way to find out about a good book is to pass it on so we’ve put together a list of 10 of the best books that have helped us understand mental health a little better…

  1. The Humans – Matt Haig
    Matt Haig is a fantastic writer. If you ever want a real and honest story about depression and how it can sneak up on us – read ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’. If you’re after something, humorous as well as fluttering with many confusing concepts that we face in our lifetime, read The Humans.
  2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
    This has been recommended by our Creative Director, Leigh. It is all about a girl struggling with mental health. Her characterisation is so relatable and her quirky and weird ways just makes you realise how even the strongest of us, can still be vulnerable to poor mental health. It’s definitely on my reading list for the future.
  3. This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
    This is a current favourite amongst the Stop The World team. Both Julia and Leigh have already read it and it’s my current book for my commute in the morning. It’s so interesting a) to get a perspective of what it’s like to be a junior doctor in the NHS over the past 15 years and b) to understand the mental strain on doctors, nurses and NHS staff dealing with everything they do. It’s funny, it’s heartbreaking at points and it’s a must read!
  4. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
    My Mum recommended this book to me when I was feeling a little down a year or so ago. It’s incredibly light hearted and easy read but gives you a hilarious insight into the world of a man with asperges who is on a rather unconventional hunt for his wife.
  5. Still Alice – Lisa Genova
    This book is very close to my heart as I began reading it to try and gain a bit more of an understanding of dementia and alzheimer’s disease when my Grandma and Grandad were very ill. It’s about a woman called Alice who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. She fights with the disease to try and keep her identity while slowly losing herself in the symptoms of this tragic disease. It is written in the perspective of Alice, and with that, I felt like I could sympathise so much more with my Grandma and Grandad. It reminds you, that inside a person with dementia or alzheimer’s, there’s the same old person who just wants to be recognised as themselves.
  6. Quiet – Susan Cain
    Matt read this book and recommended it to me. In his words, it’s about being comfortable with being yourself – knowing you don’t have to a certain type of person, something else (an extrovert), to be successful. It’s really helped us communicate better understanding one another’s approaches and personality types. I could tell from the moment Matt read it, he felt far more confident about who he was – there’s not many things that can do that.
  7. Little Book of Lykke – Meik Wiking
    This was Julia’s recommendation! She’s told me to read it 1000 times and I swear I’ll do it soon Jules. It is written by the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. Lykke is the danish word for happiness and really delves into what it takes for us to be happy. Wiking takes us on a journey to some of the happiest places on earth and asks us to reflect and review what we’re doing in our life to be happy.
  8. The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck – Sarah Knight
    The concept of this book is so damn simple. Decide what you don’t give a fuck about and then don’t give a fuck. It’s simple, it’s empowering and it really gets you to hone in on what really matters to you and more importantly – what doesn’t!
  9. Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers
    This book really tests our anxiety and asks us how much it is controlling our lives. In fact, a certain amount of fear is a good thing according to Susan Jeffers, because we know how much could ride on it. It’s like a step by step guidebook helping us to understand fear, why we fear certain things and how to overcome it and get what you want out of life.
  10. #GIRLBOSS – Sophia Amoruso
    Another Jules recommendation. The real life story of Sophia Amoruso, a woman who started her life in a bad place. Shoplifting, scrounging, dropping out of school to turning her life around to be the #GIRLBOSS she is today (a CEO of a multi-million pound clothing company). Need we say more? We love S.I.W at Stop The World!


So there you have it, we have our reading list sorted for the next few months. Any other recommendations would be great. We’d love to do a part 2!

Keep going everyone, only one more working Monday left this month.

Love always,

Lauren & the STW team x

Positive of the day: We have some very exciting meetings in the calendar starting tomorrow about a potential partnership which we’re dying to tell you guys about.