This is a guest blog by PAPYRUS supporter JBabbs, who talks about 5 self-help books for coping with mental distress.

According to 2019 statistics from the Mental Health Foundation, there were more than 6,524 suicides in the UK. If left unchecked, mental distress can cause hopelessness, anxiety, feelings of isolation, and thoughts of suicide. I can only encourage anyone who struggling with these thoughts to reach out for help or at least consider acquiring self-help materials. Here are five self-help books that can ease your struggles.

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön

If circumstantial problems are making you think that you’ll never be able to find a way out, know that you’re not alone. It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed and paralysed when you’re faced with enormous challenges in life. In When Things Fall Apart, author Pema Chödrön, an American Tibetan Buddhist, writes about the importance of accepting non-permanence and change. The main takeaway for the text: things in this world come together, and they fall apart too. In a way, such an idea is comforting, because then you will be able to relax into the groundlessness and ambiguity of life.

How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Dr. Nicole LePera

Dr. Nicole LePera found herself frustrated by traditional psychotherapy, and wanted to help her patients more. To do so, she began a journey to develop an advanced philosophy of mental, physical, and spiritual wellness that equips people with the interdisciplinary tools to heal themselves. How to Do the Work is the results of her research, where she teaches us that trauma can live with us and keep us stuck in self-sabotaging patterns. She also offers tools that will allow readers to break free from destructive behaviours and recreate their lives the way they want to.

Rising Strong by Brené Brown

Rising Strong was written by social scientist Brené Brown, who has sparked conversations on changing your perspective in life. She listened to the stories of leaders of Fortune 500 companies, artists, couples, teachers, parents, and many others. All shared moments of courage and downfalls, but the common denominator among these people was that they were able to rise above once again. She elaborates on the power of vulnerability and bravery, and how the ups and downs of life can bring about joy, love, and belonging. And recognising that the bad comes with some good is a calming notion.

Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts by Guy Winch

Failed relationships in all forms often drive people to a heightened emotional state, but some struggle to recover more than others. People with existing mood disorders or recurring mental health issues are at greater risk for developing depression. Emotional First Aid offers scientific research-based mental first aid, as well as real-life examples to help you build yourself back up. For Guy Winch, who is a practising psychologist, emotional wellness is prasticed — we must take care of our minds just as we take care of our bodies.

Learned Hopefulness by Dan Tomasulo

If you’ve been struggling with your mental health for quite a while, advice on ‘staying positive’ might be the last thing you want to hear. However, Dan Tomasulo’s Learned Hopefulness is grounded in evidence-based positive psychology and provides actionable guidelines on leaving negativity behind. His work helps you get rid of self-limiting beliefs that diminish your capacity for positivity and, in turn, increase feelings of motivation, resiliency, and overall wellness. Learned Hopefulness might just surprise you and help you break free from hopelessness.

These self-help books cover a wide range of topics, so you will hopefully find one that will be beneficial to you. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, you can contact HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, via text on 88247 or via email on

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