From self-help to autobiographical and fictional, these five books explore the reality of black mental health.

Living While Black by Guilaine Kinouani | Waterstones

Living While Black: An Essential Guide To Overcoming Racial Trauma

By Guilaine Kinouani

UK-based Psychologist and Therapist Kinouani combines fifteen years of experience with case studies and in-depth research to give background on the black mental health experience. But this is more than just an acknowledgment of the mental health impact of racial trauma it’s an uplifting guide on how to protect our own mental health and find joy despite it.

Available on Amazon

Maybe I Don't Belong Here by David Harewood - 9781529064131 - Pan Macmillan

Maybe I Don’t Belong Here: A Memoir Of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery

By David Harewood

A black kid from Birmingham, an award-winning actor that’s shaken hands with Sidney Poitier, a man that’s been sectioned. Twice.

Maybe I Don’t Belong Here takes you on David’s journey of mental health crises and eventual recovery and success. From his earliest memories, he leads you through a life littered with happiness and shattering moments of racism. Shedding a light on how these events may have led to his eventual hospitalisation under the Mental Health Act.  

A deeply personal and poignant memoir of struggling to feel whole when you’re Black and British.

Available on Amazon


I'm Telling the Truth, But I'm Lying: Essays: Ikpi, Bassey:  9780062698346: Books

I’m Telling The Truth But I’m Lying: Essays

By Bassey Ikpi

A Nigerian- American Immigrant, spoken word artist, and advocate for mental health awareness, Ikpi chronicles her life before and after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety.

This collection of personal essays navigates the way mental health is inextricably linked with who we are and how we live. Through the lens of Ikpi’s experiences it leads us to confront the stories, and lies, we often tell ourselves to make sense of the world around us and our place in it.

Available on Amazon

You Are Your Best Thing By Tarana Burke and Brené Brown – Get Lit with Paula

You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience and the Black Experience: An Anthology

Edited by Tarana Burke and Brene Brown

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Tarana Burke was having heartfelt discussions with black people, with most of them echoing the same feelings, ‘I can’t take any more of this,’ I can’t watch this…’

But in the public space, the dominant conversation was around how black people could help white people to understand racism. There wasn’t a space for black humanity. For black people to just feel.

In You Are The Best Thing, Tarana and Brene Brown bring together the voices and stories of Black writers, organizers, artists, academics, and cultural figures such as Laverne Cox, Kiese Laymon, Imani Perry, Jason Reynolds, and Austin Channing Brown, to explore black vulnerability in the modern world.

Available on Amazon

The Fat Lady Sings

The Fat Lady Sings

By Jacqueline Roy

Slightly older than the others on this list, The Fat Lady Sings was re-published this year as part of Penguin’s Writing Back: Black Britain series and is well worth a read.

Roy’s fictional novel follows Gloria and Merle, two young black women living in a psychiatric facility in 90s London. Failed by a system meant to protect them, the two women share their stories in journals and whispers. The Fat Lady Sings paints an honest, hopeful, and darkly funny portrait of mental health for black women in Britain.

Roy builds on her own experiences to tackle the stigma around mental health in the black community.

Available on Amazon

If you enjoyed this you may also like 3 reasons I read-historical fiction