• ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology
  • ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology


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Other Mental Health Self Help pages

Mental Health America - 9 Ideas for non-drug mental health self-help

Self Help for Bipolar Disorder

Self Help for Mental Health - 16 Keys


Books on Depression
and Depression Self Help

Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You by Richard O'Connor

Undoing Depression is "Essential reading for anyone who suffers from depression", states Howard Smith, Director of Operations, Mood Disorders Support Group. The book is researched based and the writing style is compassionate.

Conquering Depression and Anxiety Through Exercise by Keith W. Johnsgard

Recovery from mental health disorders is possible. Your chances of remission and recovery are greatly enhanced if you incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routine. Exercise is part of a holistic approach to depression self-help. It is proven in clinical studies to lead to lessening of symptoms of light, moderate and major depression.

Living with Depression: why Biology and Biography Matter Along the Path to Hope and Healing by Debora Serani

This book explains depression in terms of human biology as well as in terms of individual experience without minimizing either aspect. Many times authors concentrate on one or the other, while, in fact, depression results from a combination of nature and nurture, not one or the other.

Living with Depression provides a holistic view and solution to depression. It also discusses stigma and mental illness. Based on review in NAMI Advocate, Fall 2011.

Meeting the Challenge of Bipolar Disorder: Self Help Strategies that Work!, by the Association for Natural Psychology, Gabrielle Woods PhD (Editor), Laura Pipoly (Foreword)

Self help for bipolar disorder that works.

Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Page updated: November 21, 2015

--------------Mental Illness Recovery

by Marguerite Adelman
from NAMI, New York
Champlain Valley, New York State.

In my work at the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Champlain Valley, I think of the enemy as mental illness. I understand how hard it is to recover when your brain is working against you, but over the years, I've learned much on my own personal and professional journey about recovering from mental illness.

Recovery from mental health disorders is possible with hard work, lifstyle changes and support.

Shift Needed from "Medical Model" to Personal Responsibility

First, individuals must stop relying on the "medical/pharmaceutical" model to cure them. There isn't a magic pill or super doctor/clinician who will make everything better and the emotional pain go away completely.

This paradigm shift from the "medical/pill" model to "self-responsibility" is a difficult one, given society's need for a quick fix and the prolific amount of advertising that we see for prescription drugs. I'm not saying that medication and therapy aren't important, I'm simply saying that those of us with a mental illness really have to do much of our own work.

Self Education on Mental Health is Needed

We must educate ourselves about our illnesses and the available treatments. It means we must read, talk to others, do research, and learn as much as we can about what works and doesn't work in treating our illness. Only then can we speak intelligently with our doctors and therapists about what we want and need. We should view our relationship with our doctor and/or therapist as a partnership.

Mental Health Support Network

We must build a support network. Meeting and talking with other mental health consumers saves us time on the road to recovery and helps us feel less alone and isolated. We can learn much from others about systems of care,alternative treatments, and self advocacy.

While groups aren't for everyone, they can be a wonderful asset for those who don't have the natural supports of family and friends. We must look at ourselves as our own personal science projects. We need to monitor our moods, sleep patterns, and nutrition. We need to track how we are reacting to medications if we choose to take them.

Each of us needs to determine what works for us and what doesn't and then devise our own "wellness plan" and most importantly, stick with that plan and alter it as needed. Recovery is a life-long process.

Self Help and Therapy - Overcome Negative Thoughts and Beliefs

Part of that process is challenging our thoughts and beliefs. When the enemy is warping our perceptions, we need to fight against the negative thoughts that are bombarding us. This is the hardest and most honest work that we will do. We can do some of this work with a therapist, but most of it we will do very minute of every day and on our own. Those irrational thoughts and false beliefs need to be addressed and new, more positive message put in their place. Self Help for Mental Health

Keep a Journal for Organizing Thoughts and Mental Health Therapy

Many individuals find that journaling helps them to get in touch with the irrational thoughts that are triggering the symptoms of their illness. Others find that posting positive messages on the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, or near the phone are helpful reminders. Try smiling at everyone you meet or laughing just for the fun of it.

Exercise and Avoiding Isolation - Avoid "Institutionalized Helplessness"

We need to get in touch with our bodies, other people, and the earth around us. When we are depressed, we don't feel much like exercising or getting out.

Ironically, we often need to do the opposite of what we feel.

  • Get up and dressed.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Take a[n]...exercise class.
  • Garden.
  • Volunteer.
  • Call friends and family.
  • Go to work.
  • Help others.
  • In short, get out of our heads and live fully in the moment!

    We also need to get back into the mainstream of life as soon as we are able.

    For a long time, people with serious and, especially, severe and persistent mental illnesses were led to believe that they could never recover and lead a "normal" life after they became ill. "Institutionalized helplessness" was the result. Today, we know that recovery is not a pipe dream.

    Conclusion - Mental Health Recovery - NAMI

    There is no last point that I believe is key to the recovery process.We must believe that we have the power to change ourselves and we must let go of the past.We cannot change the past or anyone else, but we must believe in our own ability to change and grow. Through such growth, we can recognize the enemy---mental illness and work at eradicating its outposts in our mind.

    With grateful acknowledgement to NAMI-New York State, and to the Executive Director. News. Summer/Fall 2008 No. 95 Page 14. Column: John Coon II, associate director. * Photo is of a model and does not relate to the contents of this site

    Pages Related to Mental Health Recovery

    Psychology History - Moral Management: Successful non-pharmaceutical holistic treatment for mental heath in the 1800's.

    Positive Psychology Movement - Penn State University

    Mental Health Treatment - A Closer Look at Psychopharmacology - Let the Buyer Beware! by Louis Kirby, MA

    Appeal to Mental Health Professionals for professional non-pharmaceutical treatment options and clinical studies

    Bioecological Model of mental health

    NAMI - Mental Health Disorder Recovery

    The Medical Model of mental health. Psychiatric labeling and what can be done to prevent stigma of mental illness.