Childhood Mental Health is a topic that is often misunderstood and overlooked. However, it is important to address your child or teen’s mental health to help lower their anxiety and worry, and manage their big emotions.
If you are looking for books or resources related to healing trauma, social thinking, or emotional regulation, then look no further!
In this blog post, we will discuss the top books and resources that we recommend for you, your child, or your teen. We hope that this information will help you and your family on your journey toward improved mental health!
4 Mental Health Books Child Psychologists Recommend
The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Trauma and Adversity
by Nadine Burke Harris
The Deepest Well is about the psychological, social, and physical impacts of childhood trauma over a lifetime. The book has a chapter that focuses on real life experiences of trauma followed by a chapter on the brain science and research on the impacts of ACEs.
This book is an emotional read that allows older teens and adults to reflect on their personal experiences and make connections on how past trauma affects them and those they love.
Reclaim Your Life: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 7 Weeks
by Carissa Gustafson, PsyD
Reclaim Your Life helps guide individuals through seven principles of ACT. The book teaches and gives strategies for observing and detangling oneself from unhelpful thoughts, remaining in the moment, determining personal values, and committing to actions that support personal values.
Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting Over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts
by Sally M. Winston, PsyD & Martin N. Seif, PhD
This is a good book for adults and older teens who are struggling with obsessive/intrusive thoughts and repetitive compulsions. Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts educates individuals on the difference between the Worried Mind, False Comfort Mind, and Wise Mind.
We like that the authors are not attempting to get you to stop, change or control your thoughts/feelings, but gives the reader the power to understand and make choices about intrusive thoughts.
The ACT Workbook for Teens with OCD
by Zurita Ona
This is a workbook for children and adolescents from 10-18, who are experiencing intrusive thoughts and compulsive responses to these thoughts. The ACT Workbook for Teens with OCD is also a good source for parents or guardians who are trying to understand the repetitive behaviors they are observing in their child.
We like this book because it allows the reader to become an expert on the types of obsessive/intrusive thoughts and the reasons for their compulsions. ACT principles are utilized to help them to understand how they are being “hooked” by thoughts and that there is always a “choice point” regarding their values and committed actions.
3 SocialThinking® Resources Child Psychologists Recommend
Socially Curious and Curiously Social: A Social Thinking Guidebook for Bright Teens and Young Adults
by Michelle Garcia Winner & Pamela Crooke
You Are a Social Detective! Explaining Social Thinking to Kids
by Michelle Garcia Winner & Pamela Crooke
Superflex Takes on Glassman and the Team of Unthinkables
by Stephanie Madrigal & Michelle Garcia Winner
These materials were developed by Michelle Garcia Winner and they help children and adolescents understand the concept of the Theory of the Mind: the idea that our behaviors and choices lead to thoughts and feelings in others.
Socializing with others is a complex and abstract process that develops overtime. Those who struggle with social interactions, act impulsively, or have trouble with taking the perspective of others benefit from learning a systematic process or equation for improving interactions (e.g., unexpected/expected behaviors = positive/negative thoughts and feelings in others = positive/negative reactions by others = positive/negative thoughts and feelings in us).
We like how the SocialThinking materials help simplify the complexities of socialization, develop a child’s emotional intelligence, and are fun and inviting for children.
8 Emotional Regulation Resources Child Psychologists Recommend
Coping Skills for Kids Workbook: Over 75 Coping Strategies to Help Kids Deal with Stress, Anxiety and Anger
by Janine Halloran
Coping Skills for Kids Workbook is a great resource for tangible strategies for dealing with feelings (i.e., anger, stress, anxiety, sadness, etc.). We like how the author breaks the strategies down into four types of coping skills: calming, distracting, physical, and processing.
The book is a step-by-step guide and a one stop shop for all types of coping strategies. There are also directions for making your own calming tools, such as pinwheels, calming jar, homemade lava lamp, etc.
These are wonderful books for younger children that build self-esteem and help with the identification of emotions. They demonstrate how everyone is unique but also valuable in their own way.
Some of them include feelings posters and the characters are simple and lovable. Children fall in love with these books, and they are great tools for encouraging positive emotions and self-confidence.
Baxter Turns Down His Buzz: A Story for Little Kids About ADHD
by James M. Foley, Illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez
Both books address the impact that ADHD has on a child in a sensitive and loving way. They do not frame ADHD as a disability but as a unique attribute of the characters.
They teach practical ways to think about hyperactivity and inattention and demonstrate the unconditional love that the parental figures have for the main characters.
What Should Danny Do? (The Power to Choose Series)
by Adir Levy & Ganit Levy, Illustrated by Mat Sadler
These are books about how we can choose to make helpful and hurtful choices in all aspects of life. They are for elementary aged children, and they are great books for discussing how choices influence the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of others.
We like these books because they build self-respect while empowering children to care for others.