Vital Books

Recommendations from Kimberly

After spending many years reading copious books on mental illness, I found myself drawn to a few that really spoke to the way my heart responded to my children. Not all the books in this category emphasize the things we can be doing at home that can facilitate health and healing. Yet, we are the ones who love so deeply and care so much! We are the ones watching our children suffer every single day! Whether times are at relative rest, or in their most tumultuous, we need specific ways to communicate with our precious children that will help us in building up our relationships and in speaking the language that will touch their hearts, soothe their minds, and lead to healing.

Please look beyond the titles… I believe these extraordinary books provide invaluable wisdom, comprehensive knowledge, and empathetic guidance for loving and encouraging hurting souls. Most of these authors write with a passion and sensitivity born of their own painful experiences. I continue to be grateful for the strength and support these vital lifelines have given me.

Out of all I’ve read, I believe these six books represent the best of the best:

The Essential Library

The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs
by Dr. Stephen Ilardi, Ph.D.

I believe this excellent book should be read by everyone. Not only essential for helping those who live with depression, the principles Dr. Ilardi prescribes are also key to managing stress. His chapter on the light box is worth the price of the book!*

How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person’s Guide to Suicide Prevention
by Susan Rose Blauner.

A powerful title introduces a profound book brimming with help, heart, and hope. The author speaks to the suicidal thinker, but we who love them can reap much benefit in the reading. She devotes a chapter to “Helping the Suicidal Thinker.” I highly recommend this book.

Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder: A Family Guide for Healing and Change
by Valerie Porr, M.A.

Exceptional content, incredibly thorough, and genuinely instructive, this substantial work imparts compassion and beautifully teaches emotional language.

Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner
by Julie A. Fast and John D. Preston, Psy.D.

Again, the reach extends beyond the title. Facts and particulars not commonly mentioned elsewhere are included. This book outlines creative ideas for healthy, proactive cooperation.

Comprehensive Book on Mental Illness

Helping Someone with Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Family, Friends, and Caregivers
by Rosalynn Carter.

Although older (so some treatment, statistics, and legal information is not up-to-date), this straightforward and sensitive book remains a superb first encounter with the broad range of issues related to mental illness. It covers basic definitions, prevalence, national perspectives, stigma, various disorders, encouragement for caregivers, questions about prevention, advocacy, and more.

General Parenting Book

Between Parent and Child: The Best Selling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication
by Dr. Haim Ginott, revised and updated (2003) by Dr. Alice Ginott and Dr. H. Wallace Goddard.

I hunted and read countless books to find one that teaches such compassionate parenting. His principles will benefit all families, yet dovetail perfectly with the guidance given to meet the needs of our children with emotional disorders. I recommend this book no matter what age children are. (He has a parent and teen version, but I still prefer this one.) I regularly suggest this book to parents of younger children, knowing that if mental illness or troubled teen years arise, they will be well equipped.

*Research indicates people with bipolar disorder risk increased chance of mania with lightbox usage. Consult with professional before use.

Additional Offerings

How to Cope When Your Loved One Is in the Psychiatric Hospital by Kimberly Griffin


Only $3.59 at Amazon

How to Help and Encourage Your Child Who Has Been Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression, or Borderline Personality Disorder: Speaking to the Heart of Your Hurting Child by Kimberly Griffin


Only $7.99 at Amazon

Read our featured Articles

Check out our other recommended Resources