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Senate House Library

Celebrating Mental Health Awareness week 2023 with the Senate House Library Wellbeing Collection


Written by
Emma Fitzpatrick, Serial and Digital Resources Coordinator

For Mental Health Awareness Week we recommend some titles from our Wellbeing Collection to support you if you are struggling with anxiety

This week is Mental Health Awareness week, an initiative from the Mental Health Foundation which aims to break down the stigma around mental illness and promote the importance of looking after our mental health. The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness week is anxiety. Anxiety is a natural response to stressful situations which we all experience from time to time, but it can get out of control and affect our mental health. Living with anxiety can be very difficult but if you are struggling with worries and anxious thoughts there are things that you can try to help you cope with those feelings. For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week The Mental Health Foundation has published an article offering tips on What can we do to cope with feelings of anxiety?

The Senate House Library Wellbeing Collection also offers books and resources to help if you or someone close to you is struggling with anxiety. To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Day, let us take a closer look at some of the items from this collection related to anxiety.


The covers of four books (left to right): Overcoming Anxiety, Anxiety is really strange, How can I help and Must try harder

A closer look at some items related to anxiety from the SHL Wellbeing Collection

Overcoming anxiety : a self-help guide to using cognitive behavioural techniques / Helen Kennerley

Overcoming Anxiety is a self-help guide which teaches Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) based techniques that readers can use to manage their worries and feelings of anxiety. CBT is a kind of talking therapy which was developed in the 1960s by Professor Aaron T. Beck to help people struggling with depression. CBT has since been proven to be an effective treatment for other mental illnesses, including anxiety. In Overcoming Anxiety, Helen Kennerley, who is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with over twenty-five years of professional experience practicing CBT, shares techniques and exercises that she teaches in her own clinical practice to help readers develop practical ways to deal with feelings, thoughts and behaviours which create and maintain feelings of anxiety.

This book is part of the Overcoming Series which offers self-help guides designed to teach CBT based techniques and exercises to help people suffering from a range of mental and physical health problems in an accessible book-based format. We have a number of other books from this series in the Senate House Library Wellbeing Collection including Overcoming social anxiety and shyness, Overcoming health anxiety, Overcoming worry and generalised anxiety disorder and Overcoming depression.

Anxiety is really strange / Steve Haines ; art by Sophie Standing (eBook)

This beautifully illustrated comic examines the complex causes of anxiety and the varied ways that it manifests in different people. This book asks and offers answers to important questions such as what is the difference between fear and anxiety and can anxiety ever be a good thing? Anxiety is really strange then goes on to explore some research-based tools which sufferers can try to manage their feelings of anxiety. The graphic nature of this guide, combined with the skills of Haines and Standing as writer and illustrator, help to make these complex ideas feel more accessible without oversimplifying. Written with a compassionate understanding of how difficult it is to experience anxiety and panic attacks, Anxiety is really strange offers an accessible and engaging guide to help readers learn more about where feelings of anxiety come from and what practical steps they can take to help them cope with these feelings.

How can I help? : 8 ways to support someone you care about with an anxiety or obsessional problem / Lauren Callaghan

When someone you love is struggling with anxiety it can be easy to feel powerless and overwhelmed. How can I help offers information and tools to help you support a family member, partner or friend who is suffering from anxiety or obsessional problems. The author of this book, Lauren Callaghan is a highly regarded clinical psychologist with many years of professional experience working in the field of anxiety, OCD and BDD. In this book, Callaghan explores what anxiety is and describes the different types of anxiety and obsessional disorders – although she emphasises that a person does not need to have been diagnosed with one of these disorders to struggle with anxiety or obsessional problems. She then goes on to talk about what you can do to support your anxious friend or family member. Callaghan is also keen to stress the importance of caring for yourself whilst caring for a loved one and offers practical advice on how to look after your own mental health and wellbeing so that you can continue to help them.

Must try harder : adventures in anxiety / by Paula McGuire

For the first thirty years of Paula McGuire’s life she suffered from social anxiety that was so severe that she struggled to leave the house. Then McGuire decided to challenge herself and her feelings of anxiety, starting with trying all 17 of the Commonwealth games sports! Must try harder follow’s McGuire’s adventures – from learning to paraglide to offering free hugs on a busy street in Glasgow– and shares the good and the bad of each of these experiences. This witty memoir shows the positive effect that trying new things and saying yes to new experiences has had on McGuire’s mental health. Offering both honesty and optimism, Must try harder is a story full of hope which could help any readers experiencing anxiety to feel less alone. As McGuire says in the closing chapter of this book “while anxiety makes life hard, adventure makes living possible.”
This book is part of the personal stories section of our wellbeing collection which offers books written by authors who have experienced challenges to their own mental health or sense of wellbeing and are sharing these experiences in their writing. You can find more items for the personal stories section of the Senate House Library Wellbeing Collection on the SHL Wellbeing Collection website.

Find out more

If you would like to explore the Senate House Library Wellbeing Collection further you can find a list of all the titles in this collection on the SHL Wellbeing Collection webpage. You are also welcome to browse the collection, which is shelved on the fourth floor of Senate House Library near the entrance gates. We regularly add new items to this collection so if you would like to recommend a book or if you have any comments that you would like to share with us, you can get in touch using our feedback form or by emailing

Photo of a shelf from the Senate House Library Wellbeing Collection