Sistah Girls, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, the goal is to raise awareness and challenge ourselves to reduce the stigma surrounding behavioral health issues.

I’ve gathered some books by Black women that raise awareness and provide resources and tools for women who are currently dealing with mental health issues.

The Sugar Jar by Yasmine Cheyenne

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I came across excerpts from The Sugar Jar on social media first with people reposting positive notes on creating and maintaining healthy boundaries.

Soon after relating to many of the posts, I spent my coins. Rarely do I ever read the introduction (don’t judge me), this one had me highlighting and annotating from the very beginning, so I knew it was real.

My favorite quote from the book, so far: “Sometimes when your truth triggers others, their response is to try to create a reality where your truth doesn’t exist instead of doing the work of exploring why they’re triggered in the first place.”

It comes from the Toxic Positivity + Spiritual Bypassing section but it can apply to so many other situations. Listen, just get your highlighter and pencil ready, ok!

Positive You: A Personal Growth Journal for Women by Shelah Marie

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Positive You is an interactive journal that helps you dive deeper into your beliefs, discipline, and dreams.

It helps you get to your why. Why things were, are, and how they can be different. There are many activities in this journal that helped me, but the Self-Forgiveness Letter made me realize I had to forgive myself first before looking outward for anything tangible or receptive.

All About Love by bell hooks

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If there is one book, I was glad to jump on the bandwagon for, it’s bell hooks’ All About Love.

I like how hooks placed self-love first and romantic relationships towards the end. Society tells us too often to put everyone ahead of ourselves and places an extreme amount of pressure to secure a man or partner for a future.

hooks reinforces what love is and what it is not when it comes to self, family, friends, and romantic relationships. This is a great book to give to someone you love, but better when it’s filled with highlights and annotations. 

Well-Read Black Girl by Gloria Edim

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The book begins not with an introduction but a poem by Lucille Clifton whose last lines still sit with me today; “come celebrate with me that every day something has tried to kill me and has failed.”

I saw a little of myself in each of the author’s stories. One story in particular by Marita Golden entitled, Zora and Me, described my love and admiration for Zora Neale Hurston perfectly and what she taught us through her writing: “Zora did not teach me how to write. She taught me how to live, how to laugh, and how to love.”  

Life, I Swear by Chloe Dulce Louvouezo

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“The irony, the challenge, the faith, the resilience, the sweet manifestation, the ugly chaos, and the calm.”–Chloe Louvouezo. 

Before you decide to read any of the stories in this book, take a moment to flip through the pages and marvel at the sheer beauty of these Black women with a story to share. Amazing, right?

The stories are even better and I guarantee you will relate, learn or simply fall in love with at least one story. “Blackness is a spectrum”–Nneka Julia. 

Speak: Find Your Voice, Trust Your Gut, and Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Tunde Oyeneyin

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The only way we can make it in this life is if we use the voice the heavens lent us to advocate for ourselves and the intuition–that gut feeling, to do what’s best for us. Oyeneyin reminds us of that and our own capability. 

“What if everything we think we’re not capable of is an illusion?” What’s not an illusion is just as fiercely as we take on the ebbs and flows of life, we can look just as fierce with our favorite red lipstick.  

Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jane Allen

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I received a copy of this book when it was first published and revisited it for this listicle. I enjoyed reading now just as much as when I first read this book years before.

The main character, Tabitha, will take you on a familiar journey with life, love, career, and family; and how to balance it all. Tabitha reminds us that letting some things, people, and ideas go makes us lighter to finish the journey just a bit stronger. 


Some extra books to add to your shelf…

Sacred Pampering Principles by Debrena Jackson Gandy

Woosah: A Survival Guide for Women of Color Working in Corporate by Rahkal C.D. Shelton



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