Depression in teens is on the rise in America. If your teen is one of the over 3 million who struggles with depression or anxiety (or both), they can use every opportunity to give themselves a mental boost. Negative thinking from depression is hard to shake and can sap your teen’s confidence and energy.
For my teenager, we set limits on electronics and internet time because it can lead to further isolation and interfere with sleep. Sometimes it helps to take things old school. I’ve put together this list of uplifting books for your depressed teen.
They aren’t your typical self-help books. Each has fun illustrations and bite-sized motivational messages that even exhausted teens can digest.
My teenager enjoyed them, and I hope your teen will too. I’ve even looked at them myself when I needed a boost.
Of course these aren’t a substitute for proper medical treatment and therapy, but mental illness is a long road, and any strategies to help lift the spirits should be welcome. May these bring a little sunshine on dark days.
This post contains some affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you use them (at no cost to you). Full disclosure. Tips are based on personal experience and should not be considered medical advice. Full disclaimer.
Book Recommendations for Anxious or Depressed Teens
1. You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations and Mindfulness to Help With Anxiety and Depression
This motivational book includes tips for dealing with negative thoughts and getting through tough days. The author shares her own battle with depression in a relateable way that shows the reader they are not alone. Together with the whimsical illustrations, it’s no wonder this book is therapist recommended and has racked up so many 5-star reviews.
One reviewer writes: “The pictures are lovely, in and of themselves, but coupled with the phrases, this truly becomes a book that can help on the bad days. The phrases aren’t trite and meaningless, they don’t give platitudes like ‘Just try harder!’ or other such nonsense. It’s apparent that they were written by someone who understands the struggle but still finds the good. That makes it easier to find the goodness in yourself.”
Adorable illustrations from Chibird comics fill this book, along with positive messages, such as, “You are not a failure. You are still growing!”
The cute characters are sure to warm the heart and be a hit with teens. Flipping through the pages is like a virtual hug. It will light up the bookshelf. This one made my teenager smile, and I frequently find it in her bed.
Lin-Manuel Miranda – need I say more? Perfect for your Hamilton fan, this book captures the best of Miranda’s famous inspirational morning and evening tweets. Small poems with uplifting messages you can read again and again, such as:
“Good night now, and rest.
Today was a test.
You passed it, you’re past it.
Now breathe till unstressed.”
It reminds me of a Shel Silverstein book where joy is jumping off the page.
Cartoons from the illustrator of Introvert Doodles, this time giving a humorous look at life with anxiety. Those with mental illness know it can make such a big difference to know you’re not the only one going through these struggles. This book of supportive and encouraging cartoons is perfect for the anxious teen.
As one reviewer described, “I hugged this book when I finished it! Love love love this book! It’s like a warm hug from an understanding friend. It’s a short read, but something you can return to for comfort when you feel like no one gets it.”
Another book by Maureen Marzi Wilson that I could not resist including. Though not all teens with depression or anxiety are introverts, a good number are. This activity book teaches the introvert to embrace their inner awesomeness through fun exercises like drawing your own introvert mascot. It also gets you doing something, which can be a challenge when suffering from anxiety or depression.
That’s a wrap on my list of recommended books for teens with depression or anxiety. They are great for adults too.
I’d love to hear if any of them were a hit with you or your teen!