Black Mental Health Matters

Although mental and behavioral health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity; African Americans sometimes experience more severe forms of mental and behavioral health conditions due to barriers such as their zip code, economic resources, and more.  African Americans are actually 10% more likely to experience serious psychological distress, according to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

In partnership with Dayton Metro Library, we now offer reading lists to anyone interested in learning more about Black Mental Health, in addition to potential readings to add to your list for children regarding race.

Reading List to Help with Overall Black Mental Health Education:

  • The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health: Navigate an Unequal System, Learn Tools for Emotional Wellness, and Get the Help you Deserve, by Rheeda Walker PhD
  • Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting, by Terrie M. Williams
  • Black Men and Depression: Saving our Lives, Healing our Families and Friends, by John Head
  • Black Mental Health Matters: The Ultimate Guide for Mental Health Awareness in the Black Community, by Aaren Snyder
  • Black Women's Mental Health: Balancing Strength and Vulnerability, by Stephanie Y. Evans
  • Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, by Joy a Degruy
  • Black Therapists Rock: A Glimpse Through the Eyes of Experts, by Deran Young
  • Soothe Your Nerves: The Black Woman's Guide to Understanding and Overcoming Anxiety, Panic, and Fearz, by Angela Neal-Barnett PhD
  • Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America, by Charisee Jones
  • Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength, by Chanequa Walker-Barnes
  • Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves, by Glory Edim

Reading List for Children About Race and Inclusion:

  • 'Chocolate Me!' by Taye Diggs and Shane W. Evans
  • 'The Snowy Day' by Ezra Jack Keats
  • 'Peter's Chair' by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron
  • 'Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story' by Ruby Bridges
  • 'I Love My Hair' by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley,' Illustrations by E.B. Lewis
  • 'The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales' by Virginia Hamilton
  • Penny and the Magic Puffballs by Alonda Williams
  • 'Amazing Grace' by Mary Hoffman
  • Happy to Be Nappy (Jump at the Sun)
  • 'Something Beautiful' by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
  • 'Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters' by Barack Obama
  • 'Twintuition: Double Vision' by Tia and Tamera Mowry
  • 'Neon Aliens Ate My Homework And Other Poems' by Nick Cannon
  • 'Pass It On: African American Poetry for Children' by Wade Hudson
  • 'Monster' by Walter Dean Myers
  • 'Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen,' Illustrations by Kadir Nelson
  • Please, Baby, Please, by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
  • Heart Picked: Elizabeth’s Adoption Tale, by Sara Crutcher
  • Mixed Me! by Taye Diggs
  • Happy! by Pharrell Williams
  • Happy Hair, by Mechal Renee Roe
  • I’m A Pretty Little Black Girl! by Betty K. Bynum
  • Emi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair, by Tina Olajide
  • Big Hair, Don’t Care, by Crystal Swain-Bates
  • I Am Enough by Grace Byers 

We encourage you to visit the Dayton Metro Library to explore further books and academia on these issues. Please note, Dayton Metro Library may not have each book listed. Please check their website to see if they have the book you are interested in, in stock at

black mental health resource