Autobiographical accounts of mental illness: Many individuals with mental illnesses have written books that describe their experiences. Such books can help others to more fully understand what the experience of mental illness is like and how people with mental illnesses have been treated..

Biographical accounts of mental illness: Books in this section have been written by others about the lives, or parts of the lives, of people with mental illnesses. Some of them are written by family members and thus reveal not only the experiences of the individual with a mental illness but also the issues confronted by family members when mental illnesses occur.

Informational books about specific disorders: Books in this section provide information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of specific mental disorders. Most of the ones selected are intended for a lay rather than a professional audience.

Books about issues in the mental health field: Rather than focus on specific disorders, the books in this section address issues in mental health--for example, deinstitutionalization, stigma, psychiatric malpractice.

Books about mental illness and the media: Books in this section provide information about issues related to mental illness and media portrayal.

Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health:  In December of 1999, the first ever Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health was released.  This historic document identifies mental health as a public health issue of great importance, summarizes the scientific evidence relating to psychiatric disorders and their treatments, and identifies the barriers to improved mental health care.  This was followed by two other important reports, "Mental Health: Culture, race, and ethnicity" and the "Surgeon General's Report on Children's Mental Health."

President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health:  In 2003, the New Freedom Commission issued its report to the President on mental health.  The report listed as Goal #1 for improving mental health care:  "Advance and implement a national campaign to reduce the stigma of seeking care and a national strategy for suicide prevention."  One result of that report has been the initiation of a National Mental Health Anti-Stigma Campaign, with the theme,  "What a difference a friend makes."