9 Great Gifts for Someone in Mental Health Recovery

It’s holiday-shopping time, that wonderful time of the year where we mull over what those on our lists would like to receive as a gift. If you know someone who is in mental health recovery, you might want to give them a meaningful gift that will help them through a difficult time of life. Check out this list of nine great gifts to give someone in mental health recovery.

1. Relaxation CDs or MP3s

Many people who are struggling with a mental health issue need to find ways to relax and cope with their strong emotions. A relaxation CD or MP3 is a great gift. These come in many varieties, from those filled with nature sounds and instrumental music to ones with a soothing voice guiding the listener toward calm through guided meditation or progressive muscular relaxation. This type of gift can relieve stress and temporarily lessen the symptoms of the mental health disorder.

2. A High-Quality Pillow

People who struggle with anxiety, depression, addiction, or other types of mental health conditions often also struggle with sleep deficiency. To add insult to injury, those who are dealing with sleep deficiency often notice an increase in the symptoms associated with their mental health disorder. This creates a cycle that is hard to escape from. A high-quality pillow might help your loved one stop tossing and turning and instead get the sleep that they need.

3. Exercise Equipment

Another facet of good health that can be particularly important for someone with a mental health condition is exercise. Everyone should get some exercise each day, preferably 30 minutes to an hour. If your loved one is struggling with a mental health condition, however, they might not be able to get to the gym or even feel like they can leave the house. A workout DVD, a  yoga mat, or some other type of equipment that they can use at their house to stay fit and get the exercise they need could be not only appreciated, but also helpful to their recovery.

4. A Meaningful Piece of Jewelry

A person who is in mental health recovery and dealing with strong emotions might choose a word or phrase to focus on. If you know that your friend or relative has done this, consider getting them a bracelet, necklace, or keyring with that phrase inscribed on it. A meaningful quote or poem could also be useful. It will give your loved one something to focus on and will act as a reminder that you care and want to see them get better. If you don’t know what word would be meaningful to the person, consider just choosing an inspiring word of your own, such as courage, strength, or love.

5. A Journal and a Nice Pen

Many people who are in mental health recovery are encouraged to journal. They can write down things that they’re grateful for, how they are working through tough feelings, and small achievements of the day. Find a journal that has an inspirational quote or that is your loved one’s favorite color. A nice pen that won’t skip and that writes smoothly can make writing in the journal a joy rather than a chore.

6. Pampering Items

Along with relaxation, your loved one who is struggling with mental illness deserves some pampering. Think about what they’d like best: Do they love the beach? Maybe you could promise to drive them to the beach one Saturday per month for all of 2018. They might enjoy spa-at-home items like shower gel, a new shower pouf, a fluffy towel, and some nice-smelling cream. Nail polish, a new beard trimmer, or other luxurious personal supplies can also be appreciated.

7. Comfort Items

In addition, think of what makes people feel warm and comfortable. A new bathrobe, a warm blanket, fuzzy socks, and a candle that smells like something sweet baking can help your loved one feel comforted when they are dealing with hard emotions or a rough day. Sweet treats (in moderation, of course!) might also be welcome, depending on their preferred diet; consider gourmet coffee, a bar of high-quality chocolate, a make-your-own-sundae kit, or creamy hot cocoa.

8. Meals or Restaurant Gift Cards

One thing that many people recovering from any illness, particularly a mental illness, don’t want to do is cook dinner. How nice it is for the person to get home after a day at work or treatment to find a hot dinner ready and waiting for them. You can provide this in a variety of ways. For example, you could simply cook some meals and bring them over, either all at once to go in the freezer or one day per week for a certain number of weeks. You could also send a restaurant gift card to allow them to get takeout without straining their budget. Or sign them up for a service that delivers ready-to-heat food. Either way, they will appreciate the delicious and thoughtful gesture.

9. An Encouraging Letter

Finally, some people with mental illness may feel like no one cares. Make sure your loved one in mental health recovery doesn’t feel this way by writing them a heartfelt, encouraging letter letting them know how proud you are of them. It takes courage and strength to defeat a mental health condition, and your note can let them know that you recognize those features in them. That’s something that they can save and look back on anytime they’re having a tough day or even years down the road, long after they’ve gotten through the recovery process.


Sending a gift to someone who has been dealing with a mental health condition is a thoughtful and loving thing to do. If they are currently in a mental health recovery center, be sure that you know the rules of what you can and cannot send. Once they’re home, however, think about what might make their journey easier and try to provide that. It’s even better if you can deliver it in person because it will provide them with the additional gift of socializing and laughter, which are both encouraging and vital to someone in recovery.

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