Breaking the Silence: Mental Health Professionals Disclose Their Personal and Family Experiences of Mental Illness

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People with mental illness are far too often subjected to discrimination and unfair treatment. It is particularly unfortunate that much of this stigmatization comes from the very people they depend upon for help—those in the mental health professions. Too many practitioners and scientists maintain "us-versus-them" attitudes and are extremely reluctant to admit any personal or family experiences of mental illness. This culture of concealment must change, and this book will change it. A groundbreaking collection of moving and inspiring stories of serious mental disorder from trainees, clinicians, and scientists in the mental-health professionals, Breaking the Silence is the first book to reveal the deep commonalities between patients and professionals. With an unprecedented level of honesty and disclosure, the contributors tell their own and their families' stories of mental disorder. Renowned psychologist Steve Hinshaw—who previously disclosed his own family's struggles with misdiagnosed bipolar disorder and who has synthesized the world literature on the stigma of mental illness—integrates, synthesizes, and provides perspective on these revealing stories. As they relate their personal and family histories, the contributors also describe the serious impairments that can accrue, the strength and courage that can be derived, and the influence these experiences have had on their own decisions to enter the mental health field. Moving in its honesty, frank in its disclosures, and sensitive in its portrayals, Breaking the Silence will be a beacon for those in the mental health professions, trainees across the many related fields, family members, and anyone who is dealing with mental illness. Its stark stories of pain, denial, and impairment, along with its clear messages of hope, courage, and resilience, will inspire for years to come.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Hinshaw's interesting and valuable collection of narratives will appeal to a variety of audiences, including academics who are interested in understanding the phenomenology of mental illness, its treatment, and its socio-institutional administration, government officials developing health care policy, and people who live close to mental illness."—Metapsychology Online Reviews

"The sincere, personal accounts of mental illness disclosed in this book stand in stark contrast to the stereotypes so often depicted in other media, particularly the popular press. Told from the perspective of mental health professionals, who have had personal and family experiences with mental illness, these compelling stories shed light on the stigma that pervades our culture and shapes the attitudes of many, including some who work in the mental health field....This book carries with it the capacity for fostering a new culture of openness and disclosure in the mental health field, and should be read by veterans and newcomers alike."—Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195320268
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/8/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen P. Hinshaw is Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. An international expert in the field of developmental psychopathology, he has authored over 175 articles and chapters in the scientific literature as well as three prior books. He is Associate Editor of the journal Development and Psychopathology and is past president of the International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology and the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Society, the American Psychological Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Kelly. They have three boys ranging in age from 4 through 20.

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Table of Contents

Introduction. Stephen P. Hinshaw
1. My Story is one of Loss, Laura B. Mason
2. Finding my Mind, Ruth White
3. A Field Agent in our Midst, Tara Peris
4. Laura's Story: Making Sense of and Deriving Meaning from her Life with Mental Illness, Elizabeth B. Owens
5. In My Voice: Speaking out about Mental Health and Stigma, Jeffrey Liew
6. Columbus Day, 1994: A New World, Kay S. Browne
7. The Meaning of Mental Health (and Other LessonsLearned), Mark S. Atkins
8. Memories of Parental Decompensation, Theodore P. Beauchaine
9. Weeping Mother, Jarralynne Agee
10. The Game with No Rules: A Sibling Confronts Mental Illness, Jessica Borelli
11. Reverberations, Peter E. Nathan
12. "He Just Can't Help It": My Struggle with My Father's Struggle with Bipolar Disorder, Esme A. Londahl-Shaller
13. Performing Human, Janet Lucas
14. The Legacy of Loss: Depression as a Family Affair, Carolyn Zahn-Waxler
Closing Thoughts. Stephen Hinshaw

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