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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: Exploring the personal nature of psychiatric illness, this book examines both professional and lay perceptions of mental health disorders, often using powerful personal accounts from individuals living with and through the experience.
Purpose: In an effort to educate the community about the discrimination individuals with mental illness face, the author shares both enlightening research from many "cultured" societies and personal experience from over 20 years treating psychiatric illness in the United Kingdom.
Audience: While educational and illuminating for anyone who has a relative or friend suffering from a mental health disorder, this book is remarkably revealing about the professions treating these individuals, and is invaluable for those in the mental health community, including social workers, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, and case managers.
Features: This author addresses issues confronted by those with psychiatric diagnoses on a daily basis. Some of these include relationships with family, spouses, children, and friends, interactions with the healthcare system and social supports, experiences in the workplace, and media coverage of mental illness, to name a few. Each chapter is extensively referenced, and the author has included his suggestions for reducing the discrimination faced by individuals with psychiatric illnesses.
Assessment: Those treating individuals with mental illnesses should not be surprised by the suggestion that these people routinely suffer discrimination and alienation based on their diagnoses. Yet, when personalized and illustrated to reveal the human aspect of their struggles, the practices become more real and disturbing to the reader. What is even more troubling is research suggesting mental health professionals, those supposedly working for and with these individuals, share many of the same perceptions and attitudes as those who are not as educated about the conditions. Anyone treating people with psychiatric conditions should read this book to provide a greater understanding of the challenges those with mental illness face day after day.