I like to read books about mental health. I find it fascinating to learn about the different things people experience and why. There’s always something you can learn about yourself from them too. Maybe you won’t find what you learn useful today, but there could be a day in the future where you can draw from this knowledge for help. You could end up being able to help someone else too. The title of this book- This book will change your mind about Mental Health– was enough to make me buy it; and boy did it deliver. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of mental health this World Mental Health Day give this a try.

What’s it about?

As the title suggests this book is about mental health. The author, previous to becoming a writer, worked as a mental health nurse, so has first hand experience working with people diagnosed with serious mental health disorders.

The main focus of this book is schizophrenia. That’s a word that scares a lot of people. Films, books, and TV have painted a picture of it as something to be feared. You initially think of people with split personality running around wanting to kill people. It’s a disorder that many don’t really know a lot about or understand, and this is where the fear comes from. This book aims to dispel some of the myths with the facts.

What’s the theory?

Well the book has case studies of different people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. This really shows the breadth of the disorder as they are all completely different and experience it in different ways with differing symptoms. It ranges from people who were diagnosed in the past with the disorder and now don’t suffer with any symptoms, living life prescription free. Then there are stories of those who weren’t lucky enough to make it through their darkest period. The case studies really help to humanise the disorder, rather than being thought of as a bunch of scary symptoms. It really helps to give depth and multi-dimensions to it.

The issues

In between these case studies Nathan Filer covers the disorder itself, talking about the definition of schizophrenia, how people are diagnosed, different treatment options etc. These chapters have a lot of detail and really raise a lot of issues there are with how we deal with mental health disorders. For starters mental health disorders themselves are defined by a body of medical experts sitting around a table putting forward a collection of symptoms and a disorder title for everyone to agree on. This is how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in the US is put together- scary.

Another big issue with mental health disorders today is funding. A first option given to many is prescription drugs. Whilst this is a great option for many, it isn’t the answer for all. Indeed a lot of things you may consider symptoms of a mental health disorder are actually symptoms of taking these medications- such as facial spasms, rocking, etc. They are a quick and cheap option, and in the US help to fund big pharma. But this is people’s lives and minds we’re dealing with. It really raises a lot of moral questions about how we’re happy with people being treated.

Recommend This book will change your mind about Mental Health?

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. It is a focus on schizophrenia, but really the issues cross over to how we diagnose and treat many mental health disorders. It also helps to shine a light on a more serious mental health condition that we don’t hear much about. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health issues in the UK, and it’s great that they get talked about a lot.

But I feel that other mental health issues have been left behind and are still considered scary. All mental health issues are important, not just the ones that the majority will experience. Actually, most people in their lives will experience psychosis at some point- isn’t it important that we understand what this means so it’s not as frightening when it happens?

I encourage everyone to go and download/buy this book this World Mental Health Day. Learn about the mental health of yourself and others. Let’s be there for each other instead of fearing those we don’t understand.

  • Visit Mind for more information on Mental Health and help if you need it
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