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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Hidden Lives : Coming Out on Mental Illness

on 16/11/2012

Price: £7.99

Published: Nov 2012

Format: paperback or kindle

ISBN-13: 9781926972961

Category: Biographical

This book is a collection of essays recounting the personal memories of established authors and poets who are based in Canada and America. Some of the writers had been diagnosed with a mental illness or a developmental disorder themselves, others have close family who were diagnosed. It draws to mind that as well as the sufferer, the family of the sufferer also needs to be heard; as they are the ones left with the vivid emotions to endure and pick up the pieces and carry on with their lives the best they can. It shows the immense courage of the writers to speak out.  To put aside their grief and pain, so they may talk about their experiences. The aim of the book is to break down the barriers of prejudice, stigma and bias that surround mental illness.

The collection is edited by Lenore Rowntree and Andrew Boden. And there is a foreword written by Dr. Gabor Mate, MD, a physician and best-selling author of various books about the impact of a person's childhood on their mental and physical health through neurological and psychological mechanisms, about childhood adversity. Lenore writes in the introduction that '' these stories, just like the lives, are not all negative. There are successes, there is even humour, and above all, we hope you will see the strange, sweet love exuding from the stories.''

It is a useful book for sufferers and carers. The authors describe their day to day emotions and how they have coped with the impact of mental illness within their lives. The book is divided into 5 chapters, each containing the autobiographical essays. The authors write about their experiences of suicide of a loved one, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder and dissociative identity disorder. The book ends with brief introductions of the authors in the form of notes of the contributors.

In keeping with modern technology, I read the kindle version of the book, which is half the price of the paperback version, as the paperback has not been released in the UK. A Facebook page has also been launched in support of the bookand its message.

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