Families Coping with Mental Illness: Stories from the US and Japan

Families Coping with Mental Illness: Stories from the US and Japan

Families Coping with Mental Illness: Stories from the US and Japan

Families Coping with Mental Illness: Stories from the US and Japan

Synopsis

When someone develops a mental illness, the impact on the family is often profound. The most common treatment processes, however, focus on the patient while the loved ones are relegated to subordinate roles and sometimes even viewed as barriers to effective recovery. Families Coping with Mental Illnessapproaches these issues from the family's perspective, studying how they react to initial diagnosis, adjust to new circumstances, and cope with the situation.

Through her own original research in the United States and Japan, Kawanishi presents a cross-cultural experience of mental illness that examine both psychological and sociological issues, making this book suitable to all international fields engaging with diversity and mental health. Including first-hand accounts along with analysis and discussion, Kawanishi gives voice to family members and adeptly identifies universal themes of resilience, adaptability, and strength of the family unit. This innovative text offers a unique viewpoint that will appeal to a wide audience of professionals and non-professionals from a variety of backgrounds.

Excerpt

This book is about the resilience of the human mind in the face of tragedy, and to illuminate this extraordinary strength, it uses personal and subjective accounts of how people experience and survive the difficulty of trying to help a mentally ill family member. the purpose of this book is to describe mental illness from the standpoint of family experience. Despite clinical and political progress in openly debating issues relating to mental disorders, attention is still focused mainly on the patient’s treatment, and mental health professionals tend to relegate family members to adjunctive roles or sometimes even regard them as barriers to recovery. One of the unique features of mental illness is that, unlike physical illness (which centers on the patient’s bodily experience), mental illness is often expressed in the context of the patient’s interactions with the environment and other human beings through language use, attitudes, and behaviors that range from eccentric to bizarre. Therefore, mental illness is seldom a solely individual experience, but rather a phenomenon that extends beyond the sick person and involves others both in his or her close circle and beyond in the outside world of neighborhood, work, and school. the patient’s symptoms can become the indirect, but very personal, experiences of those who interact with him or her. the mentally ill patient’s significant others are most likely to be affected by the illness itself, and, in a way, this makes mental illness a contagious disease.

Patients’ family members also suffer from the social stigma attached to mental disorders. the usual expectations of and understanding from society in the case of physical illness do not apply to mental illness. Usually, being seriously ill physically means that the person is temporarily exempt from social duties and obligations and is expected to focus on making a . . .

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