Academic journal article Best Practices in Mental Health

First Person Accounts of Mental Illness and Recovery

Academic journal article Best Practices in Mental Health

First Person Accounts of Mental Illness and Recovery

Article excerpt

First Person Accounts of Mental Illness and Recovery C. W. LeCroy and J. Holschuh John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ 480 pages (paperback), $35.41, ISBN 978-0-470-44452-8

First Person Accounts of Mental Illness and Recovery provides an intimate and powerful account of mental illness and the path to recovery. Through first person narratives, readers learn about the obstacles, coping strategies, and resilience of individuals experiencing mental health challenges. Their stories are at once sad and hopeful, possessing the human quality so often missing from clinical books.

The book is organized in a consistent and thought-provoking manner. Each chapter begins with a broad overview of the disorders included therein, an introduction to the stories that are used as examplars, and questions for reader reflection. When available, prevalence data are included to provide background. Chapter introductions are informative and reflection questions provide prompts for discussion and critique, especially useful for students.

Drawing upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, this book covers thirteen categories of mental illness, some common and some less well known. As stated in the introduction, the authors' intent was to present a diverse collection of narratives in order to express the individuality and variability within the mental health arena. For the most part, this goal was accomplished; the narratives represent many different variations of the mental disorders outlined in the book. The only exception is the chapter on personality disorders, which includes only one example, borderline personality disorder. Overall, however, the chapters include examples of several disorders, successfully revealing the variation across and within diagnoses.

The narratives vary in style and emphasis as well. Some stories emphasize the onset of the disorder whereas others give a historical account of the storyteller's life and experience. Some of the storytellers have conquered their battles, as in the case of postpartum depression, whereas others still struggle. …

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