National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI Bookshelf: October 2010
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Talking to Families About Mental Illness: What Clinicians Should Know
Although written for clinicians, this book may be helpful for families who are affected by mental illness because it focuses on issues frequently confronted by family members. It provides information for addressing these issues as well as standards that practitioners should meet. Some examples of principles to follow include: tell the truth but be positive; be supportive and keep hope alive. The author's perspective, different than many other treatments of the subject, should help family members better understand what’s going on inside their doctor’s mind—and one hopes— foster better communication. Some of the sections to look for include the one dealing with “willing, reluctant or over-involved” caregivers and questions such as “Is it the girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s fault?” and “How shall we tell his fiancée?” School and work issues also are covered.
Challenging Depression: The Go-to Guide for Clinicians and Patients
At times, this book seems more suited for clinicians than people living with mental illness or family members, but it offers a wealth of knowledge—including how best to work with clinicians and a good appendix with recommendations of other books and websites. Chapters cover topics such as the importance of “differential diagnosis,” causes of depression; child and adolescent depression; choosing, increasing, combining or switching medications; complementary or alternative medicine; brain stimulation; living a healthy life while living with depression and understanding that “psychotherapy is more than talking to a nice person.” (Of course, talking to a nice person can also help) Still, it can be dense. For example: “Along with vitamins B6 and B12, folate lowers homocysteine levels, mediating the inflammatory response which plays a role in depression and heart disease.” Readers may want to pick and choose among chapters or sections.