Newcomer Reading

Books commonly recommended for persons new to the issues and problems of mental illness.

When the Bough Breaks: A Memoir about One Family’s Struggle with Mental Illness [Kindle Edition]
by Denise Brauer, Michelle Brauer (Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2013)

The Brauer family would have described themselves as conventional and nondescript, until Barbara, a devoted wife and mother, suddenly developed bipolar disorder. She was 45 and otherwise in good health, but plunged into depression so quickly that she slit her own throat before anyone suspected the gravity of the situation. This book is about the year in which the family struggles to find treatments, trying to recover the woman they loved from the abyss of mental illness. When the Bough Breaks, co-authored by the Brauer sisters, is a memoir about the painful year in their adolescence when their mother is diagnosed with manic depression. They are the statistics come to life: research about girls experiencing family problems who are more likely to experience depression, use drugs, experiment with sex, and struggle with eating disorders.

A Mood Apart: The Thinker’s Guide to Emotion and Its Disorders
by Peter C. Whybrow (William Morrow Paperbacks 1998)

“The most thorough and wide-ranging discussion for lay readers about the interplay of the physical and emotional elements of depression and manic-depression… His presentation is illuminating, and the case histories demonstrate his sensitivity and skill as a clinician…. Whybrow’s presentation offers a deeper understanding of, along with a humane and wise approach to these very troubling illnesses.”

“A compassionate exploration of depression and manic-depression.”
— Forecast

Wishing Wellness: A Workbook for Children of Parents with Mental Illness
by Lisa Anne Clarke, Bonnie Matthews (Magination Press 2006)

A workbook is for children (ages 6-12) who have a parent with severe, incapacitating disorders like psychosis, suicidal depression, extreme anxiety or those undergoing the most intensive forms of treatment (such as psychiatric hospitalization or day treatment). These children’s sense of belonging, competency, and identity can be harmed or jeopardized. This workbook addresses this, and is designed to allow children to process their thoughts, feelings, and experiences while learning more about their parent’s illness. The presentation and pace of information is intentionally slow, so that artistic activities and “off-task” time will help kids relax and better integrate what they have learned. Innovative, fun exercises have been included to teach self-coping, confidence, self-esteem, stress management, and play skills. An excellent therapeutic tool for use with groups or in individual sessions.

Raising Troubled Kids – Help for Parents of Children with Mental Illness or Emotional Disorders
by Margaret Puckette (Booksurge Publishing 2008)

“Raising Troubled Kids” is for parents and family members who live with a troubled child or teen. It is a fact-filled and practical guide on how to get a stressful home under control quickly: including techniques for working with a troubled child’s behavior, professional advice from therapists and psychiatrists, hopeful research findings, and anecdotes and stories from parents, grandparents, and siblings. The author, Margaret Puckette, lays out priorities she says must be different from those of ‘normal’ families, starting with the message that everyone must take care of themselves and each other first. There are chapters on safety measures, setting boundaries and structure in the home, and how to tell the difference between a ‘normal’ child’s difficult behavior and truly disturbed behavior that requires mental health treatment. Sprinkled throughout is humor, good news from mental health research, and tips and advice only an experienced caregiver could think of.

Looking for Answers Through Dirty Glasses: Finding the Divine in a Challenge World
by Matt Kuntz (Createspace 2011)

We live in a difficult and challenging world where bad things happen to good people and even good people can do bad things. It can be hard to maintain faith in Divine guidance when we’re overwhelmed by circumstances and our own failings. In “Looking for Answers Through Dirty Glasses,” Matt Kuntz offers his own personal interactions with the Divine combined with insights from Christianity and other faith traditions to deliver an uplifting message that rises above life’s challenges. Matt looks straight into the tragedies and heartaches of life and offers profound reasons to believe. A portion of the proceeds of each book will be donated to the Uganda Rural Fund to help educate impoverished children.

First Person Accounts of Mental Illness and Recovery
edited by Craig Winston LeCroy & Jane Holschuh (Wiley 2012)

In First Person Accounts of Mental Illness, case studies of individuals experiencing schizophrenia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, substance use disorders, and other mental ailments will be provided for students studying the classification and treatment of psychopathology. All of the cases are written from the perspective of the mentally ill individual, providing readers with a unique perspective of the experience of living with a mental disorder. Drawing from a broad range of sources, including narratives written expressly for this book, self-published accounts, and excerpts from previously published memoirs, this distinctive set of personal stories covers and illustrates a wide spectrum of mental disorder categories.

Fall Girl
by Marybeth Smith (CreateSpace 2011)

Annabelle has always taken her bipolar brother under her wing, but after years of acting as his personal disaster janitor, she finds herself fighting against her lifelong compulsion to take responsibility for his actions and fix all his mistakes. It’s easier said than done, especially when his actions affect her own future. The struggle between letting her brother deal with his own consequences and fixing just one more thing for him – so she can keep the life she’s always known – pushes and pulls at her as each mistake he makes lands her further and further from the future she had planned. In the end, the decision she makes about whether or not to play clean up crew for his most recent disaster, does not in fact produce the results she expected … but … it just so happens, it might not be such a horrible thing after all.

“Crazy” a Fathers search through America’s Mental Health Madness
by Pete Early (Berkley Trade 2007)

This is the Earley family’s compelling story, a troubling look at bureaucratic apathy and the countless thousands who suffer confinement instead of care, brutal conditions instead of treatment, in the “revolving doors” between hospital and jail. With mass deinstitutionalization, large numbers of state mental patients are homeless or in jail-an experience little better than the horrors of a century ago. Earley takes us directly into that experience-and into that of a father and award-winning journalist trying to fight for a better way.

When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness
by Rebecca Woolis (Penguin 1992)

Author Rebecca Woolis, M.F.C.C., has written a practical guide to understanding the experience of having a mental illness and dealing with the symptoms, hospitalizations and medications. A handbook for family, friends and caregivers.

“An essential resource–featuring 50 proven Quick Reference guides–for the millions of parents, siblings, and friends of people with mental illness, as well as professionals in the field.”

The Family Intervention Guide to Mental Illness: Recognizing Symptoms and Getting Treatment
by Bodie Morey and Kim T. Mueser (New Harbinger Publications 2007)

Brodie Morey and Kim T Mueser have written a practical guide on how to use interventions to bring peace to your home while dealing with mental illness.

“Above all, this is a book about love. Families will rely on it to help loved ones. They will share it with friends when their families in turn are confronted by mental illness. The book covers a broad spectrum of concerns from recognizing symptoms to maintaining wellness-and offers practical information and strategies.”–Michael J. Fitzpatrick, MSW, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness

I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help!
How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment
by Xavier Amador (Vida Press 2000)

“This is a wonderful book bringing together the personal experiences of a psychologist. Dr. Amador s research and clinical experience makes this book a rich source of information and practical advice. It is one of the salutary characteristics of our culture that people who experience pain convert that pain into something productive. People who are victimized by, stressed by, and dismayed by serious mental illness will find this book enormously helpful. It contains information about new research and concrete advice that will be of enormous help to both the families of the seriously mentally ill and to the mental health professionals who care for them.” – HERBERT PARDES, M.D., President, New York-Presbyterian –The University Hospital of Columbia

You Need Help! A step by step plan to convince a loved one to go to counseling
by Mark S. Komrad, MD (Hazelden 2012)

Through a rich combination of user-friendly tools and real-life stories, Mark S. Komrad, M.D., offers step-by-step guidance and support as you take the courageous step of helping a friend who might not even recognize that he or she is in need. He guides you in developing a strong course of action, starting by determining when professional help is needed, then moves you through the steps of picking the right time, making the first approach, gathering allies, selecting the right professional, and supporting friends or relatives as they go through the necessary therapeutic process to resolve their problems. Included are scripts based on Komrad’s work with his own patients, designed to help you anticipate next steps and arm you with the tools to respond constructively and compassionately.

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