by Edited by Jim Read and Jill Reynolds - £29.99 Palgrave Macmillan (1996)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780333678503 | ISBN 10: 0333678508
Speaking Our Minds is an exciting new collection of writing by over fifty people who have experienced mental distress. Some have tried psychotherapy, others have been on medication. There are contributions from people who have been voluntarily admitted to psychiatric wards and others from people who have experience of being locked up in special hospitals. Also included are the stories of people who were institutionalised for many years and have now, with the hospital closure programme, moved out into their own accommodation.
These writers have a great deal to tell us about the causes of distress, the value of diagnosis and treatment, and the effect of a 'history of mental illness' on the course of their lives. They offer the reader an opportunity to appreciate the courage of people who have struggled against deprivation, oppression and ostracism to survive and to build new lives for themselves.
Many of the contributors are critical of traditonal psychiatric treatment. They supply a great deal of evidence to back up their views but are also quick to praise the exceptional enlightened approach. For these reasons alone, anyone concerned with the future of mental health services will find this book both stimulating and challenging.
This is a moving, sometimes funny, and often dramatic collection. It includes pieces by some of the key activists in the mental health system survivors' movement, by people who are best known as writers and poets, and by others whose lives, for a period of time, have been caught up with mental distress and who have something original to say.
(Price & availability last checked: May 2018)