Rosalynn Carter's "Helping Someone with Mental Illness" is a powerful tool that anyone--families, social workers, doctors, consumers--can put to good use. There are other such books on the shelf, such as Surviving Schizophrenia: A Family Manual
, but Carter's is by far the best. She has managed to weave the deeply moving stories of many individuals into a cleanly organized discussion of every salient issue: diagnosis, treatment, scientific research, stigma, advocacy. Her descriptions of the different mental illnesses--schizophrenia, depression, manic-depression or bipolar illness, and the anxiety disorders--are particularly cogent, and her 20-page list of references is alone worth the price of the book.
Carter never sugarcoats a hard truth or omits a painful statistic, but somehow her voice--warmly personal but also respectfully reserved--comes through so strongly that it is almost as if she is in the room with the reader. Coauthor Susan K. Golant, whom Carter thanks for her organizational skills--among other things--has done her work in a particularly unobtrusive way. This is much more than a book; it is a companion.
Reading Carter on mental illness is like reading Dr. Spock on child care. Having advocated for the mentally ill for most of her adult life, she is an acknowledged expert by now, and she writes with the authority one might expect. But her special status as a mother also subtly informs her text. Discussing caregiver burnout, she writes, "Having dinner at 6:00 p.m. each evening, going to church every Sunday, or watching a favorite TV show every day are all simple ways of maintaining a sense of control. Routines can create structure and a feeling of safety." Readers will be particularly grateful for Carter's constant, explicit suggestions for beating the stigma that often surrounds mental illness. Perhaps no book can be perfect--Carter writes little about post- traumatic stress disorder, a common affliction--but Helping Someone with Mental Illness comes very, very close. --Peggy Moorman
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
High Praise for Helping Someone with Mental Illness
"An important resource for families, friends, and those facing the challenges of mental illness. It delivers its message with warmth, clarity, and candor."
--Laurie Flynn, executive director, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
"Family and friends of persons with mental illness will want to turn to Mrs. Carter's book first for empathy, information, and advice. This is an excellent guide."
--C. Everett Koop, M.D., former Surgeon General of the United States