Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic Stories About Mental Illness Hardcover – February 1, 2011
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
But all the years of working as a carer gave him a deep insight into the lives of people suffering different conditions and provided him with real-life work anecdotes that makes him able to portray them as real people, not just clinical conditions. And it also makes the reader care about Cunningham as a health worker, realizing the hard-core things these carers deal with, and the emotional beatings they go through. But the book's not a request for for us to pity the writer; his straightforward, almost dead-pan voice at times focuses us as readers on the universality of mental health problems, and emphasizes the need to be able to talk about these things in a way that doesn't stigmatize people for being ill, in the way we wouldn't if someone had, say, a broken leg. A deep sense of empathy is the thing that came through most clearly to me in this book, and the last chapter clinches it, when Cunningham allows us to see his own struggle with depression and the hope he gives to other people who suffer it.
The artwork in this book reads very easily and clearly, and provides an excellent introduction to graphic novels for readers who are not very familiar with the medium.Read more ›
What troubles me about this book is the way Cunningham chooses to position himself for the reader. In this book, Cunningham is either a mental health worker or a person with mental illness. In the portions with the narrator as mental health worker, the portions where he shares his patients' stories, I found myself irate with Cunningham. Apart from a few factors of time and location, I could have easily been one of Cunningham's patients, and if I would have read this book, I would feel immensely exposed and robbed. All hypotheticals aside, as a "patient", my story is a very important part of my power and dignity. It is not for Cunningham, or anyone else, to take away and make their own.
The last chapter of the book, however, focuses on Cunningham's struggles with anxiety and depression. This part of the book may serve to humanize Cunningham or identify him as a part of the sufferers, but his explication of an obviously trying time in his life seems gestural rather than heartfelt. Cunningham's emotional simplification of a very complicated way of being seems more to serve a need to legitimate his spokesmanship for those with mental illness. He seems to do his own story a disservice in this way.
Ultimately, I think this book does the mental illness world more good than harm. I think the issues are complicated and anyone who tries to tackle them is courageous. Though at the same time, I would have rather heard the story of Cunningham as a mental health worker or Cunningham as someone with anxiety/depression--not someone dealing in the stories or others.
Darryl Cunningham, the author and illustrator, spent a number of years working toward becoming a certified psychiatric nurse before quitting the program due to the emotional toll it took on him, and some of these stories from this time are recounted here. Using a cubist, art brut style, he begins by describing a few cases in which he was involved, and all of them are genuinely interesting, if extremely minimalist. Not a lot of verbal details are given, just a barest summary of notable points, paired with a few chunky, black-and-white pictures. Each of these stories is interrupted with a semi-clinical explanation of why each patient behaves the way he or she does, which is valuable information. It works to explain the fact that mental illness is genuinely a biological problem, and not as it is commonly perceived. The subjects are not lazy or stupid and do not have anything that can be self-medicated--these are biological issues that cannot be solved by simply forcing the patient to think differently. Psychiatric Tales does a great job explaining this, and it would likely serve as an excellent tool for anyone who is coping with mental illness in their own family.
The chapters that only describe a mental illness, without tying it to an actual, concrete subject or experience, are slightly less effective.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A graphic novel that seeks to beat down some of the myths around mental illness, drawing from the author's personal experiences working in a psychiatric ward. Read morePublished 5 months ago by TrekkieChick29
I too have worked in mental health and made attempts to destigmatize not only consumers but also providers of mental health services. There have been many efforts to do so. Read morePublished 8 months ago by cyberdaniel4
Darryl Cunningham worked for a time at a psychiatric ward in England, so he knows whereof he speaks when it comes to portraying mental illness and the effect it has on those who... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Johanna Draper Carlson
I'm currently studying for my B.S. in cognitive science and I absolutely loved this book. Although it's short and full of pictures, this book is informative and an easy read. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Classic
For someone who is curious about mental illness especially during a time where awareness is crucial to understand now more than ever, this book gave me a short but insightful look... Read morePublished 22 months ago by G. Garcia