Libraries and book stores are full of books on mental illness and mental health. There are many resources on research studies, mental health help and psychological opinion. Few things are as moving and facilitate as much understanding, though, as autobiographies and personally recounted stories.
Parents write about experiences with their children, mentally ill individuals recount what it is like to have a mental illness, others grow up with parents that are mentally ill. Stigma and fear are greatly reduced when we can read these stories with compassion for the individuals and see just how difficult it is to be a person living with a mental illness.
The following list of books are invaluable resources to families and friends of those who suffer from a mental illness.
The Center Cannot Hold
Elyn Saks, a professor at the University of Southern California's Gould School of Law describes her journey with Schizophrenia. An in depth look and rare look at the evolution of Schizophrenia from youth through adulthood. Elyn Saks gives a glimpse into a world few understand.
Ben Behind His Voices
Randye Kaye describes her son's battle with mental illness. Traveling from a seemingly ordinary childhood through a turbulent time as a teenager, Ben goes through extremely hard challenges before his Schizophrenia diagnosis. Randye describes what it feels like to parent a child going through the unimaginable hurdles of mental illness.
An Unquiet Mind
Kay Redfield Jamison, a doctor, is a foremost authority on Manic Depressive Illness, otherwise known as Bipolar Disorder. During her academic times, she suffered through mania and depression, as well as a suicide attempt. She brings a unique perspective to the discussion, someone who has a mental illness and also counsels those who do.
The Quiet Room
Lori Schiller's biography reads as a diary and dialogue with medical professionals and family members. It is a unique book that details the life of a person suffering from Schizophrenia.
Pete Earley is a journalist with a unique perspective of mental illness having studied the mentally ill in prisons for years. This story is personal. It is the battle his son faced with mental illness and the struggles Pete himself faced in order to help his son. It is a story of the brokenness of our mental health system, as well.
The Noonday Demon
Andrew Solomon writes an epic book on depression drawing from his own struggles, the struggles of others and the cultural implications depression has on the country at large. It is truly an in depth analysis and allows the readers to contemplate moral and ethical challenges regarding this topic.
Is There No Place On Earth For Me
Susan Sheehan followed a teenage schizophrenic girl for over a year through hospitalizations, doctor visits and observing her illness one on one. From a journalistic perspective it compiles the study of an illness few people get the chance to view.
Stalking Irish Madness
Patrick Tracey writes about his investigation into his family's generational struggle with Schizophrenia. Tracing his Irish roots to Roscommon, Ireland and his oldest known ancestor, this book captures the pilgrimage and subsequent study of Schizophrenia from the perspective of genealogy.