Mental Health

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50 Signs of Mental IllnessA Beautiful MindA Beautiful MindA Bright Red ScreamA Casebook of Ethical Challenges in NeuropsychologyA Corner Of The UniverseA Lethal InheritanceA Mood ApartA Research Agenda for DSM-VA Slant of SunA War of NervesAbnormal Psychology in ContextADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeAddiction Recovery ToolsAdvance Directives in Mental HealthAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAl-JununAlmost a PsychopathAlterations of ConsciousnessAm I Okay?American ManiaAmerican Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical NeurosciencesAn American ObsessionAngelheadAnger, Madness, and the DaimonicAnthology of a Crazy LadyApproaching NeverlandAs Nature Made HimAsylumAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderBeing Mentally Ill: A Sociological Theory Betrayal TraumaBetrayed as BoysBetter Than ProzacBetter Than WellBeyond AppearanceBeyond ReasonBinge No MoreBiological UnhappinessBipolar 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ChildrenEmotions and LifeEmpowering People with Severe Mental IllnessEssential PsychopharmacologyEssentials of Cas AssessmentEssentials of Wais-III AssessmentEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics in Mental Health ResearchEthics in Psychiatric ResearchEthics, Culture, and PsychiatryEverything In Its PlaceFamily Experiences With Mental IllnessFatigue as a Window to the BrainFear of IntimacyFinding Iris ChangFinding Meaning in the Experience of DementiaFlorid StatesFolie a DeuxFor the Love of ItForensic Nursing and Multidisciplinary Care of the Mentally Disordered OffenderFountain HouseFrom Madness to Mental HealthFrom Trauma to TransformationGandhi's WayGender and Its Effects on PsychopathologyGender and Mental HealthGenes, Environment, and PsychopathologyGetting Your Life BackGracefully InsaneGrieving Mental IllnessHandbook of AttachmentHandbook of DepressionHandbook of Self and IdentityHealing the SplitHerbs for the MindHidden SelvesHigh RiskHope and DespairHow Clients Make Therapy WorkHow People ChangeHow to Become a SchizophrenicHow We Think About DementiaHughes' Outline of Modern PsychiatryHumanizing MadnessHysterical MenHystoriesI Hate You-Don't Leave MeI Never Promised You a Rose GardenI Thought I Could FlyI'm CrazyImagining RobertImpulse Control DisordersIn Others' EyesIn Two MindsInsanityIntegrated Behavioral Health CareIntegrative MedicineIntegrative Mental Health CareIntuitionJust CheckingKarl JaspersKissing DoorknobsKundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric DisordersLaw and the BrainLaw, Liberty, and PsychiatryLegal and Ethical Aspects of HealthcareLiberatory PsychiatryLife at the BottomLife at the Texas State Lunatic Asylum, 1857-1997Life Is Not a Game of PerfectLithium for MedeaLiving Outside Mental IllnessLiving with AnxietyLiving With SchizophreniaLiving with SchizophreniaLiving Without Depression and Manic DepressionLost in the MirrorLove's ExecutionerLoving Someone With Bipolar DisorderMad in AmericaMad TravelersMad, Bad and SadMadhouseMadnessMadness at HomeMadness in Buenos AiresManaged Care ContractingMandated Reporting of Suspected Child AbuseManic Depression and CreativityMary BarnesMasters of the MindMeasuring PsychopathologyMedia MadnessMedicine As MinistryMelancholy And the Care of the SoulMemory, Brain, and BeliefMental HealthMental Health At The CrossroadsMental Health Issues in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities Mental Health MattersMental Health Policy in BritainMental Health Policy in BritainMental Health Professionals, Minorities and the PoorMental IllnessMental Illness and Your TownMental Illness, Medicine and LawMental SlaveryMindfulness in Plain EnglishModels of MadnessMothers Who Kill Their ChildrenMozart's Brain and the Fighter PilotMultifamily Groups in the Treatment of Severe Psychiatric DisordersMuses, Madmen, and ProphetsMyths of ChildhoodNapkin NotesNeural MisfireNew Hope For People With Bipolar DisorderNight Falls FastNo Enemies WithinNolaNormalNot CrazyNovember of the SoulOf Two MindsOn Being Normal and Other DisordersOn Our Own, TogetherOn The Stigma Of Mental IllnessOrigins of Human NatureOut of Its MindOut of the ShadowsOvercoming Compulsive HoardingPathologies of BeliefPathways through PainPersonal Recovery and Mental IllnessPersonality Disorder: Temperament or Trauma?Pillar of SaltPoints of ViewPoppy ShakespearePosttraumatic Stress DisorderPsychiatric Cultures ComparedPsychiatric Diagnosis and ClassificationPsychiatric Genetics and GenomicsPsychiatric Illness in WomenPsychiatrists and Traditional HealersPsychiatryPsychiatry and ReligionPsychiatry in SocietyPsychological Dimensions of the SelfPsychology and the MediaPsychopathia SexualisPsychopathologyPsychopathyPsychotic DepressionQuitting the Nairobi TrioRaising a Moody ChildRapid Cognitive TherapyRebuilding Shattered LivesReclaiming Soul in Health CareReclaiming the SoulRecollection, Testimony, and Lying in Early ChildhoodRecovery from SchizophreniaRecovery in Mental IllnessRedressing the EmperorRelational Mental HealthRemembering TraumaRepressed SpacesResearch Advances in Genetics and GenomicsRestricted AccessRethinking the DSMReviving OpheliaRewarding Specialties for Mental Health CliniciansSaints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural IrelandSchizophreniaSchizophrenia RevealedSchizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion?Self-Determination Theory in the ClinicShunnedShynessSigns of SafetySilencing the VoicesSlackjawSocial Cognition and SchizophreniaSocial Inclusion of People with Mental IllnessSoul Murder RevisitedSounds from the Bell JarSpeaking Our MindsSpontaneous HealingStop PretendingStraight Talk about Psychological Testing for KidsStranger Than FictionStreet CrazyStudy Guide to the DSM-IV-TRSurviving Manic DepressionSurviving SchizophreniaSurviving SchizophreniaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaking the Fear Out of ChangingTalking Back to PsychiatryTarnationTeen LoveTelling Is Risky BusinessTelling SecretsThe Age of InsanityThe American Psychiatric Press Textbook of PsychiatryThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Anger WorkbookThe Anorexic SelfThe Behavioral Medicine Treatment PlannerThe Betty Ford Center Book of AnswersThe Bipolar ChildThe Bipolar Disorder Survival GuideThe Body in PsychotherapyThe Borderline Personality Disorder Survival GuideThe Broken MirrorThe Burden of SympathyThe Cambridge Medical Ethics WorkbookThe Case for Pragmatic PsychologyThe Center Cannot HoldThe Chemical Dependence Treatment Documentation SourcebookThe Chemical Dependence Treatment PlannerThe Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Clinical Child Documentation SourcebookThe Clinical Documentation SourcebookThe Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Condition of MadnessThe Construction of Power and Authority in PsychiatryThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Criminal BrainThe Cultural Context of Health, Illness, and MedicineThe Day the Voices StoppedThe Death of PsychotherapyThe Depression WorkbookThe Difficult-to-Treat Psychiatric PatientThe Early Stages of SchizophreniaThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe Epidemiology of SchizophreniaThe Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality DisorderThe Essentials of New York Mental Health LawThe Ethical WayThe Evolution of Mental Health LawThe Explosive ChildThe Fall Of An IconThe Fasting GirlThe Forensic Documentation SourcebookThe Forgotten MournersThe Gift of Adult ADDThe Good EaterThe Green ParrotThe Healing Power of PetsThe Heart of AddictionThe Heroic ClientThe Insanity OffenseThe Invisible PlagueThe Last Time I Wore a DressThe Limits of Autobiography The LobotomistThe Madness of Our LivesThe Mark of ShameThe Meaning of AddictionThe Meaning of MindThe Medical AdvisorThe Mind/Mood Pill BookThe Most Solitary of AfflictionsThe Mozart EffectThe Naked Lady Who Stood on Her HeadThe Older Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe OutsiderThe Pastoral Counseling Treatment PlannerThe PDR Family Guide to Natural Medicines & Healing TherapiesThe Places That Scare YouThe Plural SelfThe Problem of EvilThe Psychology of Religion and CopingThe Quiet RoomThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Right to Refuse Mental Health TreatmentThe Rise of Mental Health NursingThe Roots of the Recovery Movement in PsychiatryThe Savage GirlThe Self-Help SourcebookThe Talking CureThe Trick Is to Keep BreathingThe Unwell BrainThe Virtuous PsychiatristThe Way of TransitionThe Wing of MadnessThe Wisdom in FeelingTheoretical Evolutions in Person-Centered/Experiential TherapyTherapy's DelusionsTheraScribe 3.0 for WindowsThis is Madness TooThoughts Without a ThinkerThrough the Looking GlassTo Have Or To Be?Toxic PsychiatryTransforming MadnessTraumaTraumatic PastsTraumatic Relationships and Serious Mental DisordersTreating Affect PhobiaTreating Chronic and Severe Mental DisordersTreating Self-InjuryTreatment and Rehabilitation of Severe Mental IllnessTreatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety DisordersTwinsUnderstanding and Treating Violent Psychiatric PatientsUnderstanding Child MolestersUnderstanding DepressionUnderstanding ParanoiaUnderstanding the Stigma of Mental IllnessUnderstanding Treatment Without ConsentUnholy MadnessUnspeakable Truths and Happy EndingsUsers and Abusers of PsychiatryViolence and Mental DisorderVoices of MadnessVoices of RecoveryVulnerability to PsychopathologyWarning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental HealthWashing My Life AwayWhen History Is a NightmareWhen Someone You Love Is BipolarWhen the Body SpeaksWhen Walls Become DoorwaysWitchcrazeWomen and Borderline Personality DisorderWomen and Mental IllnessWomen Who Hurt ThemselvesWomen's Mental HealthWrestling with the AngelYou Must Be DreamingYour Drug May Be Your ProblemYour Miracle Brain

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Voices of RecoveryReview - Voices of Recovery
by Sue McNamara (Editor)
Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 2009
Review by Christian Daboud and Priya Subramanian
Aug 17th 2010 (Volume 14, Issue 33)

Voices of Recovery is a compilation of articles that were published in the ‘Coping With’ column of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal from the years 2000 to 2008 and photographs from PhotoVoice projects at the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation (CFPR), Boston University. PhotoVoice is a technique where a photographer elucidates the personal meanings in the photograph through a short narrative text. The book is edited by Sue McNamara of the CFPR and gives “voice” to the often untold stories of those living with serious mental illnesses. The articles and photographs are grouped by themes into six chapters (Recovery; Increasing Knowledge and Control; Managing Life's Stresses; Enhancing Personal Meaning; Building Personal Support; Setting Personal Goals). The articles provide interesting and at times, poignant accounts of the authors’ recovery journey from the period before the first encounter with a serious mental illness to the book’s present time. The adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, rings true with the photographs in the book and the complementary narratives help the reader appreciate each one through the eyes of the photographer. Together, the articles and photographs tell stories that are as varied as the people telling them and they lead the reader through the often convoluted and perilous road of recovery.  

 The diversity of thoughts and perspectives is perhaps the book’s principal strength. We find in this anthology that there are just as many personal definitions of mental illness and recovery as there are authors. By presenting an abundance of perspectives it challenges the reader’s notions of what is to be mentally ill, the established methods for treating mental illness and society’s relationship to those experiencing it. Yet, one common thread in all the articles is the stigma and discrimination experienced by the authors and in its attempts to dispel this it is similar to another anthology, Beyond Crazy: A Journey Through Mental Illness (Nunes J, Simmie S (eds), 2002). However, Voices of Recovery differs from this anthology in providing exclusively first person accounts of living with mental illness and of recovery. Also, each story in Voices of Recovery provides a positive take on recovery and instils hope that recovery is more than just a distant possibility. Interestingly, despite a general disdain for the “medical model” expressed through out the book, some authors reflect on the solace and hope they found in their diagnosis. For example, one of the articles expounds on the author’s freedom from his self imposed and stigmatized label of “crazy” or “mental patient” upon learning that his experiences were part of a “neuro-chemical imbalance”. Although, there are many invaluable lessons and wisdom to be obtained from the articles, the recurring message is that there is no one way to recovery, but rather a unique and ongoing recovery of self identity, skills, strengths, hope and dreams.

One of the strengths of the anthology is that it allows the reader to see themselves in some of the characters in the stories: the consumer of mental health services, the friend, the family member, the peer or the professional. As a result, it allows for reflection on the reader’s own beliefs and biases. One article that stood out in this regard is titled “Open Doors” in which the author tells us of the time he decided to fight his loneliness by becoming a self-appointed door man at a large departmental store. He explains his struggles with doing this task consistently over a substantial period of time and describes how it eventually improved his self-esteem and gave him the strength to seek out paid employment. This story triggered an exploration of our own views which, despite our purported person-oriented approaches to mental illness, may have caused us to discourage the author’s pursuit of this idea if he were our family member, friend or a client to whom we provide rehabilitation services.

One criticism of the book may be that although the articles are varied they do not include stories from various ethno-cultural backgrounds. For example, the chapter theme of spirituality and faith reflect only a Christian perspective. Although it is likely that the ultimate message of resilience and solace gained through faith would be the same regardless of the particular religious background of the author, it may have been more appealing to a wider audience if it had incorporated stories from other cultures, such as Latino and aboriginal populations which are particularly common in North America. Also, the chapter titles are perhaps misleading in that they may not reflect all the predominant themes in the articles within them. The articles often touch on all six chapters themes, to various degrees, while also addressing other themes such as “hope” and “belonging”. Furthermore, the titles suggest that the chapters may have a “how to” approach towards recovery while in reality these are narrative accounts. The writing appears to follow a predictable format of introduction, timeline and conclusions and this may be due to the fact that these were initially published in a scientific journal. This predictability appears to limit the authors’ creativity in presenting their stories and thoughts. On the other hand, the photographs are less constrained and therefore allow for a greater array of viewpoints and topics.

Overall, Voices of Recovery is a treasure of inspiring stories of redemption. They speak of the resilience of the human spirit and ability of people to find a way back to wellness. They give hope to those struggling with mental illness and remind those who want to help that being supportive and accepting can help in facilitating the process of recovery. We learn through this book people living with mental illness are no different than anyone else. They make mistakes, can learn from them, and although faced with overwhelming disability, obstacles and prejudices can survive and thrive once again. It is through such candid retelling of their experiences with mental illness that they push our boundaries, dispel preconceptions and tear down stereotypes. The stories challenge preconceived notions and dispel stigma by telling the reader that mental illness can affect anyone in any walk of life. It is a refreshing read for anyone for anyone who has any connection with mental health or mental health services.


© 2010 Christian Daboud and Priya Subramanian 


Link: Voices of Recovery is available here.


Christian Daboud: Patient Council, Patients’ Council Facilitator, Regional Mental Health Care London, 850, Highbury Avenue, London, ON N6A 3H1, Email:;

Mr. Daboud is a Counselling Psychologist and Art Therapist serving as a facilitator for a consumer/survivor advocacy group working towards improvements in care and quality of life for patients at Regional Mental Health Care, a tertiary mental health centre in London, Ontario. He obtained his Master of Education in Counselling Psychology and Art Therapy Diploma from the University of Western Ontario. Having come to Canada as a refugee in his adolescence accompanied by his family, Mr. Daboud has focused his learning and career objectives around helping marginalized populations. He spent over eight years helping develop and disseminate a community based diabetes self-management and prevention program targeting at-risk ethno-cultural populations. Through this work, he learned about the power of participatory research and collaborative work amongst health care disciplines and those they serve. The model of care developed through this project won him and collaborators several awards such as the Peter F. Drucker Award for Canadian Non-profit Innovation. In mental health care, Mr. Daboud is committed to helping consumers advocate for more recovery orientated care. His passion for music and the arts keeps his grounded in his efforts to serve his community.


Priya Subramanian: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Western Ontario, 850, Highbury Avenue, London, ON N6A 3H1, Email: (Corresponding author)

Dr. Subramanian is a psychiatrist and a certified psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner (CPRP) providing services at Regional Mental Health Care, a tertiary mental health center in London, Ontario. She obtained her undergraduate medical degree from Annamalai University, India and completed her residency training in psychiatry from Bristol and Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom. She subsequently completed a clinical and research fellowship in Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) at the University of Western Ontario (UWO), London. Throughout her training Dr. Subramanian has been mentored by psychiatrists with excellent clinical skills and person-oriented approaches to mental health care. During her undergraduate training, she was a recipient of many prizes including some for sports and creative writing, and received the university’s Silver Medal in Community Medicine. During her postgraduate training, she served as a resident representative and received prizes for research and service evaluation projects. She received a Trainee Award from the Department of Psychiatry, UWO in recognition of her work during her fellowship. Dr. Subramanian’s clinical interest is the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with severe psychiatric disabilities. Her research interests are in the areas of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and PSR. Outside of her medical career, Dr. Subramanian enjoys reading, running and playing ‘superheroes and monsters’ with her young son and his many toy-friends.


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