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Books Exploring Mental Illness and Life From Different Perspectives

titles hyperlinked for details - All Titles available in print and in all e-book formats

Books on Schizophrenia 

Shot in the Head A Sister's Memoir, A Brother's Struggle

Shot In The HeadIndie Book of the Day Winner

A real life Wally Lamb - Goodreads

"enlightening and educational work!" New York Journal of Books

A bittersweet memoir about life and loss. When her mentally ill brother developed lung cancer, author Katherine Flannery Dering had to overcome her reluctance to deal with the troubled man and step up to help in his care. While maneuvering through the maze of our mental health system, she (and her eight siblings) got to know social workers and the employees of nursing homes on a first name basis, saw friends and family less often, missed work, and ate fewer meals at home and more fast food.  Along the way, she changed in unforeseen ways, and her perception of her ill brother, Paul, changed as well.

"Dering unspools her story with urgent compassion and grace." Elizabeth Eslami, author of Bone Worship and Hibernate and the 2013 winner of the Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction

"So powerful and emotional" - Ann Cloonan, Director, Bedford Free Library, Bedford, NY

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Unfaithful Mind -

When late-onset schizophrenia impacts a family 

Unfaithful Mind“What had happened to our beautiful happy life? Could it really be over for us? I just wasn’t sure if our love was strong enough to keep us together. I probably believed it wasn’t.”

John and Marion struggled to hold their family together and to deal with an illness that usually strikes much earlier in life.This is their story of what happens to a family when the mind betrays.

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The Emergence of the Recovery Movement

A SThe Emergence of the Recovery Movementpecial E-Book Report - an "excellent succinct summary of the history of psychiatric treatment and antipsychiatry" DJ Jaffe Mental Illness Policy Org

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 Love's All That Makes Sense: A Mother Daughter Memoir 

  growing up with a mother Love's All That Makes Sensewith schizophrenia "This book will provide validation and   inspiration for families who face similar struggles, as well as provide mental health care providers with perspectives that can inform care."Dr Sarah Y Vinson. 

"This an amazingly riveting book and a must read on so many different levels" Amazon Review

5 stars on Amazon

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When Quietness Came: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey With SchizophreniaWhen Quietness Came: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey With Schizophrenia

The true story of a young woman studying neuroscience who, in her final undergraduate year, has a psychotic break, attempts suicide and ends up in hospital. Her struggles to get well and to pursue her PhD are described in this book. Her story is geared to  people from a variety of backgrounds.

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What A Life Can Be: One Therapist's Take On Schizo-Affective DisorderWhat A Life Can Be: One Therapist's Take on Schizo-affective Disorder

 (A Must have book on Schizophrenia Healthy Place)

"powerful and revealing, and provides a unique insight into chronic mental disease" Dr. Thomas G Burish, a professor of psychology and Provost of Notre Dame.

The story of Dr Carolyn Dobbins struggles with schizo-affective disorder who, after a 25 year career as a successful therapist, admits that she suffers with this disease. The book chronicles her descent into madness, homeless and jail and her struggles to obtain a PhD from Vanderbilt in clinical psychology. 

"It will challenge your thinking about mental illness, about hope, about faith, about who you are." George E Doebler  M Div.  Special Advisor, Dept. of Pastoral Care, U of Tennessee Medical Center:, Executive Director, emeritus: Association of Mental Health Clergy  (now Association of Professional Chaplains).

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My Schizophrenic Life:The Road To Recovery From Mental Illness

(A Must have book on Schizophrenia Healthy Place)My Schizophrenic Life: The Road To Recovery From Mental Illness

Winner of the Courage To Come Back Award - Mental Health BC for 2012

LIBRARY JOURNAL: "remarkably compelling.....will hold readers captive.....provides a surprisingly gripping narrative"

June 2011 issue of the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy - "I recommend this book to students, novice therapists, clients and care givers as it not only helps us understand.....but also because it is inspirational and fosters some hope for recovery", Paulette Guitard. Recommended by NAMI and The Mood Disorders Society of Canada.

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After Her Brain Broke: Helping My Daughter Recovery Her Sanity

After Her Brain Broke: Helping My Daughter Recover Her Sanity (A Must have book on Schizophrenia Healthy Place)

Susan Inman's memoir describes her family's nine year journey to help her younger daughter recover from a catastrophic schizoaffective disorder.  " of the best accounts I have read of serious mental illness as told by a mother." and "Highly  recommended" E. Fuller Torrey, MD author of Surviving Schizophrenia.

Recommended by NAMI in the US, EUFAMI in Europe and The Mood Disorders Society of Canada. With an introduction by former Senator Michael Kirby, Chair Emeritus, Mental Health Commission of Canada.

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Schizophrenia Medicine's Mystery Society's Shame

Schziophrenia Medicine's Mystery Society's Shame "a powerful resource for anyone looking for answers and insight into the world of mental illness."  Schizophrenia Digest Magazine, Fall 2008.

Recommended by the World Fellowship For Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders

"a helpful and empowering guide" Abilities Magazine - Issue 77, Winter 2008/09

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Books on Parenting

When Autism Comes to Roost: A Family's Journey From Denial to Acceptance

When Autism Comes To Roost

"Alicia Hendley has written a highly personal memoir of her struggle to come to terms

 with her son’s diagnosis as well as her own. Raw, honest, and poignant, the book stays with you long after you’ve finished reading.”

- Ann Douglas, author, Parenting Through the Storm 

The Adolescent Owners Manual

 Recommended by Library Journal.  Your goal as a parent,  Dawson says, should be to get your The Adolescent Owner's Manualadolescent child into adulthood, alive, healthy, preferably educated and skilled, without a major drug problem or criminal record or pregnancy. Anything more is icing and a pleasure to behold.

And, this book is your support and encouragement to do the right thing to achieve the above goal.

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When Their Memories Became Mine: Moving Beyond My Parents' Past  Exploring the impact of traumaWhen Their Memories Became Mine and the transmission of trauma from generation to generation. A poignant and humorous coming-of-age memoir

"With a keen attention to detail, Pearl Goodman deftly weaves her parents' tragic stories and their aftermath, Canadian realities, and her own, to reveal how legacies of traumatic experiences are lived out from generation to generation. A compelling and insightful read."

Dr. Yael Danieli, Clinical psychologist and Director, Group Project for Holocaust Survivors and their Children. New York, NY

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Fiction And Plays Depicting Mental Illness And Addictions

From the pen of David Laing Dawson - a physician and artist as well as an accomplished writer whose books have been translated into 7 languages and positively reviewed in publications such as the Publisher's Weekly, Boston Globe, The Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun (click cover for links to buy book at Amazon)


Assisted Living            Don't Look DownEssondale The Intern Slide in All Directions




Schizophrenia In Focus 

A 54 minute documentary created by psychiatrist and filmmaker David Laing Dawson. Dawson has been investigating schizophrenia for over 30 years as a psychiatrist, scientist, as well as a writer and filmmaker. Using excerpts from his previous writings and films, dramatizations and first person accounts, as well as an interview with Dr Richard O'Reilly, a professor of psychiatry at the University of  Western Ontario, the film explores the nature of this disease.

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The Brush, The Pen and Recovery

A documentary of the Cottage Studio in Hamilton Ontario, Canada. The studio has been operating at St Paul's Presbyterian church in downtown Hamilton as a place where those with serious mental illnesses can go to pursue art.

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Cutting For Stone

18 year old Philip Renold finds himself locked in a Mental Hospital. He doesn't understand why his family has abandoned him, why his friends have turned against him. He struggles to find his way through the horror that has become his life and it all seems hopeless until he meets a young woman also suffering from schizophrenia. An engrossing psychological thriller and an accurate and honest depiction of serious mental illness.

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My Name is Walter James Cross

Walter tried to kill himself and failed, so he decided to tell his story instead. Finding an abandoned theater, he stands on the stage alone and recounts his descent into mental illness, into schizophrenia. Created by a psychiatrist who has worked for many years with schizophrenic patients, this compelling dramatic monologue presents an accurate depiction of a devastating, costly, much maligned, and misunderstood illness. This program has been screened at film festivals and professional conferences, including the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, and was well received by doctors and nurses as well as patients and their families. (53 minutes).  available from

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