I’ve never really done much reading about ‘mental health’. Truth be told, its not the field that I was trained in, and I find most publications by professionals to be boring, jargon-laced jibberish.
That said, I do find it insightful to check out books by consumers and survivors of the mental health system.
One of my favourites is local hero Pat Capponi, who wrote Upstairs in the Crazy House among others, and has also begun publishing a series of fictional detective mysteries set in a mental health group home.
I’ve just started reading a book called Voluntary Madness which a friend recommended to me.
So far it’s very engaging, and causing my mind to flip-flop between the consumer and service provider perspectives. My mind is running so quickly through the things I always question about the “mental health system”. Why do we continue to rely so heavily on medications? Are “diagnoses” really to be trusted? Has deinstitutionalization just dumped a bunch of people out on the street without sufficient supports and resources? What is “crazy” anyway, and who gets to decide?
Maybe I’ll attempt a bit of a book review when I’ve finished it.