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Psychiatric Tales Hardcover – 19 Apr 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Blank Slate Books (19 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906653089
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906653088
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 21.7 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 553,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've been looking forward to this book for some time, and it's as impressive as I'd been hoping. In one sense, the book is a fascinating handbook, focusing on different kinds of mental illness in each chapter. These include dementia, self-harming, depression, anti-social personality disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, suicide, and great figures in history who've suffered mental illnesses. But it also follows Darryl Cunningham's own journey, starting as a health care assistant and then training to become a mental health nurse until the strain of the course threw him into severe depression and he had to stop.

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, realising 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 stigmatise 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.
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Comment 27 of 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Psychiatric Tales

Darryl Cunningham's book is a succinct and accessible account of mental health problems which effectively communicates the experience of disorders from professional and personal viewpoints. It demystifies and destigmatizes the conditions so many of us will experience at first or second hand, and is a masterpiece of the graphic book format. It deserves to be widely read by laymen and professionals alike and to be regarded as a classic. I recommend it unreservedly.
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By S. D. Spicer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm very close to someone with severe mental health issues. I act as carer for a good part of the week. Every week I have to explain, dispose of myths and prejudice- and also keep understanding myself.

How I wish I could give copies of this to the people I have to explain things to. Darryl Cunningham writes and illustrates these things far better than I ever can. He does it without being patronising or sermonising. His drawing and writing are pared down to simple stark facts and succinct opinions and feelings. It is a masterpiece of explanation that should find its way into anywhere that faces mental health issues.

Less you think it is all dark, Mr Cunningham also, at the end of the book charts his own psychiatric tale. No instant fix, no miracle cure - but hard work and time. It is a fitting and encouraging end to the book.

Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has a good premise. The author spent a few years working as a health care assistant in a psychiatric hospital and draws on his experiences to tell short stories about mental illnesses. Unfortunately, I didn't like it as much I thought I would. I was hoping for an insightful look into this fascinating, often misunderstood world, but I felt that all the stories were superficial, with the exception of the author's own tale (the last story in the book).

However, there were some positive points. The author's story was powerfully told (made me wish that the rest of the book was like that) and some of the personal stories of the patients he mentions are genuinely strange and interesting.

This is an ok book, and it's fairly interesting, but I do wish it dared to go deeper.
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By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a very interesting "bande dessinée" on the subject of mental health. Strikingly designed and produced in dramatic white and black it explains (rather than reduces to simplicity) complex issues. Reading of the illnesses is handily supported by an illustration of the illness allowing the two to support and redefine each other. The author goes through a list of types of mental illness, his reaction to them (as a mental health assistant)and to his own problems with low self-esteem and depression. Although it uses the "cartoon" format (six panels to a page) it does not demean its subject but rather enlightens it. Because it is both personal and impersonal, general and specific, it has a remarkably rounded feel to it. I can remember the first time I grasped the modus operandi of the narcissist, suddenly strange behaviours became internally logical, this book does the same for so many other conditions. A delight.
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By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a very interesting "bande dessinée" on the subject of mental health. Strikingly designed and produced in dramatic white and black it explains (rather than reduces to simplicity) complex issues. Reading of the illnesses is handily supported by an illustration of the illness allowing the two to support and redefine each other. The author goes through a list of types of mental illness, his reaction to them (as a mental health assistant)and to his own problems with low self-esteem and depression. Although it uses the "cartoon" format (six panels to a page) it does not demean its subject but rather enlightens it. Because it is both personal and impersonal, general and specific, it has a remarkably rounded feel to it. I can remember the first time I grasped the modus operandi of the narcissist, suddenly strange behaviours became internally logical, this book does the same for so many other conditions. A delight.
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