Pretend Friends: A story about schizophrenia and other illnesses that can cause hallucinations Hardcover – 21 Feb 2015
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As an adult living with schizophrenia, I love the idea of introducing young children to the concept of severe mental illnesses, to help them learn not to be afraid of adults living with one. Hopefully if children can learn about mental health at a young age, they will grow up into understanding adults, less likely to have stigmatising beliefs about mental illness. Source: Katy Gray
This excellent picture book explains to young children the differences in having a jolly play-like character that they know is not real and having to put up with pretend people who are equally not real but seem so to those who suffer from them. Aimed at children who have contact in their live with people suffering from schizophrenia or psychosis or other forms of serious mental illness... An unusual story about a serious problem not often explained to younger children and hence a most welcome addition to the literature. Source: Healthy Books blog
This is a charming little book that could help children whose parents or carers have mental health problems... What I really liked about the book was that it promoted a healthy and non-judgmental view about mental health for children to adopt... The illustrations by Lauren Reis are rich, colourful and beautiful and enhance this lovely book... so attractive and the subject is compelling to mental health professionals. Author: Jo North, Psychotherapist Source: BACP Children & Young People
A story book about what life is like for adults who experience auditory or visual hallucinationsSee all Product description
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The story is short but it still gives a lot of information, both for the adult and the child. The child's pretend friends and the "pretend friends" that portray adults are drawn differently as to better distinguish between the two (without making the latter one look scary).
Also the book features and introduction for adults as well as a F&Q at the end with questions that children might ask after reading the book. The F&Q is very informative as well as being formulated in a way that a child also can understand (with some help from an adult).
I did really enjoy this book and I would also like to see more of these kind of stories to explain other mental illnesses. As the lack of understanding of mental illnesses is evident in out society, I think we could hugely benefit from more books like this one.
Being diagnosed with schizophrenia, I am a strong believer that educating children when they’re young about the truth of mental illnesses will enable the future generations to reduce the stigma surrounding such illnesses. I also believe that mental health should be a part of the curriculum in schools and Pretend Friends would be a perfect book for young children to study. I have a young niece and I can’t wait for her to be old enough to read the book and to be able to understand what was wrong if her Auntie Katy were to become ill.
Even though the book is aimed at hallucinatory illnesses, I think the book is perfect for anyone who wants to educate young children about mental health in general. While the book does show that hallucinatory illnesses are unpleasant, the writings and drawings are not scary and shouldn’t give children nightmares. It should also show children that mental illness does not equal violence (over 99% of people with a mental illness, including schizophrenia, are not violent at all).
I can’t rate this book highly enough! Plus, each purchase supports the mental health charity Rethink. I would strongly recommend that anyone with a young child/children should buy this book and hopefully help the next generation to support, and not fear, people with mental illnesses.
As the daughter or a bipolar mother who regularly experienced hallucinations, I'd have welcomed this book in my own childhood. I'll use it to start these conversations with my own children (age 4 and 5) and as a teaching resource when working with primary school aged children and their teachers.
There are very few resources around which are aimed at making mental health issues accessible and understandable to a younger audience so I applaud Alice's work and look forward to reading and sharing further books in the series.