Mental Health Professionals Disclose Their Personal and Family Experiences of Mental Illness
People with mental illness are far too often subjected to discrimination and unfair treatment. It is particularly unfortunate that much of this stigmatization comes from the very people they depend upon for help–those in the mental health professions. Too many practitioners and scientists maintain “us-versus-them” attitudes and are extremely reluctant to admit any personal or family experiences of mental illness. This culture of concealment must change, and this book will change it. A groundbreaking collection of moving and inspiring stories of serious mental disorder from trainees, clinicians, and scientists in the mental-health professionals, Breaking the Silence is the first book to reveal the deep commonalities between patients and professionals. With an unprecedented level of honesty and disclosure, the contributors tell their own and their families’ stories of mental disorder. Renowned psychologist Steve Hinshaw–who previously disclosed his own family’s struggles with misdiagnosed bipolar disorder and who has synthesized the world literature on the stigma of mental illness–integrates, synthesizes, and provides perspective on these revealing stories. As they relate their personal and family histories, the contributors also describe the serious impairments that can accrue, the strength and courage that can be derived, and the influence these experiences have had on their own decisions to enter the mental health field. Moving in its honesty, frank in its disclosures, and sensitive in its portrayals, Breaking the Silence will be a beacon for those in the mental health professions, trainees across the many related fields, family members, and anyone who is dealing with mental illness. Its stark stories of pain, denial, and impairment, along with its clear messages of hope, courage, and resilience, will inspire for years to come.
“Hinshaw’s interesting and valuable collection of narratives will appeal to a variety of audiences, including academics who are interested in understanding the phenomenology of mental illness, its treatment, and its socio-institutional administration, government officials developing health care policy, and people who live close to mental illness.”
—Metapsychology Online Reviews
“The sincere, personal accounts of mental illness disclosed in this book
stand in stark contrast to the stereotypes so often depicted in other media, particularly the popular press. Told from the perspective of mental health professionals, who have had personal and family experiences with mental illness, these compelling stories shed light on the stigma that pervades our culture and shapes the attitudes of many, including some who work in the mental health field….This book carries with it the capacity for fostering a new culture of openness and disclosure in the mental health field, and should be read by veterans and newcomers alike.”
—Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal