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National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Book Reviews: June 2008

Note: To purchase any of the items below, simply click the item name to be directed to Amazon.com. NAMI will receive a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

by John J. Ratey, M.D.

(Little, Brown and Company, 2008. 294 pages. Hardcover: $24.99)

This book is more of a scientific discussion of the mind-body connection than an exercise self-help book. The connection between exercise, optimal brain function, and physical and emotional well-being is laid out with a bounty of research and interesting facts to motivate readers.


Criminalization of Mental Illness Crisis and Opportunity for the Justice System

by Risdon Slate and W. Wesley Johnson

432 pp. paperback $45.00

A broad range of issues are covered in this book, co-authored by NAMI leader Risdon Slate, who is chair of the department of sociology and criminology at Florida Southern College, and who has  testified before Congress for NAMI. It addresses specialized law enforcement responses, mental health courts and diversion, mental healthcare in jails and prisons, discharge planning and re-entry, as well as outpatient commitment, competency and the insanity defense. NAMI policy director Ron Honberg also contributed a chapter. Collaborative approaches to policies that are often driven by crises are discussed. It is both an excellent textbook for any course on mental health and  a worthwhile source for any individual or policymaker interested in the intersection between the mental healthcare and criminal justice systems.


Health Reference Series: Depression Sourcebook

Edited by Sandra J. Judd

(Omnigraphics, Inc.  2008.  673 pages. Hardcover:  $87.00)

This second edition of the Depression Sourcebook provides updated information about most common forms of depression and other mood disorders, and explains which populations are at greatest risk, offering details about diagnostic procedures, treatment options, and coping strategies.  Also included is a section devoted to suicide; its warning signs and suggestions on how to help a suicidal person.


The Childhood Bipolar Disorder Answer Book: Practical Answers to the Top 275 Questions Parents Ask

by Tracy Anglada and Sheryl M. Hakala, M.D.

(Sourcebooks, Inc.  2008.  294 pages. Paperback: $14.95)

The Childhood Bipolar Disorder Answer book is written by an M.D. and a mother of children living with bipolar disorder, and is organized in a question and answer format, with title pages of chapters listing the questions in each section.  The book is organized for parents as a reference guide, with detailed information for each stage of a child’s life and illness.


What Works for Bipolar Kids: Help and Hope for Parents

by Mani Pavuluri, M.D., Ph.D.

(Guilford Press, 2008. 266 pages. Softcover: $15.95)

Written as a guide for parents, Dr. Mani Pavuluri's book provides step-by-step strategies for reducing and overcoming hot-button issues with children who are living with bipolar disorder. The tone is optimistic and the information is provided in easy-to-find bullets and boxes.


Is Your Child Bipolar? The Definitive Resource on How to Identify, Treat, and Thrive with a Bipolar Child

by Mary Ann McDonnell, A.P.R.N., B.C., and Janet Wozniak, M.D.

(Bantam Dell, 2008. 349 pages. Softcover: $26.00)

While the statistic is uncertain, by some estimates, as many as four to six million American children are diagnosed with a form of bipolar disorder. This book helps families and professionals to understand and spot early onset bipolar disorder, and offers real-life stories of families in McDonnell's and Wozniak’s practices.

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