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NAMI Bookshelf: June 2010

Editors' note: Click the book title to order the book from Amazon.com and NAMI will receive a portion of the proceeds.


Try to RememberTry to Remember
Iris Gomez
(Grand Central Publishing 2010)

This novel is a wonderful way to observe National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, observed in. Set in Miami in the 1970s, the book portrays a family’s struggle with mental illness from a Latino perspective. The protagonist is a teenager holding her family together in the face of her father’s battle with schizophrenia. Among Latino immigrants living with mental disorders, fewer than one in 20 get help. In this case, the daughter courageously breaks the silence about her father’s situation. The author was born in Colombia and is an attorney and expert on the rights of immigrants in the United States.

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The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision-Making: Making Choices for Those Who Can’tThe Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision-making:
Making Choices for Those Who Can’t
Viki Kind
(Greenleaf Book Group Press 2010)

Written primarily for family members of people who have had a stroke or who are living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, this book addresses many issues that also relate to serious mental illness, including guidelines to help determine whether people are unable to make decisions or communicate. It discusses caregiver burnout, weigh the risks and benefits of treatment options and explains advance directives. The author is a medical educator and bioethicist.

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Living with Someone Who’s Living with Bipolar Disorder: A Practical Guide for Family, Friends and Co-Workers Living with Someone Who’s Living with Bipolar Disorder:
A Practical Guide for Family, Friends and Co-workers
Chelsea Lowe and Bruce M. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D
(Jossey-Bass  2010)

The author uses case histories and findings from brain research to help explain extreme mood swings and provide strategies for dealing with alarming or destructive behavior that may occur in people living with bipolar disorder. This book includes information on medication, its effectiveness and side effects as well as communication and coping skills. One especially useful chapter discusses the pro and cons of disclosing bipolar disorder in the workplace.

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Songs of Three Islands: A Story of Mental Illness in an Iconic American FamilySongs of Three Islands: A Story of Mental Illness in an Iconic American Family
Millicent Monks
(Atlas & Co. 2010)

This family history detailing three generations of mental illness is a reminder that mental illness does not discriminate—it affects rich and poor alike. The author’s great-grand-uncle was Andrew Carnegie, the industrialist and philanthropist. Her family’s great wealth enabled them to amass grand houses and private islands, but the dynasty was marked by many tragedies including depression, alcoholism and suicide. Her path to a “delicate peace” was achieved through acceptance of her mental illness, Jungian therapy and meditation. Today she continues to explore the frontiers of spirituality and science. The book is interesting as much for its glimpse of a world of privilege as for its description of misfortunes.

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