Episode 88 – Schizoaffective Disorder with The Secret Psychiatrist

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses delusions, hallucinations suicide, sexual libido, impulsivity and mood disturbances.

Find Jonny Benjamin online at:

Twitter

Website

Get the book here

If you feel suicidal call 999/911 immediately.

You may have noticed that the first episodes we recorded for the podcast are no longer showing on iTunes. That includes our most popular episode on Borderline Personality Disorder / Emotional Unstable Personality disorder. If you want to get access to those and additional audio recorded with our authors, head over to Patreon.  Support us with as little as $2 a month to get a range of other rewards. We would like donate money to a range of mental health charities once we reach certain  targets.

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on:

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Social Media

Twitter:

Becky: @BLawrence85

Sydney: @sydney_timmins

The Secret Psychiatrist: @thesecretpsych

Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast

Facebook

Podcast: https://www.facebook.com/MHBCpodcast/

Sydney: https://www.facebook.com/Sydney-Timmins-1695774814065575/

Mental Health Book Review: The Stranger on the Bridge by Jonny Benjamin MBE

Overall rating:

The Mental Health Book Club LOVED this book, both Sydney and Becky gave it 5*. Not only is it well written and edited, it is also honest and insightful. Jonny is open about his journey from being on the bridge and his encounter with Neil Langbourn, who talked him down on that fateful day, to the amazing mental health campaigner he is today.

Learning about Jonny’s campaigning in schools and in the private sector as well as him accepting his MBE is inspiring. Jonny not only addresses how far society has come in accepting mental health as equal to physical health but he also speaks about how far we still have to go, especially when it comes to men’s mental health.

Jonny also speaks of the impact of his Jewish culture and sexuality had on his mental health. A topic that is not always addressed. He discussed his relationship with his parents and his worry about worrying them, and the difficulties that brings to his asking for help and support from the people he loves.

Jonny gives advice on self-care through his own experiences with mindfulness and positivity. It is heart-breaking to read at times but also leaves you in awe of Jonny’s endless kindness and compassion.

This book is a fantastic read, especially for anyone who ever wondered what dealing with mental health illnesses is like. Jonny has schizoaffective disorder and is very open about his experiences with this long-term illness.

Episode 86 – The Stranger on the Bridge by Jonny Benjamin MBE

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses suicide, hospitilisation, young people’s mental health and Westminster Bridge attack.

Find Jonny Benjamin online at:

Twitter

Website

Get the book here

Jonny’s shout outs and new charity:

Beyond shame beyond stigma website

Beyond Shame and Stigma on Twitter

Hub of Hope

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediately.

If you would like access to the additional content from our uthors and exclusive eoisodes head over to Patreon.  You can support us with as little as $2 a month to get advance access  to our episodes and a range of other awards. We hope to be able to  donate money to a range of mental health charities once we reach certain  targets.

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on:

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Social Media

Twitter:

Becky: @BLawrence85

Sydney: @sydney_timmins

The Secret Psychiatrist: @thesecretpsych

Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast

Facebook

Podcast: https://www.facebook.com/MHBCpodcast/

Sydney: https://www.facebook.com/Sydney-Timmins-1695774814065575/

Mental Health Book Review: Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes by Holly Bourne

Overall Rating:

The Mental Health Book Club Podcast loved this book, both Becky and Sydney gave it 5*.

This book is written as a powerfully profound story of Olive who is struggling with her mental health. Refusing to know her diagnosis she attends Camp Reset to get the intense treatment she needs.

While there she meets other adolescents, who share her struggles in their own unique way. Yet together they can unite to find their own way to fight their struggles and help the world be a little kinder.

The book is filled with humour while dealing with some serious points. Our favourite moment was, of course, the Alpaca moment, which we even recreated when we visited an alpaca farm recently.

This book stands up to the stigmas around mental illness while also being a fantastic novel for young adults and adults alike.

Find our full review and interview with Holly at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com, on iTunes or where ever you get your podcasts.

Book 34 – The Stranger on the Bridge by Jonny Benjamin


In 2008, twenty year-old Jonny Benjamin stood on Waterloo Bridge, about to jump. A stranger saw his distress and stopped to talk with him – a decision that saved Jonny’s life. Fast forward to 2014 and Jonny, together with Rethink Mental Illness launch a campaign with a short video clip so that Jonny could finally thank that stranger who put him on the path to recovery. More than 319 million people around the world followed the search. ITV’s breakfast shows picked up the story until the stranger, whose name is Neil Laybourn, was found and – in an emotional and touching moment – the pair re-united and have remained firm friends ever since. The Stranger on the Bridge is a memoir of the journey Jonny made both personally, and publicly to not only find the person who saved his life, but also to explore how he got to the bridge in the first place and how he continues to manage his diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. Using extracts from diaries Jonny has been writing from the age of thirteen, this book is a deeply personal memoir with a unique insight on mental health. Jonny was recognised for his work as an influential activist changing the culture around mental health, when he was awarded an MBE in 2017. He and Neil now work full-time together visiting schools, hospitals, prisons and workplaces to help end the stigma by talking about mental health and suicide prevention. The pair ran the London Marathon together in 2017 in aid of HeadsTogether. Following the global campaign to find the stranger, in 2015 Channel 4 made a documentary of Jonny’s search which has now been shown in 14 territories.

Interview 9 – Holly Bourne Author of Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses suicide, impulsivity, relationships and teenage mental health issues.

Get Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? Here

We may have been utter fan girls in this interview as we got the chance to speak to one of our favourite authors – Holly Bourne. Holly’s Young Adult books often have characters who are dealing with mental health issues and we often wonder what it would have been like to have these when we were younger. We really could have spent a lot longer talking to Holly as we found out that she actually was in the year below Becky at the same collage!

Find Holly Bourne on:

Twitter

Holly’s Website

Holly talks about vedic meditation and you can find out more here.

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediately.

If you cannot wait for our next episodes you can get advanced access by going to Patreon. You can support us with as little as $2 a month to get advance access to our episodes and a range of other awards. We hope to be able to donate money to a range of mental health charities once we reach certain targets.

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on:

116 123 (UK)
116 123 (ROI)
Find out more at their website http://bit.ly/2wMpKZ5

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

0121 522 7007
http://bit.ly/1s7txdq

Mind The Mental Health Charity

Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
Text: 86463
http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Social Media

Twitter:

Becky: @BLawrence85

Sydney: @sydney_timmins

Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast

Facebook

Podcast: https://www.facebook.com/MHBCpodcast/

Sydney: https://www.facebook.com/Sydney-Timmins-1695774814065575/

Episode 59 – Are We all Lemmings and Snowflakes by Holly Bourne pt 2

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses suicide, impulsivity, relationships and teenage mental health issues.

The NHS Five Steps to Mental Wellbing

Find Holly Bourne at:

Twitter

Holly’s Website

Get her book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediately.

If you cannot wait for our next episodes  you can get advanced access by going to Patreon.  You can support us with as little as $2 a month to get advance access  to our episodes and a range of other awards. We hope to be able to  donate money to a range of mental health charities once we reach certain  targets.

*Sponsor*

Happiful Magazine

Thanks to the lovely people at Happiful Magazine who have sponsored Sydney to attend the Mental Health First Aid Course this July.  We will be bringing you some special episodes on the course as Becky has completed the young people’s Mental Health First Aid Course.

If you haven’t heard of Happiful Magazine before here is what they are trying to do: Their mission is to create a healthier, happier, more sustainable society. Aiming to provide informative, inspiring and topical stories about mental health and wellbeing. They want to break the stigma of mental health in society, and to shine a light on the positivity and support that should be available for everyone, no matter their situation. The e-magazine is free. Hard copies are available, see their website for more details.

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on:

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Social Media

Twitter:

Becky: @BLawrence85

Sydney: @sydney_timmins

The Secret Psychiatrist: @thesecretpsych

Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast

Facebook

Podcast: https://www.facebook.com/MHBCpodcast/

Sydney: https://www.facebook.com/Sydney-Timmins-1695774814065575/

Video on Marijuana and the Brain

Episode 59 – Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? By Holly Bourne pt 1

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses suicide, impulsivity, relationships and teenage mental health issues.

The NHS Five Steps to Mental Wellbing

Find Holly Bourne at:

Twitter

Holly’s Website

Get her book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediately.

If you cannot wait for our next episodes  you can get advanced access by going to Patreon.  You can support us with as little as $2 a month to get advance access  to our episodes and a range of other awards. We hope to be able to  donate money to a range of mental health charities once we reach certain  targets.

*Sponsor*

Happiful Magazine

Thanks to the lovely people at Happiful Magazine who have sponsored Sydney to attend the Mental Health First Aid Course this July.  We will be bringing you some special episodes on the course as Becky has completed the young people’s Mental Health First Aid Course.

If you haven’t heard of Happiful Magazine before here is what they are trying to do: Their mission is to create a healthier, happier, more sustainable society. Aiming to provide informative, inspiring and topical stories about mental health and wellbeing. They want to break the stigma of mental health in society, and to shine a light on the positivity and support that should be available for everyone, no matter their situation. The e-magazine is free. Hard copies are available, see their website for more details.

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on:

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Social Media

Twitter:

Becky: @BLawrence85

Sydney: @sydney_timmins

The Secret Psychiatrist: @thesecretpsych

Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast

Facebook

Podcast: https://www.facebook.com/MHBCpodcast/

Sydney: https://www.facebook.com/Sydney-Timmins-1695774814065575/

Interview 8 – Joanell Serra Author of The Vines We Planted

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses suicide, alcoholisim and chronic illness.

Get The Vines We Planted Here

We were so privileged to speak to Joanell Serra author of The Vines We Planted. Joanell’s characters are so relatable and real that they felt like they could be my relatives! Joanell’s work as a therapist really shines through and we cannot wait for her next book. We really could have spent a lot longer talking to Joanell and we hope you enjoy this episode.

Find Joanell Serra at:

Twitter

Joanell’s Website

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediately.

If you cannot wait for our next episodes you can get advanced access by going to Patreon. You can support us with as little as $2 a month to get advance access to our episodes and a range of other awards. We hope to be able to donate money to a range of mental health charities once we reach certain targets.

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on:

116 123 (UK)
116 123 (ROI)
Find out more at their website http://bit.ly/2wMpKZ5

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

0121 522 7007
http://bit.ly/1s7txdq

Mind The Mental Health Charity

Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
Text: 86463
http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Social Media

Twitter:

Becky: @BLawrence85

Sydney: @sydney_timmins

Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast

Facebook

Podcast: https://www.facebook.com/MHBCpodcast/

Sydney: https://www.facebook.com/Sydney-Timmins-1695774814065575/

Episode 56 – The Vines We Planted By Joanell Serra Pt 2

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses suicide and the impact it has on others, cancer and chronic illness.

Find Joanell Serra at:

Twitter

Joanell’s Website

Get her book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediately.

If you cannot wait for our next episodes  you can get advanced access by going to Patreon.  You can support us with as little as $2 a month to get advance access  to our episodes and a range of other awards. We hope to be able to  donate money to a range of mental health charities once we reach certain  targets.

*Sponsor*

Happiful Magazine

Thanks to the lovely people at Happiful Magazine who have sponsored Sydney to attend the Mental Health First Aid Course this July.  We will be bringing you some special episodes on the course as Becky has completed the young people’s Mental Health First Aid Course.

If you haven’t heard of Happiful Magazine before here is what they are trying to do: Their mission is to create a healthier, happier, more sustainable society. Aiming to provide informative, inspiring and topical stories about mental health and wellbeing. They want to break the stigma of mental health in society, and to shine a light on the positivity and support that should be available for everyone, no matter their situation. The e-magazine is free. Hard copies are available, see their website for more details.

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on:

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Social Media

Twitter:

Becky: @BLawrence85

Sydney: @sydney_timmins

The Secret Psychiatrist: @thesecretpsych

Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast

Facebook

Podcast: https://www.facebook.com/MHBCpodcast/

Sydney: https://www.facebook.com/Sydney-Timmins-1695774814065575/

Episode 56 – The Vines we Planted by Joanell Serra Pt 1

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses suicide and the impact it has on others, cancer and chronic illness.

Find Joanell Serra at:

Twitter

Joanell’s Website

Get her book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediately.

If you cannot wait for our next episodes  you can get advanced access by going to Patreon.  You can support us with as little as $2 a month to get advance access  to our episodes and a range of other awards. We hope to be able to  donate money to a range of mental health charities once we reach certain  targets.

*Sponsor*

Happiful Magazine

Thanks to the lovely people at Happiful Magazine who have sponsored Sydney to attend the Mental Health First Aid Course this July.  We will be bringing you some special episodes on the course as Becky has completed the young people’s Mental Health First Aid Course.

If you haven’t heard of Happiful Magazine before here is what they are trying to do: Their mission is to create a healthier, happier, more sustainable society. Aiming to provide informative, inspiring and topical stories about mental health and wellbeing. They want to break the stigma of mental health in society, and to shine a light on the positivity and support that should be available for everyone, no matter their situation. The e-magazine is free. Hard copies are available, see their website for more details.

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on:

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Social Media

Twitter:

Becky: @BLawrence85

Sydney: @sydney_timmins

The Secret Psychiatrist: @thesecretpsych

Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast

Facebook

Podcast: https://www.facebook.com/MHBCpodcast/

Sydney: https://www.facebook.com/Sydney-Timmins-1695774814065575/

Episode 53 – My Intitial Thoughts of The MHFA Adult Course

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses my impressions of the Adult Mental Health First Aid Course day 1 which covers depression and suicide.

Find out more about the course here.

Sponsor

Happiful Magazine

Thanks to the lovely people at Happiful Magazine who have sponsored Sydney to attend the Mental Health First Aid Course this July.  We will be bringing you some special episodes on the course as Becky has completed the young people’s Mental Health First Aid Course.

If you haven’t heard of Happiful Magazine before here is what they are trying to do: Their mission is to create a healthier, happier, more sustainable society. Aiming to provide informative, inspiring and topical stories about mental health and wellbeing. They want to break the stigma of mental health in society, and to shine a light on the positivity and support that should be available for everyone, no matter their situation. The e-magazine is free. Hard copies are available, see their website for more details.

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediately.

If you cannot wait for our next episodes  you can get advanced access by going to Patreon.  You can support us with as little as $2 a month to get advance access  to our episodes and a range of other awards. We hope to be able to  donate money to a range of mental health charities once we reach certain  targets.

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on:

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Social Media

Twitter:

Becky: @BLawrence85

Sydney: @sydney_timmins

The Secret Psychiatrist: @thesecretpsych

Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast

Facebook

Podcast: https://www.facebook.com/MHBCpodcast/

Sydney: https://www.facebook.com/Sydney-Timmins-1695774814065575/

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Book 23 – The Vines We Planted by Joanell Serra


In the heart of the California wine country, secrets seem to grow on the vines that Uriel Macon’s family has tended for generations.

Uriel, the winery’s young widower, steers clear of complicated relationships. He prefers the lonely comfort of his vineyard and his horses. Until he is reminded of his love affair with Amanda Scanlon, a relationship that ended when she abruptly left the country years ago under a cloud of mystery.

When, due to a family crisis, Amanda returns to Sonoma, she tries to mend the broken relationships left behind. In addition, she seeks the truth about her parents’ complicated history and her own parentage.

But Amanda’s unveiling of the past has devastating consequences. In the midst of California’s beautiful Sonoma Valley, the Scanlon family struggles to overcome harsh realities with dignity and grace.

Both Amanda and Uriel stretch to take care of their families, who are facing immigration issues, marital crises, and illness. While navigating these challenges, the couple must decide if they trust themselves to love again, or to finally let each other go.

A Sonoma local, author Joanell Serra’s debut novel is captivating, poignant, and uplifting, demonstrating how seeds planted long ago continue to grow. Sometimes into a strangling weed, sometimes offering a bountiful harvest.

Episode 35 – Suicide and Depression with The Secret Psychiatrist

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses suicide, self-harm and depression.

Get our next book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediately.

The Secret Psychiatrist

www.thesecretpsychiatrist.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

If you cannot wait for our next episodes you can get advanced access by going to Patreon. You can support us with as little as $2 a month to get advance access to our episodes and a range of other awards. We hope to be able to donate money to a range of mental health charities once we reach certain targets.

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on:

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Episode 34 – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses suicide, sexual assault, rape, stalking, bullying and depression.

Get our next book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediately.

If you cannot wait for our next episodes  you can get advanced access by going to Patreon. You can support us with as little as $2 a month to get advance access to our episodes and a range of other awards. We hope to be able to donate money to a range of mental health charities once we reach certain targets.

Theatre group: Peer Productions – Losing it

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on:

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Social Media

Twitter:
Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast
 
Facebook

Book 14 – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

TV Series:

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Episode 20 – Our thoughts on The Quiet Room and Made You up

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses self-harm, violent behaviour, sexual assault,  drug abuse and suicide.

Get the book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediatly.

Samaritans on:
116 123 (UK)
116 123 (ROI)
Find out more at their website http://bit.ly/2wMpKZ5

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness
0121 522 7007
http://bit.ly/1s7txdq

Mind The Mental Health Charity
Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
Text: 86463
http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Episode 19 – The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness by Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennett

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses self-harm, violent behaviour, sexual assault,  drug abuse and suicide.

Get the book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediatly.

Samaritans on:
116 123 (UK)
116 123 (ROI)
Find out more at their website http://bit.ly/2wMpKZ5

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness
0121 522 7007
http://bit.ly/1s7txdq

Mind The Mental Health Charity
Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
Text: 86463
http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Mental Health Book Review: A Bitter Pill to Swallow by Tiffany Gholar

Our Review

Overall rating:

Sydney’s rating:

Becky’s rating:

The Harrison School helps children and teenagers struggling with their mental health to continue with their education whilst being treated for the issues that they are experiencing. At the school, we meet Janina who has been diagnosed with depression and has been at the school for four years and is afraid to leave the schools safety.

Devante has been a witness to a life changing traumatic shooting in which the girl he cared about lost her life and he is finding life difficult. He attempts suicide but is stopped and decides to enrol at the Harrison School. Devante is diagnosed with acute stress disorder and he meets Janina. Their friendship helps them both on their journey to recovery.

As a result of a new addition to the Harrison School team is given a select group of students to look after and as a result starts to question Janina’s diagnosis. After investigation and new research it is decided that Janina is not mentally unwell but has been mis-diagnosed because the people around her failed to acknowledge her intellect. Showing that the labels we take on are fluid and can change over time.

Whilst at the Harrison School Devante begins to see that there are others in a similar situation to him, he is not alone and there are other people who are in a worst position than him.

This book shows the differences between different mental health conditions and their durations. It also shows the fluidity of mental health diagnosis and that labels are not necessarily everything and that treating teenagers as people has a huge beneficial effect.

Listen to our full review at:
Mental Health Book Club Episode 15

Mental Health Book Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Our Review

Overall rating:

Sydney and Becky’s rating:

This book covers the topic of suicide and a suicide pact – if you feel that these topics may trigger you this is not the book for you. If you need urgent help and are in the UK you should call 999. Alternatively you can contact the Smaritans on 116 123 https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us or call Childline for free on 0800 1111 or contact them via their website at https://www.childline.org.uk/get-support/

Aysel, a sixteen-year-old who has decided that she wants to die. She finds Roman (Frozen Robot) in an online chatroom for people seeking a suicide partner as she is unsure if she can do this on her own and he has a very over protective mother. Both Asyel and Roman have suffered unimaginable tragedy, a father who has killed and a sister under her brother’s care dies from a seizure in the bath means both don’t want to continue.

As a result of their friendship and the fact that Asyel has someone to talk to about how she feels, she begins to notice her mood changing, and her depression lifting allowing her to see that she doesn’t want to die. However, Roman has a differing opinion and she spends her time trying to convince him to live.

Even though Roman had made up his mind and regardless of him being able to open up to Aysel the main positive message from this book is to talk about how you feel, don’t hide it, because when you are deep in depression you find it hard to see the reality. A very realistic message that can be understood by people who have been touched by depression, and that people who haven’t been there should know.

I think this is a very important topic to explore for all ages. Suicide is not something routinely talked about in general society, but hiding your feelings and any thoughts about suicide is dangerous. There is still so much stigma surrounding suicide that getting help should not be viewed poorly.

I was a little taken aback by some of the language and the concept of suicide pacts and partners in themselves. The advert that is posted by Roman states he doesn’t want a “flake” someone who will back out of the pact and this is referenced several times during the book. My issue here is that there could be some legal ramifications as there have now been cases where people have been prosecuted for encouraging another person to commit suicide (www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tell-someone-to-kill-themselves-and-you-could-end_us_5945800ce4b0940f84fe2f19 and www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-42142969) . I couldn’t help but wonder for a more impressionable person that by telling them I don’t want a flake could add additional pressure if that person changes their mind. (For me as a person with borderline personality disorder and find self-identity tricky I generally go along with the thoughts and opinions of others around me).

Whilst I think this story could happen in reality and that the book covers an important topic, but be aware that some of the language may make you feel conflicted.

Listen to our full review at:
Mental Health Book Club Podcast Episode 11

Mental Health Book Review: Anxiety Girl Falls Again by Lacey London

Our Review

Overall Rating:

Sydney’s Rating:

Becky’s Rating:

Sadie has moved on from her bout with anxiety and depression and has changed her entire life. She has sold her swanky apartment and moved into a quaint cottage, she has a new job as a counsellor leading several anxiety anonymous support groups and Ruby has become a prominent part of her life. She seems like she has turned her life around and has beaten her issues with mental illness.

Her life becomes more interesting when Aidan Wilder walks into one of Sadie’s support groups. He intrigues her so much that she can’t stop thinking about him and wants to learn more. She makes it her mission to help this new mysterious man fight against his own demons. As the book progresses we start to find out more about what brought Aidan into Sadie’s life after a heart-breaking tragedy leaves him lost and struggling to continue with life.

Those around Sadie that care about her begin to worry about how involved she has become with a man she barely knows and as a reader I began to question how ethical some of her behaviour is whilst helping Aidan, and if she is perhaps at times overstepping and becoming unprofessional with him.

The other cause for concern as a reader is the way that Sadie believes that she is done with anxiety and that it will never be a problem for her again, whilst for most reality is rarely like that. I can understand her annoyance at those around her constantly checking up on her wellbeing and that people can feel this way but she fails to see their point of view. After all, in the last book she had made a suicide attempt – at that point it is justified for people to be concerned about you.

Again this is a quick read, the descriptions and discussions about grief are realistic and I look forward to reading the next instalment in the Sadie Valentine series.

Listen to the full review:
Mental Health Book Club Podcast Episode 9

Mental Health Book Review: Anxiety Girl by Lacey London

Our Review

Overall Rating:

Sydney’s rating:

Becky’s rating:

Mental ill health doesn’t discriminate and can have an impact on a person’s life at any time even if from other people’s perspective you look like you have your life together. Sadie Valentine’s life begins to crumble around her.

  • She has broken up with her fiancée,
  • Lost the place she displays her artwork for sale,
  • Her best friend Aldo decides he is moving out of Sadie’s apartment and in with his boyfriend,
  • The image she created about her absentee father is shattered when she finds him,
  • Unsympathetic friends
  • Poor relationship with her mother

It all becomes too much for Sadie and she starts to experience anxiety that impacts every aspect of her life. As her world spirals, she is reluctant to seek help, keeping her mental health issues hidden even from Aldo. The book explores Sadie’s reluctance in detail and highlights the issues associated with being in denial and how the stigma surrounding mental health as not being a legitimate illness.

True to some of my own thoughts, I felt that the descriptions of anxiety, panic attacks and Sadie’s own internal monologue was realistic and people who have experienced anxiety can relate to the things she is feeling.

The ending of the book felt a little too perfect, and the time frame that these changes occur is very quick. By the end of the book, Sadie feels like she has overcome anxiety and is completely back to normal but the impacts of anxiety can be longer lasting and really can change later behaviour.

This book is a quick “beach read” but has an important message, that anyone can be impacted by mental health issues.

Find our full review at:
Mental Health Book Club Podcast Episode 2

Book 9 – The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness by Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennett

Book Blurb

At seventeen Lori Schiller was the perfect child — the only daughter of an affluent, close-knit family. Six years later she made her first suicide attempt, then wandered the streets of New York City dressed in ragged clothes, tormenting voices crying out in her mind. Lori Schiller had entered the horrifying world of full-blown schizophrenia. She began an ordeal of hospitalizations, halfway houses, relapses, more suicide attempts, and constant, withering despair. But against all odds, she survived. Now in this personal account, she tells how she did it, taking us not only into her own shattered world, but drawing on the words of the doctors who treated her and family members who suffered with her.

In this new edition, Lori Schiller recounts the dramatic years following the original publication — a period involving addiction, relapse, and ultimately, love and recovery.

Moving, harrowing, and ultimately uplifting, THE QUIET ROOM is a classic testimony to the ravages of mental illness and the power of perseverance and courage.

Episode 15 – A Bitter Pill to Swallow

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses suicide, self-harm and violence with guns.

Get the book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediatly.

Research Study

www.childcaregiverstudy.co.uk

Contact: [email protected] | Tweet

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Book 7 – A Bitter Pill to Swallow by Tiffany Gholar

Book Blurb

Winner of the 2016 Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award for Fiction, Non-Traditionally Published.

On the edge of the Chicago medical district, the Harrison School for Exceptional Youth looks like a castle in a snow globe. Janina has been there since she was ten years old, and now she’s fourteen. She feels so safe inside its walls that she’s afraid to leave.

Devante’s parents bring him there after a tragedy leaves him depressed and suicidal. Even though he’s in a different place, he can’t escape the memories that come flooding back when he least expects them.

Dr. Gail Thomas comes to work there after quitting her medical residency. Frustrated and on the verge of giving up on her dreams, she sees becoming a counselor as her last chance to put her skills to the test.

When he founded the school, Dr. Lutkin designed its unique environment to be a place that would change the students’ lives. He works hard as the keeper of other people’s secrets, though he never shares any of his own.
But everything changes late in the winter of 1994 when these four characters’ lives intersect in unexpected ways. None of them will ever be the same.

Find our review of this book in Episode 15

Episode 12 – Depression and Suicide

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses topics that some people may find difficult, including talk about suicide, self-harm and substance misuse.

Our next book is Autism Anxiety and me by Emma Louise Bridge and you can find out more about the book  here.

This episode supports Episode 11

Useful contacts:

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediatly

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Information in this podcast was taken from:

The Smaritans

Mental Health Foundation Report

World Health Organisation Factsheet

World Health Organisation – Major causes of death in the UK

Office for National Statistics Suicides in the UK

Mental Health Foundation – Depression

The Mayo Clinic – PDD

WebMD – Depression

Pearson Clinical – DSM 5 factsheet PDD

Psych Central – Changes in depressive disorders

American Psychiatric Association – What is Depression?

NHS Choices – Getting Started in Exercise

NHS Choices – Exercise for Depression

Mind in your area

NHS Choices – Psychotherapy

NHS Choices – Anti Depressants

NHS Choices – Depression and Anxiety Self-Help Treatments

NHS Choices – Finding Psychological Services in your area

NHS Choices – Clinical Depression

The Smaritans Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide

Mind – Depression

Depression Questionnaire

Harvard Health Publishing – What causes depression?

Episode 11 – My Heart and Other Black Holes

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses suicide and depression. Whilst the podcast does not contain explicit language, please be aware that this book does and will so may not be suitable for younger readers.

Get the book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediatly.

Research Study

www.childcaregiverstudy.co.uk

Contact: [email protected] | Tweet

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Find out more about Depression and Suicide with Episode 12

Episode 9 – Anxiety Girl Falls Again

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses suicide and accidental death

Get the book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediatly

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

Find out more about anxiety, grief and depression with Episode 10

Book 5 – My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Book Blurb

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

Find our review of this book in Episode 11

Book 4 – Anxiety Girl Falls Again by Lacey London

Book Blurb

So, what did Sadie Valentine do next?

After an emotional voyage through the minefield of anxiety and depression, Sadie decides to use her experience with mental health to help others.

Becoming a counsellor for the support group that once helped her takes Sadie’s life in a completely new direction and she soon finds herself absorbed in her new role.

Knowing that she’s aiding other sufferers through their darkest days gives her the ultimate job satisfaction, but when a mysterious and troubled man attends Anxiety Anonymous, Sadie wonders if she is out of her depth.

Dealing with Aidan Wilder proves trickier than Sadie expected and it’s not long before those closest to her start to express their concerns.

What led a dishevelled Aidan to the support group?

As Sadie delves further into his life, her own demons make themselves known.

Will unearthing Aidan’s story cause Sadie to fall back into the dark world she fought so hard to escape?

Join Sadie as she guides other sufferers back to mental wellness and battles her own torment along the way…

Find our review in Episode 9

Episode 2 – Anxiety Girl by Lacey London

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this episode contains discussion about suicide, panic attacks, anxiety and depression.

Get the next book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediatly

If you need to talk you can contact:

Samaritans on

Anxiety support groups:

Anxiety UK

  • Infoline: 08444 775 774 (Mon-Fri 9:30am – 5.30pm)
  • Text Service: 07537 416 905
  • Or visit their website http://bit.ly/1DRRCUb
 Better Help

Mental Health Resources:

Rethink Mental Illness

Mind The Mental Health Charity:

  • Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
  • Text: 86463
  • http://bit.ly/2p6rntK

If you want to find out more about Generalised Anxiety Disorder and panic attacks check out Episode 3

Book 1 – Anxiety Girl by Lacey London

Book Blurb

From the bestselling author of the CLARA ANDREWS series!

One in four people will be affected by mental health issues at some point in their lives, but it couldn’t happen to you, could it?

Sadie Valentine is just like you and I, or so she was…

After a series of unfortunate events in her life, Sadie finds herself in a dark hole that seems impossible to crawl out of.

Once a normal-ish woman, mental illness wasn’t something that she really thought about, but when the three evils, anxiety, panic and depression creep into her life, Sadie wonders if she will ever see the light again.

Set in the glitzy and glamorous Cheshire village of Alderley Edge, Anxiety Girl is a story surrounding the struggles of a beautiful young woman who thought she had it all.

Lacey London has spoken publicly about her own struggles with anxiety and hopes that Sadie will help other sufferers realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The characters in this novel might be fictitious, but the feelings and emotions experienced are very real.

Find our episode here

Episode 1 – Introduction to the Mental Health Book Club Podcast

Find out more at: www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger Warning: This episode contains discussions about suicide, and incidence of mental health issues.

Statistics on mental health issues from:

The Mental Health Founcation: Fundamental Facts about mental health 2016
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/fundamental-facts-about-mental-health-2016

Mind for better mental health: Mental health facts and statistics, Key facts and statistics on mental health problems and issues.
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/#one

McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds.) (2016). Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult psychiatric morbidity survey 2014. Leeds: NHS digital.
http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB21748/apms-2014-full-rpt.pdf

The Impact of Mental Illness Stigma on Seeking and Participating in Mental Health Care
Patrick W. Corrigan, Benjamin G. Druss, and Deborah A. Perlick
https://www.psychologicalscience.org/publications/mental-illness-stigma.html

Time to Change, Let’s end mental health discrimination
https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/

Become a mental health campaigner with Mind
https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/become-a-campaigner/