Mental Health Book Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Overall Rating:

Becky’s Rating:

Sydeny’s Rating:

The Mental Health Book Club Podcast enjoyed this book, Becky gave it 3* and Sydney gave it 4*.

This is a heart-warming novel aimed at young adults. It deals with the stigma and symptoms of mental illness in a teenage world. Audrey is a lovely character who will make you laugh and cry in her story of mental illness. Her new friend Linus stumbles into her life and together they try to solve her issues with romance and friendship. The book has an amazing way of showing the way in which mental health effects the wider family without victimising anyone. Audrey comes across as a fighter and a survivor, her character has a depth and intelligence that can be lost when writing a character who is dealing with mental illness. a

This book is a bright and inspiring story which should be in every secondary school library. It is a great way for young adults to gain an understanding of what it is like to have a mental illness and that people are not alone.

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

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.

Episode 60 – Kindness is Contagious!

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Kindness map: www.kindness-map.com

On Twitter: #365daysofcompassion and @chris_98

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 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 4 – Jude Sierra Author of A Tiny Piece of Something Greater

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses self-harm, suicidal ideation, suicide, personality disorders, mood, children and mood.

Get the book here

It was an absolute pleasure to speak to Jude Sierra author of  A Tiny Piece of Something Greater. We talk about Jude’s work, writing, teaching and bringing up two sons as well as Jude’s own experiences with mental health.

Follow Jude Sierra on twitter : @JudeSierra

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:

Episode 33 – Eating Disorders with The Secret Psychitrist

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 45 – A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra pt2

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses self-harm, suicide, mood fluctuations, cyclothymia and negotiating a new relationship with mental illness.

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.

*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.
Episode 23 – DBT part 1
Episode 24 – DBT part 2

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

Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast

Facebook

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

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

Episode 45 – A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra pt 1

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses self-harm, suicide, mood fluctuations, cyclothymia and negotiating a new relationship with mental illness.

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.

*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 avaliable, 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

Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast

Facebook

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

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

Book 19 – A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra

Reid Watsford has a lot of secrets and a past he can’t quite escape. While staying at his grandmother’s condo in Key Largo, he signs up for introductory dive classes, where he meets Joaquim Oliveira, a Brazilian dive instructor with wanderlust. Driven by an instant, magnetic pull, what could have been just a hookup quickly deepens. As their relationship evolves, they must learn to navigate the challenges of Reid’s mental illness—on their own and with each other.

Episode 32 – Sugar by Deidre Riordan Hall

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses binge eating emotional and physical abuse, tragic death, sexual assault and attempted rape.

Get our next book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediately.

If you cannot wait for our next episodes on 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:
Podcast: @MHBC_Podcast
 
Facebook

Episode 30.1 – Finding Audrey the missing 30 minutes

There seems to have been some technical glitch that has meant some of you have only had the first 30 minutes of the episode on Finding Audrey. If that has happened, we are so sorry and this is the last section of Episode 30.

If you have been able to download Episode 30 and it is 1hr 10 minutes long then you have already had this part of the podcast.

 

Episode 30 – Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses Social Anxiety Disorder

Get the book here

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 feel suicidal call 999 immediately.

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 13 – Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall

I’m the fat Puerto Rican–Polish girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs in her skin, or anywhere else for that matter. I’ve always been too much and yet not enough.

Sugar Legowski-Gracia wasn’t always fat, but fat is what she is now at age seventeen. Not as fat as her mama, who is so big she hasn’t gotten out of bed in months. Not as heavy as her brother, Skunk, who has more meanness in him than fat, which is saying something. But she’s large enough to be the object of ridicule wherever she is: at the grocery store, walking down the street, at school. Sugar’s life is dictated by taking care of Mama in their run-down home—cooking, shopping, and, well, eating. A lot of eating, which Sugar hates as much as she loves.

When Sugar meets Even (not Evan—his nearly illiterate father misspelled his name on the birth certificate), she has the new experience of someone seeing her and not her body. As their unlikely friendship builds, Sugar allows herself to think about the future for the first time, a future not weighed down by her body or her mother.

Soon Sugar will have to decide whether to become the girl that Even helps her see within herself or to sink into the darkness of the skin-deep role her family and her life have created for her.

 

Book 12 – Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

From the bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a story of humour, heart and heartache. Finding Audrey is Sophie Kinsella’s first novel for teens, sure to appeal to her legions of adult and young adult fans all over the world.

Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .

I think it is a good portrayal of mental health issues but there are certain things that are a bit strange – her almost immediate love for Linus and her mother’s behaviour general but I think that is meant to be humorous

Mental Health Book Review: Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne

Our Review

Overall rating:

Am I Normal Yet is a breath of fresh air talking openly about the issues surrounding mental health. Evie suffers from OCD and at sixteen not only does she have to fight with her own mental health but she has to deal with the inevitable teenage issues of college, friends and boys and let’s be honest being a teenager is hard enough without the additional issues Evie has to face.

This book has a strong theme of feminism running throughout and didn’t end in the very clichéd love conquers all view of the world that some books I have been reading recently have contained. If only recovering from mental health was so easy, dating and having another person in your life will often complicate matters and make you feel even more insecure than you may have been before.

You get to see the ups and downs associated with mental illness and the issues associated with medication and therapy, along with concerns about others reaction to a mental health diagnosis.

It is also interesting to read about the fact that the condition that Evie is suffering from can be considered “typical OCD” with Evie performing the stereotypical repetitive behaviours being commonly seen with OCD, doesn’t mean that it is any less severe and debilitating to a person’s life.

I must admit there was one part of the book I disagreed with as yes not all discussion about mental health has been useful that what it is doing is highlighting that more public discussion is needed. I would like to remain hopeful that if people were fully away of mental health conditions and their impact that they wouldn’t be using the terms incorrectly if their knowledge of the condition was complete.

Quote

Mental illnesses have gone too far the other way. Because now mental health disorders have gone “mainstream”. And for all the good it’s brought people like me who have been given therapy and stuff, there’s a lot of bad it’s brought too. Because now people use the phrase OCD to describe minor personality quirks.

“Oooh, I like my pens in a line, I’m so OCD.”

NO YOU’RE F*****G NOT!

I think that people have been mislabelling themselves as being OCD for years, long before mental health illnesses started to become more widely accepted in society’s broader conversation.

We at the Mental Health Book Club would highly recommend this book.

Listen to our full review in Episode 17

Episode 18 – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Trigger warning: this episode contains discussion about suicide and self-harm.

Get the next 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

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Overview

Imagine that your mind gets stuck on a particular thought or image (which is the obsessive thought)

Then this thought or image gets constantly replayed in your mind, over and over and over again no matter what you do . . .

It’s not like you want these thoughts – it feels like an avalanche, its overwhelming . . .

Along with these thoughts you start to have intense feelings of anxiety . . .

Anxiety is a normal emotion that people feel because this emotion tells you to respond, react, protect yourself and do something to reduce that anxiety. It’s our brain’s warning system indicating that you’re in danger.

But this can cause confusion because on one hand, you recognize the fear you are feeling doesn’t make any sense, it’s not reasonable yet it feels real

But your brain is lying to you causing you to question why this would be happening?

Why would you be experiencing feelings if they weren’t true? Feelings don’t lie . . .

https://iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-You-Need-To-Know-About-OCD.pdf

Examples:

  • Washers are afraid of contamination. They usually have cleaning or hand-washing compulsions.
  • Checkers repeatedly check things (oven turned off, door locked, etc.) that they associate with harm or danger.
  • Doubters and sinners are afraid that if everything isn’t perfect or done just right something terrible will happen, or they will be punished.
  • Counters and arrangers are obsessed with order and symmetry. They may have superstitions about certain numbers, colours, or arrangements.
  • Hoarders fear that something bad will happen if they throw anything away. They compulsively hoard things that they don’t need or use.

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/obssessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd.htm

Unfortunately, if you have OCD, they do lie. If you have OCD, the warning system in your brain is not working correctly. Your brain is telling you that you are in danger when you are not.

When scientists compare pictures of the brains of groups of people with OCD, they can see that on average some areas of the brain are different compared to individuals who don’t have OCD. Those tortured with this disorder are desperately trying to get away from paralyzing, unending anxiety.

https://iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-You-Need-To-Know-About-OCD.pdf

It becomes a vicious cycle:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/obssessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd.htm

 

How many people are affected?

Worldwide

  • There are literally millions of people affected by OCD
  • It’s the fourth most common mental illness in many western countries
  • It affects men, women and children regardless of their race, religion, nationality or socio-economic group.

United States

  • Best estimates for the USA are about 1 in 100 adults – or between 2 to 3 million adults currently have OCD.1,2
  • This is roughly the same number of people living in the city of Houston, Texas.
  • There are also at least 1 in 200 – or 500,000 – kids and teens that have OCD.
  • This is about the same number of kids who have diabetes.
  • In terms of at school:
    • Four or five kids in any average size elementary school will have been diagnosed with OCD.
    • In a medium to large high school, there could be 20 students struggling with the challenges caused by OCD.3

https://iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-You-Need-To-Know-About-OCD.pdf

United Kingdom

  • Current estimates suggest that 1.2% of the population have OCD, which equates to 12 out of every 1000 people
  • Therefore, it can be considered that, approximately 741,504 people are living with OCD at any one time.
  • 50% of all these cases will fall into the severe category, with less than a quarter being classed as having mild cases.
  • These estimates are still considered to be underestimated
    • Many people affected by OCD suffer in silence because of embarrassment and fear of being labelled.
    • Others are unaware that their suffering is a recognised medical condition

http://www.ocduk.org/how-common-ocd

Symptoms

Most of us have worries, doubts and superstitious beliefs. It is only when your thoughts and behaviour make no sense to other people, cause distress or become excessive that you may want to ask for help.  OCD can occur at any stage of your life. If you experience OCD you may also feel anxious and depressed and you may believe you are the only one with obsessive thoughts.

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/o/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd

  • Obsession.
    • An obsession is an unwelcome thought or image that you keep thinking about and is largely out of your control. These can be difficult to ignore.
  • These obsessions can be disturbing and are accompanied by intense and uncomfortable feelings such as fear, disgust, doubt, or a feeling that things have to be done in a way that is “just right.”
  • These OCD obsessions are time consuming and get in the way of important activities the person values, which is important as it determines whether someone has OCD — the psychological disorder — rather than having an obsessive personality trait.
  • You might believe that something bad will happen if you do not do these things. You may realise that your thinking and behaviour is not logical but still find it very difficult to stop.
  • https://www.rethink.org/diagnosis-treatment/conditions/anxiety-disorders

What Obsession in OCD is not

  • Occasional thoughts about getting sick or about the safety of loved ones is normal
  • Even if the content of the “obsession” is more serious, for example, everyone might have had a thought from time to time about getting sick, or worrying about a loved one’s safety, or wondering if a mistake they made might be catastrophic in some way, that doesn’t mean these obsessions are necessarily symptoms of OCD. While these thoughts look the same as what you would see in OCD, someone without OCD may have these thoughts, be momentarily concerned, and then move on. In fact, research has shown that most people have unwanted “intrusive thoughts” from time to time, but in the context of OCD, these intrusive thoughts come frequently and trigger extreme anxietythat gets in the way of day-to-day functioning.
  • https://iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-You-Need-To-Know-About-OCD.pdf
  • https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/

Misuse of language

  • We use “obsessing” or “being obsessed” commonly in every-day language.
  • Casual uses of the word means that someone is preoccupied with a topic or an idea or even a person.
  • “Obsessed” in this everyday sense doesn’t involve problems in day-to-day living and even has a pleasurable component to it.
  • You can be “obsessed” with
    • A new song,
    • A new TV series
    • A podcast
    • A food
    • But you can still meet your friend for dinner, get ready for bed in a timely way, get to work on time in the morning, etc., despite this obsession.
  • In fact, individuals with OCD have a hard time hearing this usage of “obsession” as it feels as though it diminishes their struggle with OCD symptoms.

https://iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-You-Need-To-Know-About-OCD.pdf

https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/

  • Compulsion.
    • A compulsion is something you think about or do repeatedly (repetitive behaviour) to relieve anxiety. This can be hidden or obvious. Such as saying a phrase in your head to calm yourself. Or checking that the front door is locked.
    • https://www.rethink.org/diagnosis-treatment/conditions/anxiety-disorders
    • People with OCD are aware that they will only experience temporary relief and that the compulsion is not a solution but the problem is for them is that they feel that they don’t have a better way to cope.
    • Compulsions can also include avoiding situations that trigger obsessions.
    • These compulsions are time consuming and get in the way of day to day life.
  • In most cases, individuals with OCD feel driven to engage in compulsive behaviour and would rather not have to do these time consuming and many times torturous acts.

What compulsions are not:

  • Not all repetitive behaviours or “rituals” are compulsions. Bedtime routines, religious practices, and learning a new skill involve repeating an activity over and over again, but are a welcome part of daily life.
  • Behaviours depend on the function and context:
    • Arranging and ordering DVDs for eight hours a day isn’t a compulsion if the person works in a video store.
    • Behaviours depend on the context. Arranging and ordering books for eight hours a day isn’t a compulsion if the person works in a library.
    • Certain activities such as Bedtime routines, religious practices, and learning a new skill all involve some level of repeating an activity over and over again, but are usually a positive and functional part of daily life.
    • Similarly, you may have “compulsive” behaviours that wouldn’t fall under OCD, if you are just a stickler for details or like to have things neatly arranged. In this case, “compulsive” refers to a personality trait or something about yourself that you actually prefer or like.

Common OCD obsessions and compulsions

https://iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-You-Need-To-Know-About-OCD.pdf

Diagnosis

Like all other mental health conditions, OCD can only be diagnosed by a trained professional and there are no blood tests or brain imaging tests to diagnose OCD. The diagnosis is made based on the observation and assessment of the person’s symptoms.

OCD can start at any time from preschool to adulthood. Although OCD does occur at earlier ages, there are generally two age ranges when OCD first appears, between ages 10 and 12 and then between the late teens and early adulthood.

Related problems for people with OCD

Some people with OCD may also have or develop other serious mental health problems, including:

  • depression – a condition that typically causes lasting feelings of sadness and hopelessness, or a loss of interest in the things you used to enjoy
  • eating disorders – conditions characterised by an abnormal attitude towards food that cause you to change your eating habits and behaviour (we see that xxx has was misdiagnosed to begin with anorexia)
  • generalised anxiety disorder – a condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event
  • hoarding disorder – a condition that involves excessively acquiring items and not being able to throw them away, resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter

People with OCD and severe depression may also have suicidal feelings.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/symptoms/

DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (300.3)

A.    Presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both:

Obsessions are defined by (1) and (2):

  1. Recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or impulses that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and unwanted, and that in most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress.
  2. The individual attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, urges, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action (i.e., by performing a compulsion).

Compulsions are defined by (1) and (2):

  1. Repetitive behaviours (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.
  2. The behaviours or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety or distress, or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviours or mental acts are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent, or are clearly excessive.

Note: Young children may not be able to articulate the aims of these behaviours or mental acts.

B. The obsessions or compulsions are time-consuming (e.g., take more than 1 hour per day) or cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

C. The obsessive-compulsive symptoms are not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or another medical condition.

D. The disturbance is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (e.g., excessive worries, as in generalized anxiety disorder; preoccupation with appearance, as in body dysmorphic disorder; difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, as in hoarding disorder; hair pulling, as in trichotillomania [hair-pulling disorder]; skin picking, as in excoriation [skin-picking] disorder; stereotypies, as in stereotypic movement disorder; ritualized eating behaviour, as in eating disorders; preoccupation with substances or gambling, as in substance-related and addictive disorders; preoccupation with having an illness, as in illness anxiety disorder; sexual urges or fantasies, as in paraphilic disorders; impulses, as in disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders; guilty ruminations, as in major depressive disorder; thought insertion or delusional preoccupations, as in schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders; or repetitive patterns of behaviour, as in autism spectrum disorder).

Specify if:
With good or fair insight: The individual recognizes that obsessive-compulsive disorder beliefs are definitely or probably not true or that they may or may not be true.

With poor insight: The individual thinks obsessive-compulsive disorder beliefs are probably true.

With absent insight/delusional beliefs: The individual is completely convinced that obsessive-compulsive disorder beliefs are true.

Specify if:

Tic-related: The individual has a current or past history of a tic disorder.

http://beyondocd.org/ocd-facts/clinical-definition-of-ocd

ICD-10

  • F42 should not be used for reimbursement purposes as there are multiple codes below it that contain a greater level of detail.
  • The 2018 edition of ICD-10-CM F42 became effective on October 1, 2017.
  • This is the American ICD-10-CM version of F42 – other international versions of ICD-10 F42 may differ.

Type 2 Excludes – which means that these are considered separate disorders

  • obsessive-compulsive personality (disorder) (F60.5)
  • obsessive-compulsive symptoms occurring in depression (F32F33)
  • obsessive-compulsive symptoms occurring in schizophrenia (F20.-)

The following code(s) above F42 contain annotation back-references that may be applicable to F42:

Mental, Behavioural and Neurodevelopmental disorders

Approximate Synonyms

  • Hoarding
  • Hoarding disorder
  • Hoarding disorder co-occurrent with lack of insight and/or delusions
  • Hoarding disorder w absent insight or delusional beliefs
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder

Clinical Information

  • A disorder characterized by the presence of persistent and recurrent irrational thoughts (obsessions), resulting in marked anxiety and repetitive excessive behaviours (compulsions) as a way to try to decrease that anxiety.
  • An anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, persistent obsessions or compulsions. Obsessions are the intrusive ideas, thoughts, or images that are experienced as senseless or repugnant. Compulsions are repetitive and seemingly purposeful behaviour which the individual generally recognizes as senseless and from which the individual does not derive pleasure although it may provide a release from tension.
  • An anxiety disorder in which a person has intrusive ideas, thoughts, or images that occur repeatedly, and in which he or she feels driven to perform certain behaviours over and over again. For example, a person may worry all the time about germs and so will wash his or her hands over and over again. Having an obsessive-compulsive disorder may cause a person to have trouble carrying out daily activities.
  • Disorder characterized by recurrent obsessions or compulsions that may interfere with the individual’s daily functioning or serve as a source of distress.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (ocd) is a type of anxiety disorder. If you have ocd, you have repeated, upsetting thoughts called obsessions. You do the same thing over and over again to try to make the thoughts go away. Those repeated actions are called compulsions. Examples of obsessions are a fear of germs or a fear of being hurt. Compulsions include washing your hands, counting, checking on things or cleaning. Untreated, ocd can take over your life researchers think brain circuits may not work properly in people who have ocd. It tends to run in families. The symptoms often begin in children or teens. Treatments that combine medicines and therapy are often effective.

http://www.icd10data.com/ICD10CM/Codes/F01-F99/F40-F48/F42-/F42

Causes of OCD

John Greist Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin; International OCD Foundation Scientific Advisory Board

Maggie Baudhuin, MLS Coordinator, Madison Institute of Medicine, Inc.

The cause of OCD is complicated and no one really knows what factors might be involved, but here are some of the things that are thought to impact the development of OCD:

  • family history – research has shown that you’re more likely to develop OCD if a family member has it, possibly because of your genes but these have been shown to only be partly responsible
  • differences in the brain – some people with OCD have areas of unusually high activity in their brain or low levels of a chemical called serotonin
  • Research suggests that OCD involves problems in communication between the front part of the brain and deeper structures. These brain structures use a chemical messenger called serotonin. Pictures of the brain at work also show that in some people, the brain circuits involved in OCD become more normal with either serotonin medicines or cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).
  • life events – OCD may be more common in people who’ve experienced bullying, abuse or neglect and it sometimes starts after an important life event, such as childbirth or a bereavement
  • personality – neat, meticulous, methodical people with high personal standards may be more likely to develop OCD, as may those who are generally quite anxious or have a very strong sense of responsibility for themselves and others
  • time of onset – some experts think that OCD that begins in childhood may be different from the OCD that begins in adults. For example, a recent review of twin studies3 has shown that genes play a larger role when OCD starts in childhood (45-65%) compared to when it starts in adulthood (27-47%).

https://iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-You-Need-To-Know-About-OCD.pdf

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/#getting-help-for-ocd

Treatment

Studies find that it takes an average of 14 to 17 years from the time OCD begins for people to obtain appropriate treatment.

Stigma and things that reduce people seeking treatment

Some people choose to hide their symptoms, often in fear of embarrassment or stigma. Therefore, many people with OCD do not seek the help of a mental health professional until many years after the onset of symptoms.

  • lack of public awareness of OCD, so many people were unaware that their symptoms represented an illness that could be treated.
  • Lack of proper training by some health professionals often leads to the wrong diagnosis. Some patients with OCD symptoms will see several doctors and spend several years in treatment before receiving a correct diagnosis.
  • Difficulty finding local therapists who can effectively treat OCD.
  • Not being able to afford proper treatment if you are in countries that you need to pay or that the NHS has not been able to provide the services you need and you decide to go private.

https://iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-You-Need-To-Know-About-OCD.pdf

  • The medical profession has often considered OCD bizarre and as such assumed it to be rare. Families are often reluctant to talk about OCD due to the stigma attached to mental illness. Clearly OCD will have an effect on the sufferer, but it can be difficult to understand the effect it can have on their families. OCD is all-encompassing and all family members are inextricably involved with the sufferer’s illness.

http://www.ocdaction.org.uk/support/carers

In the UK There are two main ways to get help:

  • visit your GP – your GP will ask about your symptoms and can refer you to a local psychological therapy service if necessary
  • refer yourself directly to a psychological therapy service – search for psychological therapy services near you to see if your local services accept self-referrals

If you think a friend or family member may have OCD, try talking to them about your concerns and suggest they seek help.

Note: OCD is unlikely to get better without proper treatment and support.

The main treatments in the UK are:

  • psychological therapy – usually a special type of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
    • that helps you face your fears and obsessive thoughts without “putting them right” with compulsions working with your therapist to break down your problems into their separate parts, such as your thoughts, physical feelings and actions encouraging you to face your fear and let the obsessive thoughts occur without neutralising them with compulsive behaviours – you start with situations that cause you the least anxiety first, before moving onto more difficult thoughts called – exposure and response prevention https://www.psychguides.com/guides/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-treatment-program-options/
    • The treatment is difficult and may sound frightening, but many people find that when they confront their obsessions, the anxiety does eventually improve or go away.
    • People with fairly mild OCD usually need about 10 hours of therapist treatment, combined with exercises done at home between sessions. A longer course may be necessary in more severe cases.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/treatment/

  • medication if psychological therapy doesn’t help treat your OCD, or if your OCD is fairly severe – usually a type of antidepressant medication called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that can help by increasing the levels of serotonin in your brain
    • Sertraline (Zoloft)
    • Paroxetine (Paxil)
    • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
    • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
    • Citalopram (Celexa)
    • https://www.psychguides.com/guides/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-treatment-program-options/
    • You may need to take the medication for 12 weeks before you notice any effect.
    • Most people require treatment for at least a year. You may be able to stop if you have few or no troublesome symptoms after this time, although some people need to take medication for many years. Your symptoms may continue to improve for up to two years of treatment.
    • Don’t stop taking SSRIs without speaking to your doctor first, as this can cause unpleasant side effects. When treatment is stopped, it will be done gradually to reduce the chance of this happening. Your dose may need to be increased again if your symptoms return.

Side effects

Possible side effects of SSRIs include:

There’s also a very small chance that SSRIs could cause you to have suicidal thoughts or want to self-harm. Contact your GP or go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department if this happens.

Most side effects improve after a few weeks as your body gets used to the medication, although some can persist.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/#getting-help-for-ocd

Further treatment in the UK

Further treatment by a specialist team may sometimes be necessary if you’ve tried the treatments above and your OCD is still not under control.

Some people with severe, long-term and difficult-to-treat OCD may be referred to a national OCD service.

This service offers assessment and treatment to people with OCD who haven’t responded to treatments available from their local and regional OCD services.

To be eligible for this service, you must have been diagnosed as having severe OCD and have received:

  • treatment with at least two different SSRIs at recommended doses for at least three months
  • at least two attempts at psychological therapy, both in a clinic and at home
  • additional treatment with another medication, such as a different type of antidepressant called clomipramine, or an SSRI at a dose higher than normally recommended

Most people’s condition improves after receiving treatment from a national OCD service.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/treatment/

Living with OCD can be difficult. In addition to getting medical help, you might find it helps to contact a support group or other people with OCD for information and advice.

The following sites may be useful sources of support:

OCD Action, OCD-UK and TOP UK can also let you know about any local support groups in your area.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/#getting-help-for-ocd

Psychosurgery (only found information about this from America)

https://www.psychguides.com/guides/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-treatment-program-options/

Psychosurgery is used to alleviate symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder in patients who do not respond to medications or behavioural therapy.

As per the International OCD Foundation, four types of brain surgery have proven effective in treating OCD. They are listed on the OCD UK website but it was unclear if these are offered

anterior cingulotomy. Which involves drilling into the skull and burning an area of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex with a heated probe. This surgery has provided benefits for 50 percent of those with treatment-resistant OCD.

  • https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1343677-overview
  • anterior capsulotomy
  • . This surgery is similar to the anterior cingulotomy surgery, but doctors operate on a different area of the brain called the anterior limb of the internal capsule. The surgery has succeeded in giving relief to 50 to 60 percent of patients with treatment-resistant OCD.
  • the gamma knife. This treatment does not involve opening the patient’s skull. Rather, the skull is penetrated by multiple doses of gamma rays. While a single dose of gamma rays will not harm brain tissue, when multiple sources of gamma rays intersect, they create an energy level adequate to destroy targeted brain tissue. The gamma knife procedure has been helpful to about 60 percent of treatment-resistant OCD patients.
  • deep brain stimulation (DBS). Although this procedure requires opening the patient’s skull, it does not involve destroying brain tissue. Instead, electrodes are placed at strategic points inside the brain and wired to a pulse generator. The battery-powered generator, also called an implantable neurostimulator, sends pulses to the brain. It works in a similar fashion to a pacemaker. So far, only small studies have been conducted with deep brain stimulation, but the response rate is similar to the other surgeries.

https://rampages.us/psyc407summer/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2014/06/cingulotomy.gif

Supporting someone with OCD

Families and OCD Barbara Livingston Van Noppen, PhD Associate Professor, University of Southern California International OCD Foundation Scientific Advisory Board

1. Do not regard OCD as the person’s fault and try not to believe that you or anyone else may have caused it. If the person decides to seek professional help, be supportive of that decision and encourage their determination to recover. Help your family member find the right treatment. The best treatment usually includes medicine, cognitive behaviour therapy, and family education and support.

2. Encourage the person with OCD to persist with their treatment, even when this seems difficult, and show appreciation of any improvement, however small.

3. Learn how to respond if your family member refuses treatment

  • Bring books, video tapes, and/or audio tapes on OCD into the house. Offer the information to your family member with OCD or leave it around (strategically) so they can read/listen to it on their own.
  • Offer encouragement. Tell the person that through proper treatment most people have a significant decrease in symptoms. Tell them there is help and there are others with the same problems. Suggest that the person with OCD attend support groups with or without you, talk to an OCD buddy through online support groups, or speak to a professional in a local OCD clinic.
  • Get support and help yourself. Seek professional advice/support from someone that knows OCD and talk to other family members so you can share your feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, shame, and isolation.
  • Attend a support group. Discuss how other families handle the symptoms and get feedback about how you can deal with your family member’s OCD. To find a list of support groups in your area, visit www.ocfoundation.org

4. Remember that symptoms may wax and wane. Some days, the person may be able to deal with symptoms better than others. Each person needs to overcome their problems at their own pace, even though this may be a lengthy process.

5. Learn about OCD Education is the first step, the more you learn, the more you will be able to help. You can:

  • Read books on OCD
  • Join the International OCD Foundation
  • Attend OCD support groups
  • Research online

6. Allow the person to explain their problems to you. This will help them to feel less isolated and ashamed of their condition. The symptoms may seem unrealistic and irrational to you, but the fear for the person with OCD, is very real.

7. While supporting the person with OCD, try not to support the obsessions and compulsions. The International OCD Foundations calls this recognising and reducing “Family Accommodation Behaviours” Family Accommodation Behaviours are things families do that enable OCD symptoms. Families are constantly affected by the demands of OCD. Research shows that how a family responds to the OCD may help fuel OCD symptoms. The more that family members can learn about their responses to OCD and the impact they have on the person with OCD, the more the family becomes empowered to make a difference! Here are some examples of these problematic behaviours:

  • Participating in the behaviour: You participate in your family member’s OCD behaviour along with them. Example: washing your hands whenever they wash their hands.
  • Assisting in avoiding: You help your family member avoid things that upset them. Example: doing their laundry for them so that it is cleaned the “right” way.
  • Helping with the behaviour: You do things for your family member that lets them do OCD behaviours. Example: buying large amounts of cleaning products for them.
  • Making changes in Family Routine: Example: you change the time of day that you shower, or when you change your clothes.
  • Taking on extra responsibilities: Example: going out of your way to drive them places when they could otherwise drive themselves.
  • Making changes in leisure activities: Example: your family member gets you to not leave the house without them. This affects your interests in movies, dinners out, time with friends, etc.
  • Making changes at your job: Example: you cut back on hours at your job in order to take care of your family member.

Note: The worst thing to do is to give reassurance to the person that their fears are unfounded. If you do this, the person will not learn this for themselves and the disorder will persist. Encourage the person to challenge the obsessions and compulsions.

8. People with OCD are often aware of the humorous aspects of their obsessions and compulsions. This awareness can be used to help them distance themselves from the condition. However, resist mocking the person’s symptoms as this may cause additional stress, shame and embarrassment.

9. At home, people with OCD should be encouraged to maintain as normal a lifestyle as possible. Families should not try to adapt their ways of doing things to accommodate the person’s obsessions and compulsions.

10. Remember that OCD is tough for families to deal with. Continue to communicate with each other. Remember also that the family, friends and carers of people with OCD need help and support themselves. Make sure you continue to do things you enjoy and have people to talk to about your own feelings and concerns.

https://iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/What-You-Need-To-Know-About-OCD.pdf

http://www.ocdaction.org.uk/resource/supporting-person-ocd

Resources

 

 

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

Book 8 – Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne

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Our Review

Overall rating:

Sydney’s rating:

Becky’s rating:

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

Book Blurb

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…</span>

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

Episode 17 – Am I Normal Yet

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses self-harm and obsessive behaviours.

Get the book here

If you feel suicidal call 999 immediatly.

Research Study

www.childcaregiverstudy.co.uk

Contact: r.bishop@herts.ac.uk | 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

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: r.bishop@herts.ac.uk | 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 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: r.bishop@herts.ac.uk | 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

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

Episode 7 – Made You Up

Find out more at www.mentalhealthbookclub.com

Trigger warning: this podcast discusses topics that some people may find difficult, this episode focuses on schizophrenia

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

Book 3 – Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Book Blurb

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up

Our Review

Overall rating:

Sydney’s rating:

Becky’s rating:

After initially reading this book I did give a higher rating before downgrading it as a result of doing some research about schizophrenia. Whilst the book is an easy read I felt that there were several issues with the portrayal of the mental illness and the two main plot twists.

Alex is a seventeen-year-old senior with paranoid schizophrenia in high school who has just arrived at a new school after being kicked out of her old school after having an “episode” where she spray painted the gym floor as a result of her delusions that the communists are out to get her. Alex now has a chance to make a fresh start where no one knows her history.

Alex’s symptoms have been present since she was seven, which in reality is extremely rare – but not impossible which results in her schizophrenia diagnosis. However, at the time this book was written (2015) the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental disorders (DSM-5) which was published in 2013 had dropped the paranoid classification as all schizophrenia has an aspect of paranoia.

The description of Alex’s symptoms seems to glamourise the impact that schizophrenia has on the person with the condition. A lot of focus is placed upon the aspects of delusions and hallucinations but I believe it fails to describe the true impact that they would have upon an individual. There is an issue where the author confuses delusions and hallucinations which is extremely disappointing.

I also felt that the two plot twists that occur are extremely unsettling. Her parents appear to be supportive of their daughter, however, due to their own issues they continue to perpetuate one of Alex’s hallucinations which would then make it more difficult for anyone to notice if her symptoms were increasing.

The second issue is Alex’s belief that there is something going on between the School Principal and the horrible cheerleader (which unfortunately turns out to be true) and I think would have been better served as an illustration of the impact of delusions on the individual’s reality.

It is fantastic that a book with a young adult protagonist is dealing with such an important mental health topic but I don’t feel that this book provides any kind of an accurate portrayal.

Find our full review at: Mental Health Book Club Episode 7