This book is about anxiety, depression, shame, low self-worth, isolation, prejudice and pain. So why are we recommending it? Well…….perversely because it is frank, refreshing, enlightening and joyful read. It also lifts the veil on mental health and is a great way to upskill in what mental ill health can and does feel like.
Scarlett Curtis curates a collection of musings, observations, advice, pictures and poems contributed by 75 people about their mental health. The contributors are cross generational (zoomers, millennials and generation X) some are very famous, some you will have heard of and some will be unknown to you. They are culturally, socially, economically and educationally diverse. What they all have in common however is bravery and honesty in sharing their experiences of mental health. It is an entreaty to care and think differently. The voices in this book collectively blow off the lid of stigma shame and silence around mental health.
So who should read this book? Answer. Everyone…… and that includes Lawyers because everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Every day you are working with and meeting clients and colleagues who have mental health challenges. You will have family or friends with mental health issues or it might even be you who is suffering.
This book will give those who haven’t experienced mental health an insight into what it is like. It provides guidance on how to help those going through tough times. It gives hope to those with mental ill health and a clear understanding that they are not alone, that mental health is normal and part of the human condition. The many voices in this book provide differing takes on mental health, its causes and effects, but collectively enables perspective and understanding.
This book however is not to be read like a novel. It is for dipping into. You need absorb the content and let it slowly accrete. You need time to reflect on the sometimes contradictory, esoteric and challenging content. By taking it gently and kindly –bit by bit – which is very much how you approach mental health then you will be bowled over by the power of the messages of hope, joy, honesty and courage.
Whether you are reading this book to understand yourself or others; remember, that mental health is part of being human. We all have mental health.
If you want to be a better human being, a kinder human being, a more understanding and empathetic human being then this book is for you.
Alison Herbert founded and managed a niche personal injury legal practice for 13 years. She is now an executive coach. Dr Phyl Hughes is a corporate psychologist