In 1987 poet and physician Jon Mukand published Sutured Words, a volume of contemporary poems to help patients, their families and friends, and all health care professionals embrace the complexity of healing, illness, and death. Robert Coles called the collection “a wonderful source of inspiration and instruction for any of us who are trying to figure out what our work means”; Norman Cousins was impressed by the “discernment and high quality of the selections.” Now, in Articulations, Mukand adds more than a hundred new poems to the strongest poems from Sutured Words to give us a lyrical, enlightened understanding of the human dimensions of suffering and illness
This illustrated collection of annotated newspaper articles and memorials by Dorothea Dix provides a forum for the great mid-nineteenth-century humanitarian and reformer to speak for herself.
Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802–87) was perhaps the most famous and admired woman in America for much of the nineteenth century. Beginning in the early 1840s, she launched a personal crusade to persuade the various states to provide humane care and effective treatment for the mentally ill by funding specialized hospitals for that purpose. The appalling conditions endured by most mentally ill inmates in prisons, jails, and poorhouses led her to take an active interest also in prison reform and in efforts to ameliorate poverty.
In 1846–47 Dix brought her crusade to Illinois. She presented two lengthy memorials to the legislature, the first describing conditions at the state penitentiary at Alton and the second discussing the sufferings of the insane and urging the establishment of a state hospital for their care. She also wrote a series of newspaper articles detailing conditions in the jails and poorhouses of many Illinois communities.
These long-forgotten documents, which appear in unabridged form in this book, contain a wealth of information on the living conditions of some of the most unfortunate inhabitants of Illinois. In his preface, David L. Lightner describes some of the vivid images that emerge from Dorothea Dix's descriptions of social conditions in Illinois a century and a half ago: "A helpless maniac confined throughout the bitter cold of winter to a dark and filthy pit. Prison inmates chained in hallways and cellars because no more men can be squeezed into the dank and airless cells. Aged paupers auctioned off by county officers to whoever will maintain them at the lowest cost."
Lightner provides an introduction to every document, placing each memorial and newspaper article in its proper social and historical context. He also furnishes detailed notes, making these documents readily accessible to readers a century and a half later. In his final chapter, Lightner assesses both the immediate and the continuing impact of Dix's work.
Bad Souls is an ethnographic study of responsibility among psychiatric patients and their caregivers in Thrace, the northeastern borderland of Greece. Elizabeth Anne Davis examines responsibility in this rural region through the lens of national psychiatric reform, a process designed to shift treatment from custodial hospitals to outpatient settings. Challenged to help care for themselves, patients struggled to function in communities that often seemed as much sources of mental pathology as sites of refuge. Davis documents these patients' singular experience of community, and their ambivalent aspirations to health, as they grappled with new forms of autonomy and dependency introduced by psychiatric reform. Planned, funded, and overseen largely by the European Union, this "democratic experiment," one of many reforms adopted by Greece since its accession to the EU in the early 1980s, has led Greek citizens to question the state and its administration of human rights, social welfare, and education. Exploring the therapeutic dynamics of diagnosis, persuasion, healing, and failure in Greek psychiatry, Davis traces the terrains of truth, culture, and freedom that emerge from this questioning of the state at the borders of Europe.
Black Skin, White Coats is a history of psychiatry in Nigeria from the 1950s to the 1980s. Working in the contexts of decolonization and anticolonial nationalism, Nigerian psychiatrists sought to replace racist colonial psychiatric theories about the psychological inferiority of Africans with a universal and egalitarian model focusing on broad psychological similarities across cultural and racial boundaries. Particular emphasis is placed on Dr. T. Adeoye Lambo, the first indigenous Nigerian to earn a specialty degree in psychiatry in the United Kingdom in 1954. Lambo returned to Nigeria to become the medical superintendent of the newly founded Aro Mental Hospital in Abeokuta, Nigeria’s first “modern” mental hospital. At Aro, Lambo began to revolutionize psychiatric research and clinical practice in Nigeria, working to integrate “modern” western medical theory and technologies with “traditional” cultural understandings of mental illness. Lambo’s research focused on deracializing psychiatric thinking and redefining mental illness in terms of a model of universal human similarities that crossed racial and cultural divides.
Black Skin, White Coats is the first work to focus primarily on black Africans as producers of psychiatric knowledge and as definers of mental illness in their own right. By examining the ways that Nigerian psychiatrists worked to integrate their psychiatric training with their indigenous backgrounds and cultural and civic nationalisms, Black Skin, White Coats provides a foil to Frantz Fanon’s widely publicized reactionary articulations of the relationship between colonialism and psychiatry. Black Skin, White Coats is also on the cutting edge of histories of psychiatry that are increasingly drawing connections between local and national developments in late-colonial and postcolonial settings and international scientific networks. Heaton argues that Nigerian psychiatrists were intimately aware of the need to engage in international discourses as part and parcel of the transformation of psychiatry at home.
Norman Dain offers a compelling biography of Clifford W. Beers, whose lifelong battle against his own mental illness inspired him to become a champion for mental health. Beers' autobiography, A Mind That Found Itself, created a public outcry in 1908, as it chronicled Beers' experiences during his three-year confinement in an asylum. Despite his disability, Beers went on to found the National Committee for Mental Hygiene (now the National Association for Mental Health), the American Foundation for Mental Hygiene, and the International Committee for Mental Hygiene.
The Court of Last Resort looks at decision making in a mental-health court and at the dilemmas of treating mental illness while protecting patients' legal rights. Carol Warren spent seven years studying hearings in a large California court where people who had been involuntarily committed to institutions for psychiatric treatment could petition for their release. In this book she confronts questions of whether mental illness is real or only a label for societal control, whether the government should be involved in committing the deviant to institutions, and how the interaction of judges, psychiatrists, families, police, and other individuals and agencies affect the court's administration of mental-health law. Though the cases in this book fall under California's Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, Warren's analysis of conflicts between legal and medical models of behavior is of national and international importance both to sociologists and to the many professionals who work at the juncture of mental health and the law.
Demons of the Night is a trove of haunting fiction—a gathering, for the first time in English, of the best nineteenth-century French fantastic tales. Featuring such authors as Balzac, Mérimée, Dumas, Verne, and Maupassant, this book offers readers familiar with the works of Edgar Allan Poe and E. T. A. Hoffman some of the most memorable stories in the genre. With its aura of the uncanny and the supernatural, the fantastic tale is a vehicle for exploring forbidden themes and the dark, irrational side of the human psyche.
The anthology opens with "Smarra, or the Demons of the Night," Nodier's 1821 tale of nightmare, vampirism, and compulsion, acclaimed as the first work in French literature to explore in depth the realm of dream and the unconscious. Other stories include Balzac's "The Red Inn," in which a crime is committed by one person in thought and another in deed, and Mérimée's superbly crafted mystery, "The Venus of Ille," which dramatizes the demonic power of a vengeful goddess of love emerging out of the pagan past. Gautier's protagonist in "The Dead in Love" develops an obsessive passion for a woman who has returned from beyond the grave, while the narrator of Maupassant's "The Horla" imagines himself a victim of psychic vampirism.
Joan Kessler has prepared new translations of nine of the thirteen tales in the volume, including Gérard de Nerval's odyssey of madness, "Aurélia," as well as two tales that have never before appeared in English. Kessler's introduction sets the background of these tales—the impact of the French Revolution and the Terror, the Romantics' fascination with the subconscious, and the influence of contemporary psychological and spiritual currents. Her essay illuminates how each of the authors in this collection used the fantastic to articulate his own haunting obsessions as well as his broader vision of human experience.
Jacqueline O’Connor examines how Tennessee Williams portrayed society’s treatment of the mentally ill. The critical approach is eclectic and the author draws on a variety of psychological, literary, and biographical sources.
Elizabeth Packard's story is one of courage and accomplishment in the face of injustice and heartbreak. In 1860, her husband, a strong-willed Calvinist minister, committed her to an Illinois insane asylum in an effort to protect their six children and his church from what he considered her heretical religious ideas.
Upon her release three years later (as her husband sought to return her to an asylum), Packard obtained a jury trial and was declared sane. Before the trial ended, however, her husband sold their home and left for Massachusetts with their young children and her personal property. His actions were perfectly legal under Illinois and Massachusetts law; Packard had no legal recourse by which to recover her children and property.
This experience in the legal system, along with her experience as an asylum patient, launched Packard into a career as an advocate for the civil rights of married women and the mentally ill. She wrote numerous books and lobbied legislatures literally from coast to coast advocating more stringent commitment laws, protections for the rights of asylum patients, and laws to give married women equal rights in matters of child custody, property, and earnings. Despite strong opposition from the psychiatric community, Packard's laws were passed in state after state, with lasting impact on commitment and care of the mentally ill in the United States.
Packard's life demonstrates how dissonant streams of American social and intellectual history led to conflict between the freethinking Packard, her Calvinist husband, her asylum doctor, and America's fledgling psychiatric profession. It is this conflict--along with her personal battle to transcend the stigma of insanity and regain custody of her children--that makes Elizabeth Packard's story both forceful and compelling.
Dr. Harold Koenig is the brand in the growing field of spirituality and health. His groundbreaking research has been featured on national and international television and radio shows, on the covers of magazines, and in the headlines of newspapers.
Now he opens a window on mental health, providing an unprecedented source of practical information about the relationship between religion mental health. Dr. Koenig examines how Christianity and other world religions deliver mental health services today, and he makes recommendations, based on research, expertise, and experience, for new programs to meet local needs.
Meticulously researched and documented, Faith and Mental Health includes:
•Research on the relationship between religion and positive emotions, psychiatric illnesses, and severe and persistent mental disorders
•Ways in which religion has influenced mental health historically, and how now and in the future it can be involved with mental health
•A comprehensive description and categorization of Christian and non-Christian faith-based organizations that provide mental health resources
•Resources for religious professionals and faith communities on how to design effective programs
Presenting a combination of the history and current research of mental health and religion along with a thorough examination of faith-based organizations operating in the field, this book is a one-of-a-kind resource for the health care community; its valuable research and insights will benefit medical and religious professionals, and anyone concerned with the future of mental health care.
Charles Monroe-Kane is a natural raconteur, and boy, does he have stories to tell. Born into an eccentric Ohio clan of modern hunter-gatherers, he grew up hearing voices in his head. Over a dizzying two decades, he was many things—teenage faith healer, world traveler, smuggler, liberation theologian, ladder-maker, squatter, halibut hanger, grifter, environmental warrior, and circus manager—all the while wrestling with schizophrenia and self-medication.
From Baby Doc’s Haiti to the Czech Velvet Revolution, and from sex, drugs, and a stabbing to public humiliation by the leader of the free world, Monroe-Kane burns through his twenties and several bridges of youthful idealism before finally saying: enough.
In a memoir that blends engaging charm with unflinching frankness, Monroe-Kane gives his testimony of mental illness, drug abuse, faith, and love. By the end of Lithium Jesus there may be a voice in your head, too, saying “Do more, be more, live more. And fear less.”
"A very important study that will appeal to a disability studies audience as well as scholars in social movements, social justice, critical pedagogy, literacy education, professional development for disability and learning specialists in access centers and student counseling centers, as well as the broader domains of sociology and education."
---Melanie Panitch, Ryerson University
"Ableism is alive and well in higher education. We do not know how to abandon the myth of the 'pure (ivory) tower that props up and is propped up by ableist ideology.' . . . Mad at School is thoroughly researched and pathbreaking. . . . The author's presentation of her own experience with mental illness is woven throughout the text with candor and eloquence."
---Linda Ware, State University of New York at Geneseo
Mad at School explores the contested boundaries between disability, illness, and mental illness in the setting of U.S. higher education. Much of the research and teaching within disability studies assumes a disabled body but a rational and energetic (an "agile") mind. In Mad at School, scholar and disabilities activist Margaret Price asks: How might our education practices change if we understood disability to incorporate the disabled mind?
Mental disability (more often called "mental illness") is a topic of fast-growing interest in all spheres of American culture, including popular, governmental, aesthetic, and academic. Mad at School is a close study of the ways that mental disabilities impact academic culture. Investigating spaces including classrooms, faculty meeting rooms, and job searches, Price challenges her readers to reconsider long-held values of academic life, including productivity, participation, security, and independence. Ultimately, she argues that academic discourse both produces and is produced by a tacitly privileged "able mind," and that U.S. higher education would benefit from practices that create a more accessible academic world.
Mad at School is the first book to use a disability-studies perspective to focus on the ways that mental disabilities impact academic culture at institutions of higher education. Individual chapters examine the language used to denote mental disability; the role of "participation" and "presence" in student learning; the role of "collegiality" in faculty work; the controversy over "security" and free speech that has arisen in the wake of recent school shootings; and the marginalized status of independent scholars with mental disabilities.
Margaret Price is Associate Professor of English at Spelman College.
A man desperately tries to keep his pact with the Devil, a woman is imprisoned in an insane asylum by her husband because of religious differences, and, on the testimony of a mere stranger, “a London citizen” is sentenced to a private madhouse. This anthology of writings by mad and allegedly mad people is a comprehensive overview of the history of mental illness for the past five hundred years-from the viewpoint of the patients themselves.
Dale Peterson has compiled twenty-seven selections dating from 1436 through 1976. He prefaces each excerpt with biographical information about the writer. Peterson's running commentary explains the national differences in mental health care and the historical changes that have take place in symptoms and treatment. He traces the development of the private madhouse system in England and the state-run asylum system in the United States. Included is the first comprehensive bibliography of writings by the mentally ill.
The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon is built around a bizarre historical event and an off-hand challenge. The event? In December 1840, nearly twenty years after his death, the remains of Napoleon were returned to Paris for burial—and the next day, the director of a Paris hospital for the insane admitted fourteen men who claimed to be Napoleon. The challenge, meanwhile, is the claim by great French psychiatrist Jean-Étienne-Dominique Esquirol (1772–1840) that he could recount the history of France through asylum registries.
From those two components, Laure Murat embarks on an exploration of the surprising relationship between history and madness. She uncovers countless stories of patients whose delusions seem to be rooted in the historical or political traumas of their time, like the watchmaker who believed he lived with a new head, his original having been removed at the guillotine. In the troubled wake of the Revolution, meanwhile, French physicians diagnosed a number of mental illnesses tied to current events, from “revolutionary neuroses” and “democratic disease” to the “ambitious monomania” of the Restoration. How, Murat asks, do history and psychiatry, the nation and the individual psyche, interface?
A fascinating history of psychiatry—but of a wholly new sort—The Man Who Thought He Was Napoleon offers the first sustained analysis of the intertwined discourses of madness, psychiatry, history, and political theory.
While mental illness and mental health care are increasingly recognized and accepted in today’s society, awareness of the most severely mentally ill—as well as those who care for them—is still dominated by stereotypes. Managing Madness in the Community dispels the myth. Readers will see how treatment options often depend on the social status, race, and gender of both clients and carers; how ideas in the field of mental health care—conflicting priorities and approaches—actually affect what happens on the ground; and how, amid the competing demands of clients and families, government agencies, bureaucrats and advocates, the fragmented American mental health system really works—or doesn’t.
In the wake of movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Shutter Island, most people picture the severely or chronically mentally ill being treated in cold, remote, and forbidding facilities. But the reality is very different. Today the majority of deeply troubled mental patients get treatment in nonprofit community organizations. And it is to two such organizations in the Midwest that this study looks for answers. Drawing upon a wealth of unique evidence—fifteen months of ethnographic observations, 91 interviews with clients and workers, and a range of documents—Managing Madness in the Community lays bare the sometimes disturbing nature and effects of our overly complex and disconnected mental health system.
Kerry Michael Dobransky examines the practical strategies organizations and their clients use to manage the often-conflicting demands of a host of constituencies, laws, and regulations. Bringing to light the challenges confronting patients and staff of the community-based institutions that bear the brunt of caring for the mentally ill, his book provides a useful broad framework that will help researchers and policymakers understand the key forces influencing the mental health services system today.
How does a parent make sense of a child’s severe mental illness? How does a father meet the daily challenges of caring for his gifted but delusional son, while seeking to overcome the stigma of madness and the limits of psychiatry? W. J. T. Mitchell’s memoir tells the story—at once representative and unique—of one family’s encounter with mental illness and bears witness to the life of the talented young man who was his son.
Gabriel Mitchell was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age twenty-one and died by suicide eighteen years later. He left behind a remarkable archive of creative work and a father determined to honor his son’s attempts to conquer his own illness. Before his death, Gabe had been working on a film that would show madness from inside and out, as media stereotype and spectacle, symptom and stigma, malady and minority status, disability and gateway to insight. He was convinced that madness is an extreme form of subjective experience that we all endure at some point in our lives, whether in moments of ecstasy or melancholy, or in the enduring trauma of a broken heart. Gabe’s declared ambition was to transform schizophrenia from a death sentence to a learning experience, and madness from a curse to a critical perspective.
Shot through with love and pain, Mental Traveler shows how Gabe drew his father into his quest for enlightenment within madness. It is a book that will touch anyone struggling to cope with mental illness, and especially for parents and caregivers of those caught in its grasp.
A Mind That Found Itself
Clifford W. Beers University of Pittsburgh Press, 1981 Library of Congress RC439.B4 1981 | Dewey Decimal 362.20924
At once a classic account of the ravages of mental illness and a major American autobiography, A Mind That Found Itself tells the story of a young man who is gradually enveloped by a psychosis. His well-meaning family commits him to a series of mental hospitals, but he is brutalized by the treatment, and his moments of fleeting sanity become fewer and fewer. His ultimate recovery is a triumph of the human spirit.
The publication of A Mind That Found Itself did for the American mental health movement what Thomas Paineís Common Sense did for the American Revolution. Moreover, it grips the imagination of readers not because it is a document of social reform but because it is a superb narrative. As the distinguished psychiatrist and writer Robert Coles has noted, the book ìprovides the virtues of clinical analysis, as well as personal reminiscence, all rendered with a novelistís eye for the particular, for emotional nuance, for chronological progression. . . . Steadily, forthrightly, we come in touch with the nature of delusions and hallucinations: the complex, symbolically charged, nightmarish world of fear, suspicion, irritability and truculence.î
Recovered from his illness, Beers began a lifelong crusade, through the National Committee for Mental Hygiene and the American Foundation for Mental Hygiene, to revolutionize the care and treatment of the mentally ill. The persuasive chronicler of mental illness became a sophisticated, pragmatic organizer and reformer.
A Mind That Found Itself was first published in 1908 but remains compelling and clinically accurate—an unforgettable reading experience.
This edition of Moby-Dick, released in honor of the book's sesquicentennial, is the authoritative text of one of the world's great adventure stories. A crew of whalers sets out in pursuit of a fierce white whale. Their names ring through the canon of American literature: Ishmael, the narrator; Queequeg, a South Seas harpooner; Starbuck, the sober and serious chief mate; and above all Captain Ahab, part-Faust and part-Job, obsessed with the destruction of his foe.
This text of Moby-Dick is an Approved Text of the Center for Scholarly Editions (Modern Language Association of America).
Anna Ott died in the Wisconsin State Hospital for the Insane in 1893. She had enjoyed status and financial success first as a physician's wife and then as the only female doctor in Madison. Throughout her first marriage, attempts to divorce her abusive second husband, and twenty years of institutionalization, Ott determinedly shaped her own life.
Kim E. Nielsen explores a life at once irregular and unexceptional. Historical and institutional structures, like her whiteness and laws that liberalized divorce and women's ability to control their property, opened up uncommon possibilities for Ott. Other structures, from domestic violence in the home to rampant sexism and ableism outside of it, remained a part of even affluent women's lives. Money, Marriage, and Madness tells a forgotten story of how the legal and medical cultures of the time shaped one woman—and what her life tells us about power and society in nineteenth century America.
Part medical mystery, part war story, and part social and family history, The Mythical Bill is the story of how one man’s physical and mental pain radiates outward into the life and mind of each member of his family. Weaving together diary entries, correspondence, and scrupulous research, Jody McAuliffe examines her father’s life before, during, and after WWII, seeking answers to the questions of what really happened to Bill McAuliffe and what caused his disintegration. His initial postwar diagnosis was torticollis: a condition of persistent involuntary contraction of the neck muscles, causing the head to be twisted to an abnormal position. But torticollis was only the beginning of Bill’s suffering and his daughter’s efforts to understand it. The condition becomes a metaphor for things that refuse to fall into place: the body not in accord with the mind, the head that turns away from reality.
From this drama of dislocation and disjointed truths, two braided selves emerge: the I of Jody and the I of Bill. Through this doubleness, the writer probes a set of questions about how much we shape ourselves and how much we are shaped by forces beyond our control.
The Mythical Bill, a moving and unusual book, is for people who suffer the devastating effects of combat on the psyche, for those who encounter any debilitating disease, and for those who grow up with a father only partially present. McAuliffe’s ear-catching, evocative, and often breathtaking writing forces readers to confront the most terrifying question posed by a parent’s mental illness: will I get it too? Her narrative voice is searching, compassionate, and self-deprecating, but cut through with welcome bits of humor in this daughter’s story of confusion, sadness, and loss.
In 1959, a Black man named Eldrewey Stearns was beaten by Houston police after being stopped for a traffic violation. He was not the first to suffer such brutality, but the incident sparked Stearns’s conscience and six months later he was leading the first sit-in west of the Mississippi River. No Color Is My Kind, first published in 1997, introduced readers to Stearns, including his work as a civil rights leader and lawyer in Houston’s desegregation movement between 1959 and 1963. This remarkable and important history, however, was nearly lost to bipolar affective disorder. Stearns was a fifty-two-year-old patient in a Galveston psychiatric hospital when Thomas Cole first met him in 1984. Over the course of a decade, Cole and Stearns slowly recovered the details of Stearns’s life before his slide into mental illness, writing a story that is more relevant today than ever.
In this new edition, Cole fills in the gaps between the late 1990s and now, providing an update on the progress of civil rights in Houston and Stearns himself. He also reflects on his tumultuous and often painful collaboration with Stearns, challenging readers to be part of his journey to understand the struggles of a Black man’s complex life. At once poignant, tragic, and emotionally charged, No Color Is My Kind is essential reading as the current movement for racial reconciliation gathers momentum.
No Color Is My Kind is an uncommon chronicle of identity, fate, and compassion as two men—one Jewish and one African American—set out to rediscover a life lost to manic depression and alcoholism. In 1984, Thomas Cole discovered Eldrewey Stearns in a Galveston psychiatric hospital. Stearns, a fifty-two-year-old black man, complained that although he felt very important, no one understood him. Over the course of the next decade, Cole and Stearns, in a tumultuous and often painful collaboration, recovered Stearns’ life before his slide into madness—as a young boy in Galveston and San Augustine and as a civil rights leader and lawyer who sparked Houston’s desegregation movement between 1959 and 1963. While other southern cities rocked with violence, Houston integrated its public accommodations peacefully. In these pages appear figures such as Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr., Leon Jaworski, and Dan Rather, all of whom—along with Stearns—maneuvered and conspired to integrate the city quickly and calmly. Weaving the tragic story of a charismatic and deeply troubled leader into the record of a major historic event, Cole also explores his emotionally charged collaboration with Stearns. Their poignant relationship sheds powerful and healing light on contemporary race relations in America, and especially on issues of power, authority, and mental illness.
There is little doubt among scientists and the general public that homelessness, mental illness, and addiction are inter-related. In Of Others Inside, Darin Weinberg examines how these inter-relations have taken form in the United States. He links the establishment of these connections to the movement of mental health and addiction treatment from redemptive processes to punitive ones and back again, and explores the connection between social welfare, rehabilitation, and the criminal justice system.
Seeking to offer a new sociological understanding of the relationship between social exclusion and mental disability, Of Others Inside considers the general social conditions of homelessness, poverty, and social marginality in the U.S. Weinberg also explores questions about American perceptions of these conditions, and examines in great detail the social reality of mental disability and drug addiction without reducing people's suffering to simple notions of biological fate or social disorder.
Friedrich Dürrenmatt University of Chicago Press, 2006 Library of Congress PT2607.U493
Set in a small town in Switzerland, The Pledge centers around the murder of a young girl and the detective who promises the victim’s mother he will find the perpetrator. After deciding the wrong man has been arrested for the crime, the detective lays a trap for the real killer—with all the patience of a master fisherman. But cruel turns of plot conspire to make him pay dearly for his pledge. Here Friedrich Dürrenmatt conveys his brilliant ear for dialogue and a devastating sense of timing and suspense. Joel Agee’s skilled translation effectively captures the various voices in the original, as well as its chilling conclusion.
One of Dürrenmatt’s most diabolically imagined and constructed novels, The Pledge was adapted for the screen in 2000 in a film directed by Sean Penn and starring Jack Nicholson.
Author Luke Longstreet Sullivan has a simple way of describing his new memoir: “It’s like The Shining . . . only funnier.” Thirty Rooms to HideIn tells the astonishing story of Sullivan’s father and his descent from one of the world’s top orthopedic surgeons at the Mayo Clinic to a man who is increasingly abusive, alcoholic, and insane, ultimately dying alone on the floor of a Georgia motel room. For his wife and six sons, the years prior to his death were characterized by turmoil, anger, and family dysfunction; but somehow they were also a time of real happiness for Sullivan and his brothers, full of dark humor and much laughter.
Through the 1950s and 1960s, the six brothers had a wildly fun and thoroughly dysfunctional childhood living in a forbidding thirty-room mansion, known as the Millstone, on the outskirts of Rochester, Minnesota. The many rooms of the immense home, as well as their mother’s loving protection, allowed the Sullivan brothers to grow up as normal, mischievous boys. Against a backdrop of the times—the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, fallout shelters, JFK’s assassination, and the Beatles—the cracks in their home life and their father’s psyche continue to widen. When their mother decides to leave the Millstone and move the family across town, the Sullivan boys are able to find solace in each other and in rock ’n’ roll.
As Thirty Rooms to HideIn follows the story of the Sullivan family—at times grim, at others poignant—a wonderful, dark humor lifts the narrative. Tragic, funny, and powerfully evocative of the 1950s and 1960s, Thirty Rooms to Hide In is a tale of public success and private dysfunction, personal and familial resilience, and the strange power of humor to give refuge when it is needed most, even if it can’t always provide the answers.
Ties that Enable is written for students, providers, and advocates seeking to understand how best to improve mental health care – be it for themselves, their loved ones, their clients, or for the wider community. The authors integrate their knowledge of mental health care as researchers, teachers, and advocates and rely on the experiences of people living with severe mental health problems to help understand the sources of community solidarity. Communities are the primary source of social solidarity, and given the diversity of communities, solutions to the problems faced by individuals living with severe mental health problems must start with community level initiatives. “Ties that Enable” examines the role of a faith-based community group in providing a sense of place and belonging as well as reinforcing a valued social identity. The authors argue that mental health reform efforts need to move beyond a focus on individual recovery to more complex understandings of the meaning of community care. In addition, mental health care needs to move from a medical model to a social model which sees the roots of mental illness and recovery as lying in society, not the individual. It is our society’s inability to provide inclusive supportive environments which restrict the ability of individuals to recover. This book provides insights into how communities and system level reforms can promote justice and the higher ideals we aspire to as a society.