By Bob Carolla, NAMI Director of Media Relations
Books can make great holiday gifts. Here are a few around which there’s been some “buzz” in 2011. It’s not intended to be a comprehensive list and these are only a few suggestions. Scores of excellent books come across my news desk every week.
Non-fiction books, memoirs and novels all contribute to education and greater understanding of mental illness. Memoirs and novels can be especially good gifts for people who have never had direct exposure to the topic. They can be used as excellent conversation-starters.
For additional titles, browse back issues of NAMI’s Advocate and e-Advocate magazines.
1. Individuals who experienced psychosis and their families and friends who responded to NAMI’s First Episode; Psychosis survey in 2011 recommended Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Patients and Providersand the more recent I'm Not Sick, I Don't Need Help: How to Help Someone with a Mental Illness Accept Treatmentamong the most helpful books.
2. The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know
3. The First Episode of Psychosis: A Guide for Patients and Their Families
4. A First Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness
5. Living with Depression: Why Biology and Biography Matter Along the Path to Hope and Recovery
6. Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: How to Keep Out-of-Control Emotions from Destroying Your Relationship
7. The 10 Best-Ever Depression Management Techniques: Understanding How Your Brain Makes You Depressed and What You Can Do to Change It
8. NAMI’s First Episode: Psychosis survey in 2011 identified two memoirs as being especially helpful to persons who had experienced psychosis or their family and friends: An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madnessand The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
9. Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So; author, Mark Vonnegut, M.D., who lives with bipolar disorder, received one of NAMI’s highest awards in 2011 for leadership, courage and service.
10. A Legacy of Madness: Recovering My Family from Generations of Mental Illness
11. Where are the Cocoa Puffs? A Family's Journey through Bipolar Disorder; NAMI Executive Director Mike Fitzpatrick has called this novel “a coming of age story that tells many truths.”
12. It's Kind of a Funny Story, often found in high school libraries, helps to demystify psychiatric hospitalizations and open the door to class or family discussions of mental illness. The movie version received a Voice Award in 2011.
While there aren’t any other gift ideas for any other movies, documentaries, etc., feel free to browse the Voice Awards lists for 2011 and previous years. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) present the Voice Awards each year for films that present accurate, respectful portrayals of mental illness.