Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What Can I Do? (A Book Review)

Happy Wednesday!! Have I mentioned how much I love short work weeks? They rock!

I know I don't usually talk about "heavy" subjects on the blog but this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I had the opportunity through Business2Blogger to review the book "Mental Illness and Your Town: 37 Ways for Communities to Help and Heal" by Larry Hayes for free.

I wanted to review this book because someone very close to me has bipolar disorder. For privacy purposes, I won't mention who the person is, but I will say that this person is someone I'm very close to. I'll call this person "Roland." Thankfully, the illness is under control. In fact, I've never seen Roland have a manic or depressed episode. His medicines are in check, and if you met him on the street, you'd never know he had an illness.

I started this book eager to learn more about mental illness in general and what I could do to help. Larry Hayes speaks from first-hand experience - his son suffers from a mental illness and he has also experienced depression in his lifetime. This book encourages everyone to take mental illness out of the emergency rooms and psychiatric wards and put it right into your home....your family, your friends, your community....mental illness is around you more than you may think. Larry rallies throughout the book about how you can take action, provide support and help those who struggle with an illness not to fall through the cracks.

One of my favorite parts of the book was expelling the myths of mental illness, for example - poor life decisions cause mental illness, people with mental illness aren't good workers and mental illness is just another name for mental retardation, just to name a few. Lifting the stigma on mental illness is crucial. We need to realize that mental illness does not define someone. It's not something to fear, whether you know someone with an illness or are dealing with an illness yourself.  Speaking firsthand, I know Roland doesn't tell many people about his illness because he doesn't want to be looked at or treated differently.

Despite it's slow start, I believe this book would be great for anyone wanting to answer the question "what can I do in my community to make a difference?"  To learn more about Larry, please visit his website at

Question of the Day:
Read any good books lately?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie