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Reading List

For Families of People with Serious Mental Illness

Factual Information

The Broken Brain: The Biological Revolution in Psychiatry by Nancy C. Andreasen (Harper and Row 1984) - Provides a very readable discussion of the bio-medical aspects of serious mental illnesses, including a description of how the brain works.

The Caring Family: Living with Chronic Mental Illness by Kayla Bernheim, Richard Lewine and Caroline Beale (Random House 1982) - Gives good advice to families regarding the feelings and practical problems resulting from having a relative with a serious mental illness. Does not describe different types of illnesses.

Overcoming Depression by D. and J. Papolos (Harper and Row 1987) - A comprehensive, basic book on mood disorders (unipolar and bipolar) for family members, friends and the ill person.

Psychoactive Drugs and Their Effects on Mentally Ill Persons by Jean K. Bouricius (NAMI Book No. 3, 1989) - A handbook about medication for patients and families.

Schizophrenia: Straight Talk for Families and Friends by Maryellen Walsh (Warner Books, 1986) - An emotional and touching book, full of understanding, some practical advice, written in a very readable style with a sense of humour.

Surviving Schizophrenia: A Family Manual by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. (Revised Edition, Harper and Row 1988) - This is a book that families have found helpful.

When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness: A Handbook for Family, Friends, and Caregivers by Rebecca Woolis (J.P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2003) - Offers a description of mental illnesses, their treatments, and practical advice for dealing with the numerous day-to-day issues caregivers face.

Personal Stories

Anguished Voices: Personal Accounts of Siblings and Children of People with Mental Illness Monograph, edited by Rex M. Dickens and Diane T. Marsh (Boston Univ. Center of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Reprint Service, 1994) - compelling personal accounts of the impact of growing up with mental illness in the family.

The Four of Us: A Family Memoir by Elizabeth Swados (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1991) - Probably the most extensive account to date of the impact upon a sibling as well as his parents of a family member's mental illness.

He Was Still My Daddy: Coming to Terms with Mental Illness by Laurie Samsel Olson (Ogden House Publishing, 1994) - A very poignant, personal and frank description of what it is like growing up with a father who developed paranoid schizophrenia.

My Sister's Keeper by Margaret Moorman (Norton, 1992) - A most insightful description of how a sibling learns to cope with mental illness as well as its impact on the rest of the family.

Searching for Mercy Street by Linda G. Sexton (Little, Brown, and Co., 1994) - Written by the daughter of the poet Anne Sexton who also suffered from bipolar disorder. Good for adult children of people with mental illness.

We Heard the Angel's of Madness: One Family's Struggle with Manic Depression by Diane and Lisa Berger (William Morrow and Co., 1991) - A mother's account of her 18 year old son's return from college and onset of his manic depressive illness.

Reading List for Professionals and Families Regarding Adults with Serious Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders

Behavioral Family Therapy for Psychiatric Disorders by K. Mueser and G. Glynn (Allyn and Bacon, 1995) - Focuses exclusively and in-depth on long term (one year) psycho-education in the individual family format.

Family Caregiving in Mental Illness by H. Lefley (Sage, 1996) - Comprehensive overview of roles, families play in caring for relatives with mental illness. Discusses historical perspectives, different family members and life-cycle issues.

Families and Mental Illness: New Directions in Professional Practice by D. Marsh (Praeger, 1992) - Provides a positive framework for working with families but gives few specific clinical interventions.

Helping Families Cope with Mental Illness edited by H. Lefley and M. Wasow (Harwood Academic Publishers, 1994)- Family-professional relationships, services for families, training and research, and future directions.

Psychiatric Rehabilitation by W.A. Anthony (Boston University, 1990) - Overview of the attitudes, programmatic elements and strategies of psychosocial rehabilitation.

Schizophrenia: Family Education Methods by Christopher Amenson (Pacific Clinics Institute, 1998) - Overview and manual for working with families of people with a variety of serious mental illnesses.

Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention by T. Gorski (Independence Press, 1986) - Widely used paradigm for dual diagnosis groups.

When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness: A Handbook for Family, Friends, and Caregivers by Rebecca Woolis (J.P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1992) - Offers a description of mental illnesses, their treatments, and practical advice for dealing with the numerous day-to-day issues caregivers face.