• A Straight Talking Introduction to the Causes of Mental Health Problems (second edition)

A Straight Talking Introduction to the Causes of Mental Health Problems (second edition)

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ISBN 9781915220196
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What causes mental health problems? Nature or nurture? Brain and biology? Genetic inheritance or social environment? Revised and updated, this concise book explains what we know today about the origins of mental distress, drawing on the latest research from across the world. The answer is of course a bit of everything in combination – because the human body and brain are shaped by the environments we inhabit and what happens to us. Human distress is caused by loss, trauma, violence, childhood abuse, social injustices, poverty and deprivation. How well we are able to cope with these stressors likewise depends on a multiplicity of factors and is unique to each individual. An essential addition to the Straight Talking Introduction series, the book supports the call for more understanding of the social determinants of mental wellbeing. It adds to the arguments for treatments that do not rely on the busted hypothesis of neurochemical imbalances.

Introducing the Straight Talking Introductions series – Richard Bentall and Pete Sanders 

1. Our beliefs and values
2. A brief history of beliefs about the causes of human distress
3. The 20th century and beyond: the illness model
4. Do diagnoses help us understand causes?
5. Public opinion: depression is caused by depressing things happening
6. Is the public right? What does the research say about the causes of mental health problems?
7. Psychological theories: how events operate on us to create problems
8. Putting things together: formulating depression
9. 2010–2022 and looking to the future: a call for action

Further reading and resources

What people said about the first edition:

‘An accessible look at complex issues that empowers the reader to start thinking for themselves. A refreshing antidote to the simplistic and pessimistic biomedical model.’
Jacqui Dillon, activist, writer, speaker and former Chair, Hearing Voices Network

‘Brilliantly engaging, understandable and thoughtful… will equip service users, carers and professionals alike with empowering knowledge.’ 
Tony Morrison, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester

‘Perfect for the non-professional. Bought this book while studying level 2 counselling. It’s well written and easy to understand, without all the technical jargon.’
Online reviewer

‘What causes mental health problems? Lots of things combining together. This book describes them, clearly and systematically, and how they interact.’ 
David Kingdon, Emeritus Professor of Mental Health Care Delivery, University of Southampton

John Read

Dr. John Read worked in the UK and USA for 20 years as a Clinical Psychologist and manager of mental health services. He joined the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 1994, where he became Director of the Clinical Psychology doctoral training programme. He held the same position at the University of Liverpool when he returned to the UK in 2013. He is currently Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London and Chair of the Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. He is the author of over 150 research papers, co-editor (with Jacqui Dillon) of Models of Madness: Psychological, social and biological approaches to psychosis (Routledge, 2013) and founding editor of the research journal Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches.

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John Read

Pete Sanders

Pete Sanders worked as a volunteer at ‘Off The Record’, Newcastle-upon Tyne, in 1972 before completing a degree in psychology at the university there, and then the postgraduate diploma in counselling at Aston University. He practised as a counsellor, educator and clinical supervisor for more than 30 years, and published widely on many aspects of counselling, psychotherapy and mental health, as well as co-founding PCCS Books in 1993. After practising and teaching counselling, he continued to have an active interest in developing person-centred theory, the politics of counselling and psychotherapy, and the demedicalisation of distress.  He died in February 2022.

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Pete Sanders