• Our Encounters with Madness

Our Encounters with Madness

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ISBN 978 1 906254 38 4 (2011)
Cover Price: £22.00
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A collection of user, carer and survivor narratives, this book is grouped under five themes: On diagnosis; Stories of experience (of mental health problems); Experiencing the mental health system; On being a carer and Abuse and Survival.

The book should be of great benefit to students of mental health, narrative enquiry, user and carers, and those interested in the pedagogy of suffering more generally. Unlike most other books in this genre, the narratives are unmediated. Written by experts by experience, there are no professional, biomedical or psychotherapeutic commentaries, which so often serve to capture, tame or sanitise such stories of direct experience.

Forewords Professor Phil Barker and Professor Arthur Frank
Introduction: Learning from narrative accounts of the experience of mental health challenges Alec Grant

On Diagnosis
On hearing my diagnosis Andrew Voyce
My dialogue with a diagnosis Amanda Nicol

Stories of Experience
Flashbacks and more:My PTSD story Richard Peacocke
Pain: My despair Richard Peacocke
School: On panic, depression and suidical thoughts Thom
Marianne Amanda Nicol
Can I ever be a good enough mother? Nicola Oliver
On schizophrenia Andrew Voyce
Alcohol and the hotel bar Henry Laxton
Living rough, flying high Roxanna Mullick
Recovery and rediscovery Sarah Nayler
On rejection and acceptance Hannah Walker
Healthy body, healthy mind Terry Bowyer
Up and down the mood scale Maggie Walker
When John met Anorexia John Evans
Shit happens Ali Quant

Experiencing the System
Surviving: From silence to speaking out Helen Leigh-Pippard
Life is like a game of snakes and ladders Diana Byrne
My involvement with mental health services Andrew Voyce
Electroconvulsive therapy Judith Haire
My decent into psychosis Judith Haire
Performing the room: Four days on an acute ward Alec Grant
Freeze frame: Reflections on being in hospital Nigel Short
Bad and mad: Menatl health problems and the criminal justice system Andrew Voyce
How did that happen? Service versus personal needs Jamie James
SEX Richard Peacocke

On Being a Carer
Dementia: The end remains inevitable but the journey can be improved John Major
Diagnosing Clapham Junction Syndrome Sir Terry Pratchett
My sweet sister and I Catherine Jenkins
My beautiful boy got ill Maggie Lloyd
Archimedes and Rabbit: Me and my brother Jonathan Lloyd

Abuse and Survival
Abuse: the not-so-tender trap Marjorie Holmes
Entering and breaking Keith King
Psychiatry's Unholy Trinity: Fraud, Fear and Force Leonard Roy Frank
be-ing Twitch Carol Rambo
My life: My encounters with insanity Fran Biley

An epilogue: Shifting sands Fran Biley and Hannah Walker

I am sat in bed after reading this fantastic book from cover to cover and had to email you to congratulate you. An amazing read, humbling, humanising and really helped personalise the diagnoses and difficulties people experience. Theresa Weston, Occupational Therapist, Forston Clinic nr Dorchester

This book should be read by all mental health workers and students, as well as experienced nurses. We should ask ourselves if we are sometimes guilty of these failings. We should allow our respect to grow for the damaged human beings who, often despite us, get better. Greta McCough, ex-mental health nurse, writer and teacher, Nursing Standard November 2013

I think the main aims of the books are certainly achieved – ‘to provide stories which put the colour into what otherwise might be monochrome portrayals of human distress and resilience’, ‘to reclaim a voice for service users, survivors and carers’, and ‘a hope that mental health professionals and students will gain a better and more empathic understanding.’ I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who wants to really understand the human condition of madness. Dr Brijesh Desai, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, Preston. 

Alec Grant

Dr Alec Grant is now an independent scholar, having retired from his position as Reader in Narrative Mental Health in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Brighton in May 2017. He qualified as a mental health nurse in the mind-1970s, and went on to study psychology, social science and psychotherapy. He is widely published in the fields of ethnography, autoethnography, narrative inquiry, clinical supervision, cognitive behavioural psychotherapy, and communication and interpersonal skills. He originated the 'Our Encounters...' PCCS book series with the late Professor Fran Biley of Bournemouth University, and was lead editor of the first two books in this series, Our Encounters with Madness (2011) and Our Encounters with Suicide (2013).

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Alec Grant

Fran Biley

Francis Biley (1958-2012) was Associate Professor at the University of Bournemouth. He had particular methodological interests in historiography, autoethnography, unitary appreciative inquiry and using the arts and humanities in health care. Clinically, his interests were in the built care environment, and in the service user movement in mental health and adult care. On 31 January 2013 he was awarded a posthumous Professorship in Nursing by Bournemouth University, which was received by his wife Anna, in recognition of his achievement as a scholar and his trajectory towards a Chair.

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Fran Biley

Hannah Walker

Hannah Walker is the Chairperson of the Dorset Mental Health Forum which, amongst other things, offers advocacy services and promotes recovery and wellbeing.

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