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We need to rethink the conversation around mental health.
Public awareness of mental illness has been transformed in recent years, but our understanding of what it actually is has yet to catch up. Too often, psychiatric disorders are confused with the inherent stresses and challenges of human experience. A narrative has taken hold that a mental health crisis has been building among young people in recent years - one that, with the arrival of Covid-19, is set to get far worse.
In this profoundly sensitive and constructive book, psychologist Lucy Foulkes argues that the crisis is one of ignorance as much as illness. Have we raised a 'snowflake' generation? Or are today's young people subjected to greater stress, exacerbated by social media, than ever before? Foulkes shows that both perspectives are useful but limited. As the effects of the pandemic take hold, the real question in need of answering is: how should we distinguish between 'normal' suffering and actual illness?
Drawing on her extensive knowledge of the scientific and clinical literature, Foulkes explains what is known about mental health problems - how they arise, why they so often appear during adolescence, the various tools we have to cope with them - but also what remains unclear: distinguishing between normality and disorder is essential if we are to provide the appropriate help, but no clear line between the two exists in nature. She presents the argument that the widespread misunderstanding of this aspect of mental illness might actually be contributing to its apparent prevalence.
Losing Our Minds provides both the clarity and the nuance that are so urgently needed.
© Lucy Foulkes 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021
A must-read for anyone wondering about the state of the nation's mental health, this straightforward and fascinating book is extremely useful at a time when more and more people seem to be suffering mentally but we are still unsure how to define mental illness and what we can do about it
In this captivating book, Lucy Foulkes writes exquisitely well about this complex subject, from societal and cultural norms to common misunderstandings and the most recent evidence about what causes mental illness and how to treat it. Engaging and lucid, her book illuminates a subject relevant to all of us
Thorough, wise, compassionate and methodical, Lucy Foulkes brings a much needed quality to our rather frantic, shallow understanding of mental illness: nuance
This beautifully written and compassionate account, backed by state-of-the-art scientific evidence, delivers an important message: there is far more variation in the state of our mental health and far more complexity in the diagnosis of mental illness than we tend to believe. This book is needed urgently so that we can examine fears of a tsunami of mental health problems, especially in the light of the current pandemic. Anyone touched by such problems will find much helpful practical advice
This wonderful book offers an amazingly readable and cutting-edge scientific account of mental illness and its relation to the stresses many young adults experience as well as the language we use to talk about ourselves
Understanding issues such as depression, anxiety and burnout can be an important first step to coping during difficult times, and helping others do the same. Here is a selection of books that offer clarity and insight into important areas of well-being.
When we talk about potential negative effects of social media, we assume it’s bringing new harm to an otherwise healthy and happy individual. But whether social media is the cause or a symptom remains unclear, argues psychologist Lucy Foulkes, the author of Losing Our Minds: What Mental Illness Really Is – and What It Isn’t.