Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic Stories About Mental Illness

Darryl Cunningham, Author
Darryl Cunningham, Bloomsbury, $15 (160p) ISBN 978-1-60819-278-6
Hardcover - 103 pages - 978-1-906653-08-8
Hardcover - 176 pages - 978-1-906653-30-9
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In this debut book, Cunningham tells his reader right away that he has a message to impart. Having worked for years as a health care assistant in a hospital's psychiatric ward, he states his intent to counter the stigma surrounding mental illness and to represent the patients who suffer from "this most mysterious group of illnesses." The down and dirty truth about what it takes to care for dementia patients, the acts that self-harming patients are capable of, and the conundrum of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia all make for powerful, informative, and sometimes difficult reading. Cunningham's message, that "a mental illness is a brain disease just as a stroke or a brain tumor is a brain disease," is delivered in direct, no-nonsense language, while black and white drawings convey the hectic life of the disordered mind. Cunningham frequently speaks directly to sufferers, telling them that their symptoms are not their fault, that there are ways of dealing with them and simply that "you can survive." Speaking with compassion and clarity, Cunningham tells of his own struggles with severe anxiety and depression. creating a valuable tool for both those within the mental health profession and casual readers who may know someone with mental illness. (Feb.)
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