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Tag: mental health

The Pain of Suicide by Dr Jo-Ann Rowland

 

Every suicide is an individual tragedy whose origins challenge our mental capacity. Suicide is a global phenomenon. Each year there are over 800,000 reported suicides worldwide and that is expected to increase to over 1.5 million by 2020. More people attempt suicide than die from suicide. Family-member survivors and communities are left with many unanswered questions, not understanding why the person chose to commit suicide. Persons responding to suicide and suicide attempts are very often not prepared for what they encounter and this exacerbates the problem. This book looks at the struggles of a high-risk people group and presents interventions and postventions proffered in a consultation forum.

Thank you to Authoright for this ARC!

Dr Rowland’s concern for those lost to suicide is evident in this well-researched book. She concentrates on the suicide rate in Guyana, South America, since this little country had the highest number of suicides in 2012 and 2014. Further into the book she examines some insights into the suicidal mind, the effect of religion on those who want to kill themselves, and a discussion of “psychache”, the ongoing mental, emotional, and psychological emotions experienced by suicidal people.

Regarding Guyana, suicide has historically been a part of the Indian experience, with an average yearly number of about 123,000. There are various predisposing factors, such as culture and sociology, which the author explores further in other chapters.

Hopelessness and suicidal ideation are common threads amongst all races, with the thought being that counseling (both for the depressed person and bereavement) would be helpful. The stigma and grief are nearly unbearable, and the act should not be glamorized. Regarding this last statement, the World Health Organization created guidelines for media reporting of suicides such that a phenomenon called “suicide contagion” does not occur. These guidelines include not placing blame, calling the act “completed” rather than “successful”, and highlight alternatives to suicide. These may appear obvious, but there are stories in the book where friends and relatives seemingly ignored or didn’t understand multiple warning signs given off, and someone died as a result of this.

Dr Rowland’s research was conducted through meetings with both relatives of, and survivors of, suicide attempts. Her goal was to determine why the suicide rate in Guyana was so high and to see if she could make a difference in this number. Transcripts of her meetings were also analyzed independently by two Guyanese, who applied both cultural and academic reason to their analysis. Intervention strategies were discussed by a panel of doctors and social workers after the research findings were examined. Some of these intervention strategies included community care groups, parenting/coping skills, school-based programs, and the establishment of drug courts. This last item is quite important, for pesticides and drugs are used as a method for suicide. Many Guyanese are farmers and have ready access to agricultural chemicals.

Reasons discovered for suicide included depression, substance abuse, and family dysfunction. Family conflicts arose out of cultural differences between children and parents, or marriages where the husband did not support his wife adequately. Guyanese families are structured around the patriarchal system, and “culture shock” can occur when mothers need to work to support the family and the children are left alone with no caregivers.

Suicide survivors expressed the pain of being misunderstood and unsupported by parents or family. There is also a stigma so forceful that one parent “self-discharged” her minor child, claiming the embarrassment of the attempt was too much for the family to bear.

The author concludes that lack of coping skills devalues the meaning of life, and drive these hurting individuals to seek “peace” via suicide. The reasons are the same no matter what country one is from, and there is heartache (or psychache) within every culture.

Dr Rowland has set up an organization in Guyana called Ephrathah, built specifically to engage those who are hurting. Counseling and persona development programs are offered to help reach those who are in despair, regardless of ethnicity or community status. I feel this organization will go a long way to help these vulnerable individuals.

I commend Dr Rowland for giving of her time and interest so freely. She is truly a caring soul who is seeking to mitigate suicidal ideation not only in Guyana, but all over the world. Her research can be translated into any culture in any country and needs to serve as a wakeup call to those who may have suicidal friends or relatives. Mental health can be a challenge at any age or stage, and we must all be willing to give that extra attention to someone who is depressed or hurting. That little bit may go a long way in saving a life. Please take the time to read this book and understand more about suicide. You can get your copy here.

A Tiny Feeling Of Fear by M. Jonathan Lee

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“I’ve made a decision to become the only person on the planet to become completely truthful about everything. I’ve never told anyone my secrets before. I’m hoping that being honest with you may just save my life. And perhaps yours.”

This third novel by Jonathan Lee takes the reader through the many insecurities we all experience, through the eyes of Andrew Walker, an ordinary guy with an extraordinary twist to the tale. Jonathan is working closely with MIND and Rethink mental health charities to raise awareness of mental health issues.

 

Thanks to Publishing Push and the author for gifting me this review copy!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, as the blurb talks about mental health. Was this going to be the crazy ramblings of a manic depressive, or a thinly disguised dream sequence passed off as real life until the very end?

It’s neither. A TINY FEELING OF FEAR is a wonderfully down to earth, no holds barred tale of a man who is suffering from depression. It’s also something more—a story with a crazy, jaw dropping twist that no one could EVER see coming, not in a million years. The plot kept me interested, and I so appreciated the author’s wry humor, especially when describing Walker’s coworkers. After spending time with his office mates, it’s no wonder he was depressed. Hostility and impotence hang over everyone’s head like a miasma, with Andrew Walker at the center. The author’s recounting of a nasty, demanding customer is spot on and cringingly accurate. Anyone who has ever worked in client services will have flashbacks, especially when an angry customer is abusing Walker and we are privy to his mental dialogue. Those are the bright spots. Interspersed with these moments are Walker at his darkest, when he is having such a bad day he can’t even get out of bed and is contemplating suicide. His anxiety and how it affects him is recounted in excruciatingly correct detail; anyone who has suffered from this all too prevalent malady will be intimately familiar with the pounding heart, crushing doubt, and sense of failure. A simple trip to the supermarket nearly turns into a disaster, as Walker almost loses his grip on reality as he travels up and down the aisles.

The one bright spot in his life is his next door neighbor, newly moved in and with issues of her own. The two form an oddly awkward yet comforting relationship, and she helps Walker come to grips with a personal decision that is a long time coming. Some details about his life are revealed very slowly, and I got the sense that even though he was keen enough to make others familiar with the anxiety, I was not permitted to gain very much insight into the man that Walker was. Often the character says that he is worthless, ordinary, and uninteresting, which is normal for someone with depression. Over time, we learn exactly what happened to bring about this life change.

As Walker leaves for a business trip, a few plot lines are near to becoming resolved. I felt so bad for the character and wondered what would be happening–would the author create a happy ending or would there be more misery? Depression and anxiety are not always “fixed”, and I was curious to see how things would turn out. After all, the blurb says that the character is being honest, and this may just save a life.

In any case, no matter what scenario you may have built up in your mind will not prepare you for how things end. Anyone who says they saw this coming is either lying or crazy–or both. I felt exhilarated and manipulated all at the same time, and there were times where I wasn’t sure what just happened. Jonathan Lee is crazy talented and crafty as hell to have pulled this off, that is about all I can say without spoiling the surprise. He has managed to create a book that will spark dialogue about mental illness while entertaining the reader and making their mind boggle. Quite impressive.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”B015OQN4ES” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

 

 

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