Families on the Treatment Team- and book reviews

First two official reviews for Ben Behind His Voices: exciting! Every positive review, from official sources like these and from readers, will help spread the message of respect, empathy, truth and the need for supportive services for those with mental illness and the people who love them.

From Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal:

An illuminating portrait of a parent coping with the guilt and heartbreak that come from feeling like one can’t “fix” one’s child. VERDICT: Recommended for anyone who is involved with teens or those with mental disorders, and a darn good read for memoir fans.
-Library Journal

A mother wrestles with the advent of her son’s schizophrenia and its long, painful
unfolding….The author….is eminently helpful, particularly in the matter of self-medication,
which so many of the mentally ill prefer to taking the medications that have been prescribed for them….Heartfelt and surely of help to those new to living with mentally ill
loved ones of their own.
-Kirkus review, June 15 2011

Thank you so much for “liking” BBHV’s facebook page, following this blog, calling your libraries to ask them to order the book, and especially now for this: your comments of support re Ben’s recent relapse, and your agreements in outrage that transitional services are greatly in need of improvement. Ben is currently, thankfully, still safe in the hospital while I scramble to try and figure out what options there are for after his release.  This I know: if proper plans are not made, he’ll slip through the cracks again and will re-relapse. There needs to be the “Person-Centered Treatment” he was receiving in his group home – and that’s in opposition to the current team’s assessment that Ben doesn’t need that type of supervision anymore.

NAMI meets in Chicago

The theme of this year’s NAMI National Convention was “Together We’re Better.” Yes, indeed. I learned so much last week, from so many who are advocating for our loved ones, and will do my best to share with you.

Here’s one: Treatment Advocacy Center. Their goal? “Eliminating Barriers to the Treatment of Mental Illness.” Check them out – they have a great video there as well as tons of resources.  I also met Canadian Susan Inman, who wrote After Her Brain Broke, Helping My Daughter Recover Her Sanity. I recommend her book and articles as well. Now, with Ben hopefully back on the road to medication adherence, it’s only because of my insistence – and my official role as conservator – that information is shared with me as to his treatment plan. While I do realize that Ben’s recovery is his own journey, I’m not about to let him be totally in charge at this point if I can help it. There is always that balance between stepping in a letting go. In one article called “Help Us Help Our Children” , Inman says,

“This notion of the overly involved mother is especially persistent and pernicious. Common sense tells women that their currently ill children need their assistance, while mental health professionals are too often quick to label their efforts as intrusive and pathological.”

Yes, Together we are Better. Families should be included in treatment info and plans whenever possible. Let’s work together for “Person-Centered Treatment” that respects the individual but does not close its eyes to the realities of how brain disorders can affect judgment.

0 thoughts on “Families on the Treatment Team- and book reviews

  1. Why is it, do you think, that it’s the mother’s who bear so much of this burden? Just wondering. In my case, I think it’s because my son is a stepson to my husband.

  2. Randye,

    It was so nice to meet you at the NAMI Convention (my first). Indeed, as the theme of the convention said it, “Together, We’re Better.” And that doesn’t just work for the many circles and resources, medical and support and peers networks that were represented in Chicago; it also applies, as you point out, to our working with our children’s care teams, because our children’s illnesses make it at times impossible for them to speak for themselves as consumers of healthcare, regardless of how old they may be.

    Since I came home from Chicago, I have been on the phone a lot, trying to track my son’s status (he has been conserved, but we are not his conservators for a number of practical reasons). Seems that without those calls, things would stall, all of which is not helpful for his recovery — as I know him well and know what works from long experience. And yet, there I am, feeling like the overbearing mother, hovering: overinvolved.

    I look forward to reading your book – and am glad to see these great advance praises for it.

    1. Maria, great meeting you too! And you are so right: “Together We’re Better” – if we can get treatment teams to buy into that, and legislators to support the services…well, we can dream!

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