The Chrysalid Years

Abigail Freeman.
ISBN 0 9513660 5 X

is the latest addition to the growing body of literature featuring personal
accounts of mental disorder and recovery. It is a detailed and engaging account
of the author’s own experiences despite being written in the third person.

is more in the style of a novel than other such books and some will find this
makes it more accessible. The reader is taken through the minutiae and
important detail of daily exchanges. Conversations between key characters form
a significant part of the book.

author now practises mental health advocacy under her own name and the lack of
effective advocacy for those engaged with mental health services is a major
message from the book.

the author was not compulsorily admitted under the Mental Health Act 1983 she
makes it clear that she was, in effect, detained.The Bournewood case has drawn
some attention to this area for certain groups and this book throws further
light on the issue as it affects others. One of the messages from the personal
account is to strengthen the case for a right to advocacy beyond those who are
formally detained.

book is a welcome addition to the literature.

Brown is head of approved social work training programmes in Hampshire, south
London and south west England. He is also a Mental Health Act Commissioner.

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