Mental Illness – A Handbook for Carers

by Rosalind Ramsay, Claire Gerada, Sarah Mars and George Szmukler.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN 1 85302 934 3

book is aimed at those caring for family members or friends with mental
illness, although its appeal is likely to be broader. The editors have gathered
together a wide range of people with specialist knowledge and have managed to
get them all to write in an accessible style.

is in two parts. The first covers a range of mental illnesses. Each of these
chapters conveys key issues in about 10 pages. The second part looks at
services in 18 short chapters, covering different services but also addressing
important topics such as confidentiality, stigma and law. More detail in the
legal chapter would have been helpful (the definition of mental disorder is
inaccurate) and, as with other parts of the book, there are references that are
not listed in a way that makes them easy to find. There is no bibliography,
which would be less of an issue if referencing were better.

the end of the book there is a helpful glossary explaining terms that
professionals often use without clarifying. There is also a list of resources,
although it is rather geographically biased (there are ethnic minority
organisations outside London). On balance, this is a useful addition to the
literature available to carers.

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

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