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Michael G. Rayel

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First Aid to Mental Illness: A Practical Guide for Patients and Caregivers
by Michael G. Rayel   

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Publisher:  Soar Dime Limited ISBN-10:  0968781659 Type: 


Copyright:  Jan 23 2002

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This book, an indispensable and practical resource for patients and caregivers, introduces the concept of first aid to the most common mental health problems.

Barnes &
Soar Dime Limited

The value of first aid intervention has long been recognized in the treatment of physical illness. But to date, the concept of first aid has so far eluded the realm of mental health. While treatment strategies have been developed and utilized by professionals, none have been designed to enable patients and caregivers recognize and make an initial assessment of a particular mental illness, and provide early intervention. This groundbreaking book introduces the concept of first aid to the most common mental health problems. It outlines the CARE approach - a basic and practical guide in Checking for the presence of a mental health problem; Anticipating possible complications of certain mental illness if not addressed properly; providing an early Remedy or intervention; and Educating the patients and caregivers about the illness and the do's and don'ts when confronted with mental health issues.

This book introduces the HEAL technique and the HELP method - useful approaches that can be applied during the initial and crucial stages of the mental illness. Aside from educating patients and caregivers about the common mental disorders, the book further describes important coping skills such as problem-soving strategies, anger management, relaxation techniques, among others. Finally, it supplies answers to common concerns and legal questions such as involuntary hospitalization, confidentiality, informed consent, suicide and homicidal risks, and emergency and crisis situations.

Professional Reviews

An extremely useful text!!
This handbook, designed for the lay reader, approaches the question of mental illness from a novel and ultimately de-stigmatizing angle. The author has designed this in parallel with first aid books in general medical care such as treatments for wounds, puncture wounds, hemorrhage, shock, etc. But here, he attempts to do the same for family members and uniquely, for patients themselves in coping with mental illness from what is essentially a first aid perspective. This novel approach is reasonably successful in this author's hands and continues his tradition of teaching starting from some of his textbooks on board examination. After supplying a number of acronyms and mnemonics for the caregivers and the patients, he devotes two chapters to basic coping skills to deal with mental illness. The remaining chapters address depression, mania, panic attacks, phobia, obsessions and compulsions, emotional difficulties after trauma, anxiety, psychosis, drug and alcohol use, eating disorders, dementia, and grief and bereavement. The author closes with a chapter on commonly asked questions and has appendices with resources for patients and caregivers, together with a bibliography and recommended readings. Because each chapter is designed to stand on its own, there is some inevitable repetitiveness, but the author's straightforward and common sense approaches, reasonably free of jargon, are a refreshing contribution to our field. They represent an attempt at demystification of psychiatry and provide practical approaches to the first response by family members and patients themselves to the onset of mental illness and its symptoms. One of the best approaches in the book is the many actual clinical examples that are scattered throughout the text. I am also impressed with the author's advice to family members and caretakers to "take care of themselves," as well, in recognition of the generally draining and dificult effects of mental illness on family. I am less enamored of the inclusion of whole pages from the DSM, since I have found the DSM not particularly helpful in clinical work and, hence, not likely to be helpful to family members and lay readers. However, in the service of demystification, I suppose inclusion of this arcane manual may be justified. In general, I found this one of the few textbooks in our field that takes the perspective of the distressed family members and the even more distressed patients themselves in an attempt to help them cope with the onset of these disabling conditions. This is an extremely useful text for those experiencing the pain of a mentally ill relative and seeking common sense strategies with which to cope. I recommend this book to those individuals. I also feel it has value for patients struggling to make sense of and cope on a day-to-day basis with their illnesses. Thomas G. Gutheil, MD Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical Schhol

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Reader Reviews for "First Aid to Mental Illness: A Practical Guide for Patients and Caregivers"

Reviewed by Miller Caldwell 9/25/2004
Indeed a much welcomed book for patients, carers as well as professionals in the Health Service.Why not get the book serialised into half hour television programmes? It is material ready for a hunmgry market.
Best wishes

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