Hope for those seeking help

Despite all the talk of mental illness in the media today, its stigma remains. In an editor’s note, Lee Gutkind, founding editor of Creative Nonfiction, cites some remarkable and rather sobering statistics. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in four adults, or roughly 61.5-million Americans, experiences a mental disorder in any given year. Worse, some 60-percent of those adults will not receive treatment during that period. To further compound the tragedy, Gutkind adds, there is a serious scarcity of psychiatrists in the U.S. And yet this excellent collection offers hope for those seeking help with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and dissociative identity disorder. Many of the essays are written by therapists who offer their own perspective on a failing system. Despite the often high odds against mental health patients—institutional failure is a common refrain here, as is misdiagnosis or over-aggressive treatment—these tales from the mental health front lines are stories of recovery. As the writers fully vent their feelings, readers will empathize.