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Seventeen Voices: life and wisdom from inside mental illness

Wakefield Press
RRP $34.95

The impact of mental illness on people within our community can be devastating and far reaching, both for those who suffer the diagnosis and for those around them such as families, friends, and carers.
In a series of interviews, Marianne Broug opens up the journeys of 17 individuals who have ‘been through the system’.
The interviewees range in ages and backgrounds, as well having experienced different aspects of the broad label of mentally ill.
Ms Broug candidly explores all aspects of their journeys.
Their stories bring a deeper personal understanding of their situations to the reader as well exploring the negative impacts of the mental health system in Australia, which has found it extremely difficult to cope with these extraordinary people.
Each of the people interviewed in Seventeen Voices volunteered to be part of this book, and in each case, the author allowed them to tell their story.
She leads them as far into their understanding as they care to go and draws out a visibility often hidden in our medico-systematic model of care for the ‘mentally ill’.
In doing so, Ms Broug reveals a depth of wisdom and understanding for these 17 people which challenges the ‘normality’ of life we so often take for granted.
I wholeheartedly repeat the comment from the head of the Department of Psychological Medicine at one of Australia’s top hospitals: ‘Not only family members but all mental health professionals should read this revealing account of what it is like to be in our mental health system’.
Reviewed by Peter Harvey, Frontier Services – Flinders Patrol.