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Care in Mental Health - Substance Use

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Title: Care in Mental Health - Substance Use

Editor: David B Cooper

Publisher: Radcliffe, 2011

Reviewer: Greta McGough, freelance writer, retired university lecturer

What was it like?

This excellent book is part of a comprehensive series on mental health issues that arise from substance use and focuses upon care. Substance use includes here the use of prescription drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, and the “slope” that leads from use to abuse is recognised, so that mental health issues are not fudged.


What were the highlights? 

There are many highlights, including the structure of the book, which has many exercises, suggestions for reflective reading, scenarios and discussion of possible answers to these by the authors. The result is a book that is stimulating and exciting to read. There is no doubt that this is a collection of writings to which anyone could return again and again. The writing is thoughtful and thought-provoking, and those described in the scenarios are familiar to us all, but readers will find themselves with a refreshed attitude to how situations and individuals might be answered.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Strengths of this title include comprehensive references and the general structure of the book. This creates a book which is not only focussed and comprehensive, but also readable and accessible. There are no weaknesses as such. At first sight the reader may wonder if the authors are trying to cover too vast a spectrum, but in fact the result of their combined efforts is to produce an excellent volume, full of guidance for every aspect of care.

Who should read it?

Potential readers must include every mental health nurse in the country, because of the insights that are offered into approaches to care, and guidance through potential problems and pitfalls. But in fact because this book is broad-based and ambitious in its scope - and succeeds in that - there are also many, many thoughts and benefits for nursing staff from other disciplines, too. Students following the mental health branch would definitely benefit from these insights, and would find this a sound addition to their personal libraries. Educators in all areas could find suggestions for discussion regarding communication and listening skills, and whenever a consideration of “the whole person” is needed.


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