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Thrive. The Power of Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies

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’This book would be of great interest to the general public, healthcare commissioners, policy makers and healthcare staff.’

Title: Thrive. The Power of Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies

Authors: Richard Layard and David M Clark

Publisher: Allen Lane imprint of Penguin Books 

Reviewer: Carol Singleton, Queen’s Nurse, North Tyneside

What was it like?

There are 16 chapters divided equally between two parts, one part identifies “the problem” and covers what is mental illness, how many suffer, do they get help, how does it affect people’s lives, the economic cost and what causes mental illness. The second part covers, does therapy work, how therapies are developed, what works for whom, can we afford more therapy, improving access to psychological therapies, what works for young people, can we prevent mental illness, would a better culture help and finally stop this pain.

What were the highlights?

I found it particularly useful to have the various types of mental illness described in easy to understand terms with brief case histories to illustrate how the illnesses may present in real terms. The analogy used to explain that we all lie on some point on a spectrum of mental health, in the same way that a person can have high blood pressure but it only becomes a problem when it raises the probability of a heart attack. The cut –off for mental illness is where the level of distress is unacceptably high or the condition interferes unacceptably with a person’s life, provided a helpful explanation of the problem.

Strengths & weaknesses:

For any readers wanting to explore any issues further, there is a comprehensive index, the references are listed in alphabetical order at the back of the book including NICE clinical guidance, there are notes listed by chapter and sources of tables, charts and diagrams are also listed in a separate section.

Who should read it?

This book presents a well argued case describing the nature and scale of the problem of untreated mental illness, outlining possible solutions, the costs and the way forward for our economy and the functioning of our society. This would be of great interest to the general public, healthcare commissioners, policy makers and healthcare staff.



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