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When someone you know has depression-words to say and things to do

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’This book offers useful insight for any health professional working within mental health.’

Title: When someone you know has depression-words to say and things to do

Author: Susan J Noonan

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press

Reviewer: Susie Dunkley, Hospice Clinical Nurse Specialist, St Peter’s Hospice, Bristol

What was it like

This book is both an informative manual for professionals seeking to understand depression, and a self help book for those whose loved ones battle with this condition in its various forms and guises. It is a candid exploration of, not only the personal toll depression wreaks on the sufferer, but also on those close to them who bear witness to their suffering. It holds no punches and is an honest account of how and why depression affects not only the sufferer, but those informal carers so desperate to help the most important people in their lives.

What were the highlights

The highlight of the book is the way in which the author explains the different types of mood disorders and depression. It enables the reader to feel prepared about what to expect, and equips them with the necessary tools to understand and improve the situation. Her focus on maintaining resilience and hope is welcome to anyone affected by the despair, which is so often the bedfellow of depression. She is emphatic throughout about the need for informal carers to attend to their own health and well being as well as those they care for which is hugely refreshing and honest.

Strengths and weaknesses

The author skilfully navigates the reader through different scenarios offering advice and reassurance at each step. She leads the reader through the maze of depression to enhance their understanding of it, it’s causes, manifestations, likely trajectory and the fall out often experienced by the carer. Her compassion for the carer is tangible and genuine, validating their feelings of guilt and helplessness. She is equally supportive of the sufferer demonstrating empathy and pragmatism in equal measure. There is little to criticise in this book, save for perhaps the constant switching between gender pronouns, rather than using ‘they’ or ‘their’ which may have scanned better.

Who should read it

This book offers useful insight for any health professional working within mental health. It is not a clinical text book and it is beyond the scope of the book to discuss each mental health disorder in huge detail. However it is of enormous value to the layperson, hungry for knowledge about how best to interact with and help their loved one face the dreadful ravages of depression.

when someone you know has depression

when someone you know has depression

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