This beautifully produced hardback was created by the author in order to highlight how ‘many of the greatest minds throughout history had lived with mental health disorders.’ Rachael Davis hopes to educate people about mental health and I think she has done this in a very appropriate way. She herself has grown up with mental health disorders and wanted to research role models from whom she could learn. If great figures such as Florence Nightingale and Charles Darwin experienced problems with their mental health and achieved amazing things, there is hope for everyone affected.
Randi Silverman, Founder of the Youth Mental Health Project, in the USA, writes a very moving Foreword. This Project came about after Randi’s family tried to cope with her son’s diagnosis and found a lack of support.
The 21 biographies of famous people are interspersed with information on different mental health conditions: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD); Depression; PTSD; Schizophrenia; Bipolar Disorder; Eating Disorders and Anxiety. I particularly liked the page entitled ‘Spotlight on: Talking about Mental Health’ where phrases to avoid are listed and in their place are the phrases to use. This page typifies how the author is trying to change conversations about mental health.
Islenia Mil’s illustrations add beauty to this gorgeous book; her portraits are colourful and original.
Information on treatments as well as useful weblinks are given at the back of the book. I would recommend young people reading this with an adult initially as it is full of new terms and can be quite intense. Another recommendation would be to dip into it rather than reading it all in one sitting. This volume is a great and sensitive addition to books around mental health disorders.