The Last Taboo
A Survival Guide to Mental Health Care in Canada
Publication Date: September 24, 2002
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At any given time, three million Canadians are living with some kind of mental illness. But despite its prevalence, the public and even some health practitioners are badly misinformed about its causes and treatment.
This book is an essential road map to hope and recovery. It tells the reader where to get help and what pitfalls to avoid. It defines the most common forms of mental illness, discusses the advantages and drawbacks of medication, and tackles the ultimate taboo of suicide. It offers coping strategies for consumers, family members, friends, and employers, and demonstrates how they can all contribute to the recovery of a person with a mental illness. Medication and psychotherapy only go so far – housing, meaningful activity, and friendships are as crucial to recovery as any drug.
In The Last Taboo, Scott Simmie recounts his own battle with a serious mental disorder, and his partner, Julia Nunes, provides a care-giver and supporter’s perspective on living with a mentally ill loved-one. Throughout they include the real stories of other Canadians, who give their own perspectives on the successes and failures of the health care system.
• In any given year, one in five Canadians will experience symptoms of mental disorder
• The Last Taboo provides sympathetic advice and practical information on: the causes of mental disorder/mood disorders, including depression and bipolar affective disorder / anxiety disorders / substance abuse / eating disorders / personality disorders / schizophrenia / where to go for help / giving help / medication / psychotherapy / alternative medicine / stigma / suicide
• Includes Appendix, Glossary, Useful Books, and Useful Websites
Julia Nunes has worked in journalism for 14 years, as an arts reporter for the Globe and Mail, a news reporter and writer/editor for CBC Television, and as a radio producer and reporter.
Scott Simmie is a feature writer for the Toronto Star with more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist in radio, print, and television. He co-authored the critically acclaimed book Tiananmen Square, and his research on mental health resulted in the award-winning Toronto Star series “Out of Mind” (October 1998).
“The Last Taboo is a ‘must read’ for anyone interested or involved in issues of mental illness and mental health.”
–Phil Upshall, Director, National Affairs, Mood Disorders Association of Canada
“The best and most practical book ever written about mental illness and mental health in Canada.…Will do more than any previous publication to break down the fear and stigma surrounding people with psychiatric disabilities.”
–Canadian Mental Health Association
“Honest and diligently researched … As The Last Taboo shows in some of its best passages, mentally ill human beings cannot be reduced to diagnostic categories.”
–Globe and Mail
“I know of only a few books that explain mental health and illness well to the general reader. The Last Taboo is now one of these books, and it gives a welcome Canadian perspective. … It is well-written and entertaining.”
“Clearly, this is an important book that deserves wide readership.”
“A grand, eloquent guide.”
“The authors demonstrate that behind the outward symptoms of disease resides a recognizable human soul.”
–Quill & Quire
“A most helpful tour of the mental health system thickets … a road map and travellers' tale all in one.”