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Piddlehinton professor helps to produce mental health book
A PROFESSOR from Piddlehinton has helped to produce a book aiming to banish misconceptions about mental health.
Dr Francis C. Biley, an associate professor at Bournemouth University, is one of the co-editors of ‘Our Encounters with Madness’ – a collections of true stories from mental health service users, carers and survivors.
Among the contributors to the book is internationally renowned author Terry Pratchett, who describes his personal battle with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
The aim of the book is to use personal experiences to create a greater understanding about mental health conditions.
It will also raise funds for a good cause, with all profits from Our Encounters with Madness going to the Hub centre for the homeless in Dorchester.
Dr Biley, who is member of the Centre for Qualitative Research in the School of Health and Social Care at Bournemouth University, said: “This book is all about society’s experience of ‘madness’.
“That word has been used for over 150 years to describe mental illness.
“In a professional and a lay sense, it has come to be labelled as a derogatory term but sufferers and service-users more recently use the word as a way of taking control and emancipating themselves from their own condition.
“Mental health problems are also labelled as ‘diseases’ without any real evidence to support that they are.”
Dr Biley has edited the book alongside Dr Alec Grant from the University of Brighton and Hannah Walker, chair of the Dorset Mental Health Forum.
The stories in the book are collected under five themes – diagnosis, stories of experience, experiencing the mental health system, being a carer, abuse and survival.
Dr Biley, who is also a patient governor at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester, said: “We’ve asked those who have experienced mental health challenges to write about the real world of mental health care.
“Every story is different and what we’ve put together is a snapshot of the kinds of problems that exist with a message that it is possible to recover.
“We hope that the work will be of great benefit to a wide range of people - from student mental health care professionals and those who work in the profession to service users, carers and academics interested in narrative enquiry.”
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