by Tom Pyle
Defying Mental Illness: Finding Recovery with Community Resources and Family Support, by Paul Komarek and Andrea Schroer. Cincinnati, OH: Church Basement Press, 2011.
When individuals thrust into the maelstrom of mental illness, there can never be enough information. A short new book, Defying Mental Illness: Finding Recovery with Community Resources and Family Support by Paul Komarek and Andrea Schroer, is thus a welcome addition to the field of resources available for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. Based of their acquaintance of “many people who have made it through the struggle,” the authors wish to offer an introductory set of strength-based strategies to fight isolation, focus on recovery, and keep families together.
As the authors intend, Defying Mental Illness is an introduction to a family’s psychodyssey. It usefully covers the basic topics about types of mental illness and how treatment works. It also touches tactical subjects like finding treatment, paying for mental health care with Medicaid and Medicare, housing, and employment. For more experienced families in turbulent psychodyssies, the content may feel a little too introductory, more like a cruise brochure instead of a navigation manual. The section about Medicare and Medicaid, for instance, doesn’t get across the complexity and confusion that securing these important benefits often entails, and references to “SSI” without explanation of Supplemental Support Income might be confusing to the uninitiated.
But we mustn’t quibble. PsychOdyssey salutes Mr. Komarek and Ms. Schroer with thanks and kindred appreciation for their worthy contribution to helping loved one and their families to navigate their epic recovery journeys.