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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 380-381

Mental illness and caregiving – Challenges, concerns, and complications

The Association for the Mentally Challenged, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission09-Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance10-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication25-Nov-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. R Srinivasa Murthy
Project ENRICH, Mental Health Advisor, The Association for the Mentally Challenged, Bangalore - 560 078, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_321_21

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How to cite this article:
Nischitha S, Murthy R S. Mental illness and caregiving – Challenges, concerns, and complications. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2021;37:380-1

How to cite this URL:
Nischitha S, Murthy R S. Mental illness and caregiving – Challenges, concerns, and complications. Indian J Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Oct 6];37:380-1. Available from: https://www.indjsp.org/text.asp?2021/37/4/380/331131

Author : Amrit Bakhshy

Edition : 2nd Edition

Publisher : White Falcon, Chandigarh

Year of Publication : 2021

Price : Rs. 380

ISBN : 978-1-63640-215-4

In mental health care in India, caregivers play a vital role and are the backbone of services. Throughout history, as in India, institutional care has always been limited. Caregivers need to be appreciated and supported with the right kind of information, empowered, handholding at times, and encouraged in their caregiving roles. Caregivers need to have full information and available resources to empower them in their role. It is significant to note that, in India, most families accept this role as their choice.

For the caregivers of persons with mental disorders, the book “Mental Illness and Caregiving – Challenges, Concerns, Complications” is of great value.

The author describes the difficulties that he went through as a father and caregiver of his daughter Richa who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. His journey took him to faith healers, different psychiatrists, multiple trials of medications, ECT: The hard and the tireless navigation toward the path of recovery. He frankly shares his lived experiences, and the wisdom and years of knowledge gained through activism. The aim of the book is to help the caregiver understand their role, find solutions to challenges by providing a rich resource on how to be a better caregiver.

The central theme is to recognize that “Family caregivers are neither super heroes nor robots. They get tired, they have emotions, likes and dislikes, don't expect them to be like saints.”

The book is divided into four parts: basics of mental illness and caregiving; traumas, treatment and therapies; queries, misgivings, anxieties and worries; and stakeholders, institutions, books, acronyms, terms, definition, etc., There is an in-depth appendix.

Part 1 covers the basics of mental illness and caregiving – which include causes, prevention, and classification of common and severe mental disorders which will be easily understood for caregivers. A useful section is the family reactions: Is it really true? This can't be happening in our family? Where did we go wrong? Wish we were more alert in noticing the symptoms and had sought professional help promptly.

The book addresses the challenges of caregiving and how to overcome them. As a caregiver one has to prepare for all the adjustments with their life's stresses and strains that they have to go through. A feeling of helplessness, burnout and how emotionally draining can caregiving be, is when there is an individual with mental illness in their family. Sometimes taking care of someone can be exhausting and stressful and there are ways to overcome that by going for regular walks, sleeping adequately, taking brief breaks, substituting caregivers for a few days, stop self-blaming, doing relaxation, pursuing new hobbies such as gardening, painting, and singing sharing with someone and praying itself gives solace. It is essential for caregivers to take care of themselves while taking care of another. Caregivers think this is their one and only job, i.e., to take care of person with illness and ignore their health.(“All caregivers should remember that they are not angels, there is no such thing as a perfect caregiver. One should do what is humanly possible“.)

Part 2 is divided into three parts, namely traumas, treatments, and therapies. The first part gives us brief discussion of common mental disorders. The second part focuses on different types of treatments. An important aspect in this section is the rich recourses on various acts, legal laws, policies, and surveys done by government for the care and welfare of individual with mental illness like The Mental Health Care Act, 2017, Right of Person with Disabilities Act, 2016, The National Trust for Welfare of Person with Autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities Act, 1999, Legal Authorities Act, 1987 and the National Mental Health Policy 2014.

Part 3 covers all the doubts, misgivings, anxieties, and worries of caregivers. Common practical issues such as about marriage, opening a back account, how to make a will for the child, family pension, and benefits they get, and finally helping a caregiver are discussed in this section.

Part 4 covers all the other information needed by caregivers.

This book is a vital resource for caregivers, as it presents in one place all the possible information compiled and put it in one place for a caregiver. The simple and easy to read book makes it of great value. This book is also useful for mental health professionals, students of psychiatry and psychology, and others such as policy makers, people from the press, and those with an interest in mental health.

Additional topics such as caregiver self-care for emotional health, spirituality as tool for coping need to be added in the next edition. Translation and publication in all Indian languages will help it to reach all the caregivers.

We strongly recommend this book and thank Mr. Amrit Bakhshy for this important contribution.


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