A MIND LIKE MINE takes a look at twenty one famous people, past and present, who have lived with or are living with various mental health conditions. They come from a range of diverse backgrounds and have achieved success in sport, science, politics and the arts.
Historical characters include Alfred Nobel, Michelangelo, Hans Christian Andersen and Sir Isaac Newton who experienced bouts of depression. Also Ada Lovelace, Florence Nightingale and Vincent Van Gogh who may have lived with bipolar disorder. More recently Serena Williams has talked about how her mental health was impacted by the pressure of playing professional tennis, cricketer Andrew Flintoff is using his experience with bulimia to highlight the fact that men also live with eating disorders and former first lady, Michelle Obama, has taken steps to find self care tools to safeguard her mental health.
Through sensitively written mini biographies, A Mind Like Mine introduces each person’s mental health condition in an easy to understand way. It discusses symptoms and treatments and shows that mental health disorders don’t have to stop us from achieving our dreams. The biographies are backed up with descriptions about mental health disorders including obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder and eating disorders.
Author Rachael Davis has written a letter at the beginning of the book in which she explains how her own mental health history inspired her to write it. She was surprised to discover that many historical figures had lived with mental health disorders and her hope is that the book will educate people about mental health as well as promote empathy. Randi Silverman, Founder of the Youth Mental Health Project, has also written a heartfelt foreword. After her family tried to cope with her son’s bipolar diagnosis there was a distinct lack of family support which led to the foundation of the project in the US.
Islenia Mil’s colourful and eye-catching illustrations cover the full double spreads which tell us each character’s story, many of them include direct quotes which give us an insight into emotions experienced in connection with mental health conditions.
At the back of the book there is a glossary explaining words that are used in the text. There is also information about treatments as well as useful web links. ‘Spotlight on: Talking about Mental Health’ is particularly helpful in highlighting phrases to avoid and phrases to use when discussing a person’s mental health condition.
A Mind Like Mine is a fascinating read, both in terms of learning about famous figures and the mental health conditions that have impacted their lives and careers. It’s a great resource to generate discussion and to help remove the stigma surrounding mental health whilst highlighting that we all need to take care of our own mental health, no matter who we are and what we do.
Age Range: 7+