Life and Learning in Harmony: A Tribute to Dr. K. V. Ramakoti
Once Upon a Lockdown, Before the End of the Public Health Emergency

Look Around, Look Within for Mental Health Awareness Month

Image credit: Chen

Vibe check. Or should we say mind check? Although May 11 was declared the end of the COVID-19 health emergency, we can’t move on like the pandemic didn’t happen. Lockdown overturned the societal rock to expose many issues, including mental health. And isolation wasn’t the only thing that went at the psyche nationwide. What happens in our surroundings—housing, neighborhoods and cities, the R word—is just as important to track as what goes on in the mind. Which is why we’re recommending this handful of titles from our catalog for Mental Health Awareness Month.  


The Art of Misdiagnosis

The Art of Misdiagnosis: Surviving My Mother’s Suicide

“After my mom hangs herself, I become Nancy Drew. I am looking for clues, for evidence. Answers. I put on a detective hat so I won’t have to wear my daughter hat, so I can bear combing through her house. I wrap my new baby to my chest with a bolt of green fabric—my baby born exactly one week before my mom’s death—and recommence the dig.”
—Gayle Brandeis 


A Court of Refuge

A Court of Refuge: Stories from the Bench of America’s First Mental Health Court

“In 1996 I was elected a judge of the county court of Broward County, Florida, the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, and my term formally began in January 1997 . . . This order recognized the essential need for a new system of justice to focus on individuals with mental health disabilities, arrested for misdemeanor offenses and the need for appropriate treatment in a therapeutic environment conducive to wellness (not punishment) as well as continuing to ensure the protection of the public. Further, to help defendants who desire such treatment, the order recognized the need for a judge with expertise in the field of mental health and therefore possessed the needed understanding and ability to expeditiously and efficiently move people from jail into community mental health care, without compromising the safety of the public.”
—Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren with Rebecca A. Eckland


Fighting for Recovery

Fighting for Recovery: An Activists’ History of Mental Health Reform

“A revolution still in the wings challenges us to act on behalf of the forty-three million citizens needing help for a mental health incident in any given year. It beckons to the nearly eight and a half million adults who care for someone with a mental illness, and to the seven and a half million people receiving government support in the public disability system. We hear the challenge for the more than three million adolescents with major depression, 60 percent of whom received no treatment in 2016. And we hear it for the two million people with mental illness languishing in prison.”
—Phyllis Vine 


How to Be a Muslim

How to Be a Muslim: An American Story

“‘You’re bipolar.’ Later amended to bipolar II. Like I got promoted. To tell another soul, beyond the privacy of doctor-patient confidentiality, would’ve meant admitting to an illness that was not just embarrassing to allegedly have, but that I did not or should not have believed in. I’m not entirely sure where I’d gotten this idea, except I felt very strongly that Muslims were not supposed to have these problems. If Muslims did, I’d inferred, it was because their belief in God wasn’t strong enough. Which was my own interpretation of her diagnosis. I hardly prayed, I wasn’t really religious otherwise, and even if the last few years God had gone easy on me, physiologically, I’d no reason to expect a permanent truce.”
—Haroon Moghul 


Living While Black pb

Living While Black: Using Joy, Beauty, and Connection to Heal Racial Trauma

“Practicing joy must be strategic, and it must be deliberate and like self-care more generally cannot be decontextualized. The ability to create and hold spaces for our joy as individuals and as a group of people is an ongoing struggle. But experiencing joy, even if moments of it, is revolutionary. Joy is a spiritual practice. It connects us to beauty, to wonder, to grace, to pleasure. It is thus an emotion that connects us to life, to the universe, and to ourselves and each other. Black joy disturbs whiteness because it is humanizing, and, because it is humanizing, it is transgressive.”
—Guilaine Kinouani 


Mind Over Monsters

Mind Over Monsters: Supporting Youth Mental Health with Compassionate Challenge

“In a stew of intense negative emotions, deprived of the revitalization of intense positive experiences, and now ushered into a new era where neither physical nor economic safety seems assured, young people face a mental health landscape that seems dire indeed. As a college professor who researches the psychology of emotion, a public intellectual who writes and speaks about higher education, and the mother of an adolescent, I am desperate to understand the challenges facing America’s youth and possible solutions to them.”
—Sarah Rose Cavanagh 


The Protest Psychosis

The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease

“In unintended and often invisible ways, psychiatric definitions of insanity continue to police racial hierarchies, tensions, and unspoken codes in addition to separating normal from abnormal behavior. Sometimes, the boundaries of sanity align closely with the perceived borders of the racial status quo. Mainstream culture then defines threats to this racial order as a form of madness that is, still, overwhelmingly located in the minds and bodies of black men.”
—Jonathan M. Metzl 


Saving Talk Therapy

Saving Talk Therapy: How Health Insurers, Big Pharma, and Slanted Science Are Ruining Good Mental Health Care

“Improved access to mental health care alone is insufficient. In the halls of government, academia, and medicine, debate on the quality of mental health services currently available nationwide needs to be ignited. In particular, we must address the erosion and necessary restoration of time-honored and scientifically backed, in-depth, humanistically oriented talk therapy.”
—Enrico Gnaulati 



Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won’t Save Black America

“We have a saying in our culture, ‘what goes on in this house, stays in this house.’ But whupping your child is not just an individual event that takes place between you and your child within the privacy of your home. Humiliating or inflicting pain onto your child’s body is a social experience that reinforces society’s oppressive power structures. Whupping our children encourages them to accept violence as normal and natural and to demand respect through violence. When black folks participate in this kind of ritualized violence under the guise of teaching, love, and protection we are colluding in the continued subordination of our race.”
—Stacey Patton 


Yes to Life

Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything

“We give life meaning not only through our actions but also through loving and, finally, through suffering. Because how human beings deal with the limitation of their possibilities regarding how it affects their actions and their ability to love, how they behave under these restrictions—the way in which they accept their suffering under such restrictions—in all of this they still remain capable of fulfilling human values.”
—Viktor E. Frankl