*Ad – I was gifted a copy of Growing Pains by Dr Mark Shooter in exchange for this post, all opinions are my own.
This is a different book to my normal read. But after reading the blurb, I was intrigued. It’s National Mental Health Awareness Week and I thought it would be apt to share my review of Growing Pains by Dr Shooter. I’m not overly good at sharing personal family matters, but this past month I’ve seen my younger brother have a mental breakdown, and be admitted to hospital. After speaking with his consultant I now realise he has been unwell for many years. His trigger to what happened was exactly a year after we lost our dad.
I’ve never really understood mental illnesses, I’ve always thought of myself as strong minded, which is why I’ve been oblivious to my little brother’s issues. I keep thinking now, I should have realised he wasn’t well. But I’m so busy with work, the girls and home life he slipped under my radar.
I’ve been reading up on mental illness and want to be there for him. Be his rock and to help him the best I can.
Growing Pains by Dr Shooter
Child psychiatrist Dr Mike Shooter sheds light on the painful issues and universal experience of growing up, through the stories of his patients and their families.
This is a book of stories. The stories that children, young people and their carers have brought to Mike Shooter in his role as a consultant psychiatrist over a career spanning nearly forty years. Each chapter is grouped around particular problems and the devastation they have caused in their lives. Mike recounts his unique approach to therapy; of giving patients time and space to explore their problems, avoiding quick diagnoses, working in communities rather than just behind a clinic desk and within a multidisciplinary team to benefit from multiple perspectives. Not all the stories have a happy ending – no one can be promised a world cured of problems. But everyone can be helped to face those problems with greater strength.
This is also Mike’s own story. He recounts his battle with depression, which runs like a thread throughout the book, shaping his attempts to help those in his care. Mike’s personal experiences have prompted him to question received wisdom, shed new light on time-worn problems and re-imagine the way that the health system cares for children and young people in distress.
We live in a world where children and young people are sitting on ever-lengthening waiting lists or being dismissed as social problems for which the service has no treatment. At a time when more and more children are self-harming in their despair, Growing Pains is a crucial insight into those struggles, and a rallying cry to reform the mental health care system to truly bring lasting change to those in need.
What I thought
Growing up is tough. As a kid, my red hair made me different and a target for name calling. Two girls in particular were the worst culprits. I used to upset my mum by wanting to dye my hair. She always tells me it’s unusual and it’s good be be different. Even now she tells me that.
Reading these stories in Growing Pains of children suffering in different areas of mental health is heartbreaking. Since becoming a mum I’m a real softie when it comes to kids. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s like I did is much more different than today. We didn’t have the pressures of social media. But then mental health wasn’t so openly discussed like it is today, people were just left to it or labelled as crazy.
Today’s children are labelled as disruptive or suffering from ADHD at the drop of a hat. It is likely that some have ADHD but it could also be that the child has issues at home with family, or bereavement has happened. Chatting to these children in a therapy session would help in this instance. Which is what Dr Shooter does.
His methods of getting his patients to open up are fantastic, I believe it’s helped by his own issues. He listens and finds out the patients story,
what’s happened to lead up to this and then seeks to understand the impact. Before deciding on treatment, which is not necessarily drugs.
Growing Pains is a fantastic book, for parent’s caregiver’s or people working with children. It’s a book of knowledge that is truly invaluable to understanding children with mental health issues.
It’s funny that this book – Growing Pains by Dr Mark Shooter landed in my hands around the same time my brother was having troubles.
Thanks for stopping by today and reading my review.
You can find my other book reviews here.