Your Brain Needs a Hug: Life, Love, Mental Health, and Sandwiches

Imprint. Aug. 2019. 288p. further reading. index. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781250307859.
Gr 9 Up–Written with acute humor that softens the subject matter, this guide and advice manual is written from the perspective of someone who has a mental illness. Anxiety, phobias, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, psychosis, self-harm, and depression are described mainly through Earl’s experiences, as are general mental health topics such as self-esteem and relationships. The author provides strategies that may resonate with readers, and there are brief passages penned by Dr. Radha, a GP and BBC Radio 1 presenter. Organizational issues abound—for example, information on suicide is categorized under self-harm, though it also applies to other disorders like depression and may be missed by those who pick and choose chapters. That said, the poignant argument against suicide is personal and compassionate. Other problems include a positive portrayal of mania when it is briefly discussed and being dismissive of using medication as a treatment, particularly with anxiety. Harrison’s often full-page illustrations fully capture snippets of the text, emphasizing just the right sentiments and adding a dimension of support.
VERDICT Despite its flaws, this may find readership with those who need a personal perspective and are ready and willing to laugh about the topic. An additional purchase

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