Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic Stories About Mental Illness

Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic Stories About Mental Illness

Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic Stories About Mental Illness

Psychiatric Tales draws on Darryl Cunningham’s time working in a psychiatric ward to give a reasoned and sympathetic look into the world of mental illness. In each chapter, Cunningham explores a different mental health problem, using evocative imagery to describe the experience of mental illness, both from the point of view of those beset by illness and their friends and relatives. As Cunningham reveals this human experience, he also shows how society’s perceptions of and reactions to mental illness perpetuate needless stigma, for example, the myth that schizophrenic people are more likely to commit crimes than non-schizophrenic people. Psychiatric Tales is a groundbreaking graphic work; it deftly demythologizes and destigmatizes the disorders that 26.2 percent of American adults live with every day.

Concluding with a reflection on how mental illness has affected his own life, Darryl Cunningham’s Psychiatric Tales is a moving, engaging examination of what is, at its root, the human condition.


Darryl Cunningham is the creator of the Web comics Super-Sam and John-of-the-Night and The Streets of San Diablo. He is a prolific cartoonist, sculptor, and photographer, and lives in Leeds, England. This is his first book.

List Price: $ 15.00

Price: $ 3.21


3 Comments so far »

  1. GraphicNovelReporter.com said,

    Wrote on April 23, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A solid effort that aims to heighen awareness of mental illness, February 9, 2011
    By 
    GraphicNovelReporter.com (New York, NY) –
    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)
      

    This review is from: Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic Stories About Mental Illness (Hardcover)

    When it comes to understanding mental illness, most people fall into the category of “curious voyeur.” It’s undeniably interesting to watch the erratic and unusual behavior of the mentally ill from a distance, which is why we have shows like Hoarders and Intervention. So, while one’s own voyeuristic inclinations might compel you to pick up this graphic novella, there’s far more value to be found inside, even if some of it might be unintentional.

    Darryl Cunningham, the author and illustrator, spent a number of years working toward becoming a certified psychiatric nurse before quitting the program due to the emotional toll it took on him, and some of these stories from this time are recounted here. Using a cubist, art brut style, he begins by describing a few cases in which he was involved, and all of them are genuinely interesting, if extremely minimalist. Not a lot of verbal details are given, just a barest summary of notable points, paired with a few chunky, black-and-white pictures. Each of these stories is interrupted with a semi-clinical explanation of why each patient behaves the way he or she does, which is valuable information. It works to explain the fact that mental illness is genuinely a biological problem, and not as it is commonly perceived. The subjects are not lazy or stupid and do not have anything that can be self-medicated–these are biological issues that cannot be solved by simply forcing the patient to think differently. Psychiatric Tales does a great job explaining this, and it would likely serve as an excellent tool for anyone who is coping with mental illness in their own family.

    The chapters that only describe a mental illness, without tying it to an actual, concrete subject or experience, are slightly less effective. They become extended infographics, which have their place, but perhaps not in a book labeled Tales. One of the most effective points in the collection is a discussion of the idea that many clinically sociopathic traits are prized in today’s business world, and just how unhealthy this psychological climate is for the human spirit.

    The book reaches a crescendo in the final chapter, in which the author describes his own fight against mental illness and how following his passion ultimately led to a happier life. Even though years of nursing school were ostensibly “wasted” by the author, this book is about making something from the wreckage of your original goals. It’s a reflection on the idea that no time is truly wasted if you grow from it, which is a good concept to always keep on hand, no matter what your situation is.

    Aside from a few necessary violent and scatological stories (which are only pictured ambiguously anyway), Psychiatric Tales is a solid collection that dedicates itself to mental-illness awareness in a very effective manner. While it might be more practical than it is entertaining, this does not diminish its value in a collection.

    — Collin David

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

  2. nutmeg said,

    Wrote on April 23, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    educational, April 7, 2011
    By 
    nutmeg

    This review is from: Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic Stories About Mental Illness (Hardcover)

    As a mental health professional myself, I found the book to be a very helpful educational tool. It was clear, expressed with empathy for sufferers, and was artistically presented. I was somewhat troubled that no mention was made of therapy as an important intervention, but I do recognize that medications are touted as central to recovery these days. In the case of personality disorders, such as the antisocial man, they are of limited effectiveness, as is therapy itself. Thank you for an informative book.

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

  3. Regina Rodriguez-Martin "reginamrm" said,

    Wrote on April 23, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Fascinating and well worth it, February 19, 2011
    By 
    Regina Rodriguez-Martin “reginamrm” (Chicago, IL USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic Stories About Mental Illness (Hardcover)

    I read this book in one sitting. Having been diagnosed with clinical depression, I loved the double-mission of giving the truth about mental illness and supporting those of us who live with it. It works to lift the stigma of it, in an entertaining and gripping way. The illustrations are effective and poignant, the stories are interesting even to those of us who think we know a bit about mental illness. I’d especially recommend it for people who don’t know anything about mental illness, but want clear, easy-to-understand basic information about it. Thank you, Daryl Cunningham, for producing such an important piece of work.

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.



DermStore Free Samples