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Taking a Historical Look at Mental Health with Mindy McGinnis and A MADNESS SO DISCREET

 thingAlthough #MHYALit doesn’t officially kick off until January 2016, I recently read (and really loved) A MADNESS SO DISCREET by Mindy McGinnis which is a historical mystery/thriller that reminds us of how mental illness used to be viewed. It’s true, today there is still a lot of negative stereotypes and stigmas that are associated with mental health and mental illness. But it is also true that we have in many ways made tremendous progress in how we talk about mental health, how we treat many who struggle with mental health issues, and how much more readily those with mental health issues were abused. We still have a lot of progress to make, the stigma is real, the stereotypes are harmful, and abuse is still rampant. But one of the many things I valued in reading A MADNESS SO DISCREET was that glimpse into the history of mental health and mental health treatment. I have seen author Mindy McGinnis talk about this book, which was released recently, and know that she did some extensive research for this book. Today she is sharing a few words with us about mental health and her book, A MADNESS SO DISCREET.


Mindy’s Thoughts:


Mental illness used to be something to be spoken of in hushed tones, or not at all. While we are edging away from that, I sometimes see that movement being done in leaps and bounds, where everyone is an armchair psychiatrist who reels off a DSM diagnosis simply because they have the vocabulary.


Bi-polar and OCD are the obvious go-to’s, with people characterizing simple mood changes and a penchant for cleanliness as an opportunity to trot out their ten-cent words, not realizing the damage done by flippant assignment of truly horrifying illnesses.


Knowing the terminology does not signify knowledge any more than being able to identify an ocean on the globe makes someone a deep-sea diver. Mental illnesses are vast, varied and complicated. A supposed familiarity with such a large topic can do real harm, leading to self-diagnosis, self-medication, or just plain old bad advice.


If you suffer from a mental illness, seek help from a professional. If you know someone who suffers, encourage them to do the same. Much like the diagnosis, the treatments for mental illnesses are legion, and different approaches will work better for different people.


Let a professional decide what’s best – not your friend who watched every episode of HOUSE.

About A MADNESS SO DISCREET – Publisher’s Description:

Grace Mae knows madness.She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

Published October 6, 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books. ISBN: 9780062320865

Karen’s Thoughts:

I highly recommend A MADNESS SO DISCREET and describe it as a Feminist Sherlock Holmes.

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