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Book review - Health & Living - If the walls could talk

Consultant psychiatrist Jim Lucey’s room at St Patrick’s University Hospital has a high ceiling, a wooden desk, a bookcase and several comfortable chairs. It does not have the iconic psychiatrist’s couch.

Prof Lucey believes as long as it is a space where people feel able to talk and feel that someone has listened and heard them, then it is a space of value. The people who come into his room all have heartfelt stories to tell and Prof Lucey hopes that sharing some of these stories will help to demystify the hidden zone that exists between psychiatrists and their patients.

In My Room contains 15 real stories that Prof Lucey has heard during his 25 years of working with patients with various mental illnesses towards recovery. It gives voice to mental health experiences in a way that everyone can identify with.

Prof Lucey has taken the bold step of telling these stories to the general public in order to break down barriers between patients with mental illness and healthcare professionals. While the patient stories are diverse, the common theme of recovery emerges from each one.

One in four people in Ireland is affected by a mental health problem, yet there is still a reluctance to talk about it. The author hopes his book will highlight the importance of finding time and space to discuss our feelings for anyone affected by mental illness.

Among those who readers will accompany on the road from distress to recovery in the book are:

  • L iam – “Sooner or later I will be found out and I just dread to think what is going to happen then”
  • A lyson – “People never trust you again if they find out that you have mental health problems. If I lose that trust I’ll never get it back. People will always look at me differently”.

Prof Lucey has chosen the method of clinical storytelling and the very personal and heartfelt stories are allowed to speak for themselves. Clinical notes explaining the disorders, syndromes or treatments mentioned in each person’s story can be found at the back of the book.

– Tara Horan

Book review - Health & Living - If the walls could talk
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