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The Price of Silence: A Mom's…

The Price of Silence: A Mom's Perspective on Mental Illness

by Liza Long

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    January first : a child's descent into madness and her father's struggle to save her by Michael Schofield (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both books are about severe childhood mental illness and its effect on families.

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It took me six months to read this book. Not because it was poorly written or difficult to understand, but because it was painful. My son is physically disabled, so I'm well-aware of the difficultly of working with the system and have seen many of the failures first-hand. This is a good read for anything who wants to understand what it is like to navigate day-to-day with a mental illness. While I don't agree with everything Long has to say, she is speaking about her son's personal situation and treatment that varies widely from person to person. If you can understand that, you can take something away from The Price of Silence. ( )
  stephivist | Aug 4, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I completely understand Liza Long's situation in a way few others can: I have two children of my own who are severely mentally ill (one experienced a first manic state at age 3; another was hospitalized for more than 7 of the past 9 months); and a third child who is developmentally disabled with severe behavioral challenges who exhausts and overwhelms us on a daily basis; none have received any real public support and we are in a lawsuit at the federal court level at this point over preliminary aspects of the inadequacy of our state to provide FAPE for our third child.

That said, Ms. Long's books is so very specific to her own situation and experience, her unusual religious background compared to the majority of Americans (Mormons living in large Mormon communities simply aren't the majority American experience), that it is hard to get close to. It just doesn't lend itself to generalization, bigger thinking, recommendations, or policy ideas.

What it does do is record yet another family devastated by national policy in the US of decentralizing service coordination and the very existence of services themselves, while policy makers claim they are providing those services "in the community." None of those community services ever come to exist other than on paper, and family after family is destroyed while their loved ones are discarded by society. ( )
  LeesyLou | Sep 29, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Price of Silence is such a worthwhile read. Liza Long provides an excellent overview of the current state of youth mental health services (or, in many cases, the lack thereof) while sharing her own experiences as the mother of a bipolar son. Long's complete avoidance of self-pity in regards to the latter is really impressive. As is her intelligence, bravery, and her love for her child. Long's message: cast off the stigma of mental illness, get those with mental illness medical treatment on par with that provided for other health conditions, and look at the person, not just the illness. This is a moving and inspiring book. ( )
  elzbthp | Sep 26, 2014 |
Liza Long's teenage son, "Michael" (not his real name) has a dual diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) and juvenile-onset bipolar disorder. These conditions manifest themselves in explosive rages, and Michael has been both hospitalized and jailed as the result. Ms. Long gathers her reflections on raising a son with severe, chronic mental illness in The Price of Silence.

The book is mostly an advocacy piece, with a bit of memoir thrown in. In the second chapter, Ms. Long writes movingly of her desire to see the stigma associated with mental illness reduced, which is a worthy goal by any measure.

However, as the book progresses, its message becomes confusing. On page 58 she writes that "there are effective interventions and treatments," for mental illness; it is just stigma that stands in the way of parents getting help for their troubled children, But then on pages 81-86 she lists the various medications her son has taken under the heading "Psychotropic Medications: A Cure Worse than The Disease?", with the implied answer, based on her descriptions of the drugs, that yes, the "cure" is truly worse than the disease. Educational programs, residential settings, and wilderness survival camps, don't, in Ms. Long's estimation, provide adequate treatment either, and neither (it goes without saying) does jail. Her son has been helped by lithium and occupational therapy, but these don't seem like a universal cure. So....what are these "effective interventions and treatments"?

Nonetheless, Ms. Long's perspective is interesting, even if it raises more questions than it answers. ( )
  akblanchard | Sep 25, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If you don't know what it's like to have a mentally ill child, Long will tell you. It's a world in which while you love your child you deal with fear, with danger, where you fight to get your child treatment and fight desperately to keep him or her out of prison, though that's the place they're most likely to get treatment. It's impossible to read this book and not feel for mothers like Long. The mental health system needs investment, it needs an overhaul. The problems are complex. Poverty and lack of access to health care lie at the heart of the issues. It seems unlikely that we can solve the mental health crisis without addressing these issues. The issues are also tied to America's love of prisons. The vast majority of prisoners in the United States are mentally ill. The only way many children can get mental health services is through the juvenile justice system. There is something fundamentally wrong here.

This is by all accounts a thoughtful and well-researched book. That said, it's also pretty depressing. I don't have much faith that things are going to change. Mental health is tied up in so many political issues. I can't help but think that real change is going to be stymied by politics. I hope I am wrong. ( )
  lahochstetler | Sep 24, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159463257X, Hardcover)

Liza Long is the single mother of a child with an undiagnosed mental disorder. When she heard about the Newtown shooting her first thought was, “What if my son does that someday?” She wrote an emotional response to the tragedy, which the Boise State University online journal posted as “I Am Adam Lanza's Mother.” The post went viral, receiving 1.2 million Facebook likes, nearly 17,000 tweets, and 30,000 emails.
Now, in The Price of Silence she takes a devastating look at how we address mental illness, especially in children, who are funneled through a system of education, mental healthcare, and juvenile detention that leads far too often to prison. In the end she asks one central question: If there's a poster child for cancer why can’t there be one for mental illness? The answer: the stigma. She is speaking in a way that we cannot help but hear and she won't stop until something changes.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:16 -0400)

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