With friends and family suffering their own mental health problems, it feels absolutely right to be part of the Audible launch celebrations for the audio book Psycho-Logical by Dean Burnett on world Mental Health Day 2019. I’m delighted Dean is staying in with me today to tell me more about his work and would like to thank Anna Zanetti at Midas PR for inviting me to start off this blog tour.
Psycho-Logical is available for purchase here.
Countless charities and awareness campaigns work tirelessly to show people that mental health problems are common and serious issues. But when it comes to mental health matters, one question that’s rarely asked is…why?
Why are conditions like depression and anxiety so common?
Why is our mental health so vulnerable to the stresses and events of modern life?
Why do so many mental health problems have pronounced physical symptoms?
Why, if mental health problems are so commonplace, does anyone need to be made ‘aware’ of them in the first place?
And why is there still so much confusion and stigma about mental health matters?
Drawing from nearly 20 years working in the areas of neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry, international best-selling author Dr Dean Burnett (The Happy Brain, Why Your Parents Are Driving You Up the Wall and What To Do About It) hopes to answer these questions and more in his new audiobook Psycho-Logical (exclusive to Audible). Combining in-depth research with genuine testimonials from those who deal with their own issues on a daily basis, Psycho-Logical aims to uncover just what we think is going on with our brains when serious mental health problems occur, how and why the available therapies work (when they do), and just how flexible and uncertain much of the scientific understanding of mental health is.
Psycho-Logical combines in-depth research with genuine testimonials from those who deal with their own issues on a daily basis. Contributors are: comedians Bethany Black, Dan Mitchell and Guy Kelly; sex blogger Girl on the Net; writer and actor Amelia Stubberfield; journalist Rachel England; HR officer Lowri Williams; and social media manager Martha Mills. Each contributor has narrated their own section.
Expertly narrated by Matt Addis, and written in an engaging and straight-forward style, Psycho-Logical is must for anyone who’s ever dealt with mental health issues of their own, knows someone who has, or is interested in the ever-more-important subject matter of mental health, for whatever reason.
Staying in with Dean Burnett
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Dean. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. Although I have a pretty good idea, tell me, which of your books/audiobooks have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
Hi. I’ve brought along my new book Psycho-Logical, a dedicated audiobook currently exclusive to Audible. While I’ve covered the subject in various ways and from various angles in my previous books and articles, this is my first book entirely about mental health. I’ve chosen it as it’s being released today, October 10th, which is World Mental Health Day 2019, which is very appropriate. It’s all about the science of mental health, about why it goes wrong, why therapies work or not, what’s going on in the brain, and more.
It sounds utterly fascinating Dean. Tell me more about what we can expect from an evening in with Psycho-Logical.
An evening with Psycho-Logical may be not what you expect if you’ve read other books about mental health, as Psycho-Logical is a bit different to most mental health books currently on the market. Most of the others are written by, or from the point of view of, someone who deals or has dealt with their own mental health problems, the journey they went on, what they learned etc. I take a different approach, as I don’t have mental health problems of my own (so far), but I have spent nearly two decades in the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry, and mental health matters have played a big part in both my earlier and current life.
Therefore, this book is more objective, and instead of just making people ‘aware’ of mental health, I’ve tried to do what I can to show why mental health goes wrong so often, and how. It explores the current understanding of mental health from the clinical or psychiatric perspective, and why this always been changed and updated. It explores the mechanisms and benefits as well as the problems and issues with contemporary therapies, explaining why antidepressants or CBT work, or don’t. It looks at the underlying processes happening in the brain (as far as we know) that cause us to become depressed, or anxious, or addicted, and so on.
Overall, it’s a book about the hows and whys of mental health, how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go. It’s basically me trying to put mental health in more tangible, concrete terms, in order to enhance understanding, reduce uncertainty, and ideally remove some of the suspicion and stigma it still regularly attracts.
I can’t wait to listen to Pyscho-Logical as I have friends and family who struggle with their mental health and it would be perfect to be able to understand more.
What else have you brought along and why?
It may seem a weird choice, but I’ve brought along an old pint glass. It’s one of those old-school glass-tankards you used to get in the 80s, the squat ones with a handle, that are basically a big transparent mug. This is from the Royal Hotel, which is the pub I grew up in, back in the Garw Valley, South Wales. The pub is derelict now, which is sad, but when we moved out we kept some souvenirs, and over the intervening years I’ve ended up with some of the old glasses in storage in my garage. I have one or two I use as pen and pencil holders in my office, which is an odd but perhaps ironic fate for something intended to help people get drunk; to assist a neuroscientist writing about mental health matters.
It does seem a bit incongruous to me. Can you explain more?
I brought this because Psycho-Logical covers matters such as alcoholism and addiction. Statistics show that those with mental health problems are at a greatly increased risk of addiction or substance abuse, and while it’s tempting to attribute that to compromised logical thinking and restraint due to the mental health issue, it’s arguably a lot more to do with self-medicating, with people trying to achieve some respite from the constant negative effects of a disorder, when little or no official help or resources are available.
It must be devastating for those who cannot access appropriate help Dean.
But I also bring this glass as it signifies where my journey, my interest in mental health, and my life in general, really began. I grew up in a pub, in a remote, isolated, economically-depressed community (the coal mine the village was built around was shut down around the time of my birth). When you have a village full of burly no-nonsense working-class miners suddenly unemployed, this has consequences. I saw a lot of mental health problems, being a child in a pub in such a context. I saw a lot of tragedy. If I knew then what I know now (and was an adult they’d take seriously) maybe I could have done something. It’s what motivates me still.
And, I keep these pint glasses around to remind me of who I am, where I’m from. I was the first person in my immediate family to even do A-levels, let alone more. The fact that I’ve ended up where I am is ridiculous, in hindsight. And when so many other academics and writers are from more privileged, more entitled origins, I think it’s vital to be conscious of my own ore rough-and-ready roots.
Well said. And you have my complete respect. I think Psycho-Logical sounds fabulous and would like to thank you for staying in with me to tell me more about it.
About Dean Burnett
Dean Burnett is a working-class Welsh science writer.
Having grown up in a pub in the former mining village of Pontycmer, in the Garw Valley, South Wales, Dean is now a doctor of neuroscience, an honorary research associate at Cardiff University Psychology School, and a Visiting Fellow at Birmingham City University. He is the author of four books and counting, which have been translated into over 20 languages, as well as countless articles and blog posts across a wide range of media platforms, including the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, LA Times, New York Magazine, and more.
Dean is much in demand as a speaker, pundit, talking head and all-round contributor for TV and radio whenever a complex brain-related subject requires explaining in the mainstream.
Part of his outlook and relatable style comes from the fact that Dean has also spent close to two decades performing stand-up comedy, having performed on stages as large as the Hammersmith Apollo.
Dean currently lives in Cardiff with his wife and two children, and their cat Pickle who, even by cat standards, is something of a psychopath.