Saturday, 6 September 2014

THRIVE|| Richard Layard & David M. Clark

As many of you who have followed my blog  for a while know, I blog a lot about Mental Health, and being a teenager living and coping with Clinical Depression and Anxiety. Recently I went to the Library in the search of Medieval History books (yes I am the nerd who revises for University before its even started) and in the 'New In' section I came across this book, Thrive.

Written by David M. Clark, a Professor of Pschology at Oxford, and Richard Layard, the world's leading labour economist and member of the House of Lords, Thrive argues and provides the much needed evidence for the need of better treatment for Mental Health sufferers.

As soon as I opened this book, I was hooked. Each chapter starts with a quote, either from an author, sufferer or person of notoriety, and the first quote of the first chapter struck a chord with me: 

‘I was much too far out all my life. And not waving but drowning.’- Steve Smith ‘Not waving but Drowning’ (Pg 3). This quote brought me right back to my darkest days, to the days when I would cry that I was falling, drowning and nobody was saving me, not even myself. Back to the days where I would hide in the school toilets, sitting on the floor, crying, or vicariously cross the road not caring if a car hit me. Then the figures hit me, 'In rich countries Mental Illness accounts for nearly 40% of all illnesses. By contrast stroke, cancer, heart disease, lung disease and diabetes account for under 20%' and 'Roughly a 1/3 of families currently include someone who is mentally ill' (Pg 5). All these figures seemed to indicate that Mental Health should have an abundance of hospitals, treatments and funding, and yet when I had first got sick, the waiting list for a child psychiatrist was over 6 months, and as the book goes on to state, a lot of people do not get treated for over two years. 

As you progress through the chapters, Layard and Clark begin to build up their arguement. Illnesses such as depression are felt in the same areas of the brain as pain, and if you had broken your leg, you would get seen within a few hours. In terms of funding, the cost of expanding treatments and providing enough Doctors would cost less then was already costing the government in benefits, lost days off work and crimes (all of which have heavy numbers of mentally ill people). And pumping out more medication is not the answer, well reasearched, effective thearapies, such as CBT which has over a 50% recovery rate are the way forward. I myself have received CBT, and the therapy provided me with life altering improvements. 

Further more, we, as individuals and supporting family members need to break the stigma around mental health, help people to learn that its not their fault, and it is ok to have a mental health problem, be it depression, anxiety, post-traumatic-stress syndrome, ADHD, bipolar or schizophrenia. The book also states how we all need to step up and raise awareness, start fund raising and campaigns, as is seen with Cancer, Heart and Motor Neuron Disease. Together, we can truely make a difference to the millions who are suffering. With tragic recent deaths, such as that of Robin Williams bringing to the fore front Mental Health problems, the time has never been better to act. 
I could not recommend this book enough, for a truely fascinating and factual read. And I thought to finish this post I would leave you with two quotes from the book, one from J.K Rowling (who has never hidden the fact she suffered from depression) and an 8 year old girl suffering from mental illness:

‘Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced…It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope’ JK Rowling (Pg 17).                        

'Make me have a Mum and a Dad that love me and to start my horrid life AGAIN and not have so much sadness in my life’ Eight-year-old girl'. (Pg 213)


  1. Great facts, a lot of things I didn't know about. Lots of people suffer from depression, even if it is only a mild form. I've also gone through a few not so happy periods, but in the end you will always come out stronger. Getting help is something that really worked for me, putting things into perspective again :)

    Saska || Work that Health

    1. Yes, when things are put back into perspective for us it really makes a difference! H xx

  2. This sounds like a great read! As someone who has struggled from mental illness in the past, and now a third year psychology student, I love reading about different ideas and opinions on mental health. I also really like your blog - you may have depression and anxiety but your blog is about YOU too - a lovely girl with a life outside of her illness. Shows people how 'normal' people can suffer and how you can't see it. Hopefully it will inspire people to become less ignorant

    Sam xx

    1. Thank you lovely, your comments mean so much. And I find psychology so fascinating, wish I was doing it at Uni! H xx


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