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You Are Not Alone: The NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Health

You Are Not Alone: The NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Health PDF

Author: Ken Duckworth MD

Publisher: Zando


Publish Date: September 20, 2022

ISBN-10: 1638930007

Pages: 432

File Type: EPub, PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

As the CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), I often describe our organization as “a community that cares.” Not only is this our motto, but it is also a goal we aspire to every day. At NAMI, we want to ensure we reach as many people as possible, using as many mediums as possible. With that in mind, we are publishing You Are Not Alone: The NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Health—our first-ever book—which will stand as a long-lasting, physical embodiment of our mission.

While this is a NAMI project, the content is not about our organization. The book offers advice on navigating a challenging and complicated mental health care system, as well as ways of finding a path to recovery, so that everyday people can live well with mental illness. The intention of this book is core to NAMI’s mission of building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness—and it is why all proceeds will go back to NAMI in order to support our work.

When Dr. Ken Duckworth came to me with the idea of writing a book that could help people on their road to recovery, I knew it was something we had to do. Those of us who have been impacted by mental illness know what it is like to seek guidance only to receive silence and shame in response. I believe that getting the support and guidance you need should be as easy as entering your local bookstore, asking, “What should I read if my kid is struggling with their mental health, and I don’t know where to start?” and being answered with, “This comprehensive guide called You Are Not Alone.

This book will help you gain perspective and advice from what we call “lived experience experts.” These are people using their real names, sharing their stories, and talking about what they’ve learned. This is how we break down social barriers—with real people being open and vulnerable. We are also pairing their knowledge with traditional research experts to give the reader the best of all these perspectives.

Our mission is well represented by the stories we share, which focuses on first-person experience from people with mental illness, as well as those of their family members and loved ones. As Dr. Duckworth writes, “At NAMI, family members and peers are joined in the same mission, but not with the same perspective.… The belief that listening to alternative viewpoints deepens understanding is at the core of why NAMI has chosen to be inclusive.”

Whether you are experiencing mental illness symptoms for the first time, are a caregiver of someone who is struggling, or just a concerned friend or family member, I hope that this resource will help you to determine next steps for yourself or your loved one. There is a whole community of people who care about what you’re going through—the NAMI family—and we are here to provide guidance, community, and support on your mental health journey. Indeed, you are not alone.



CEO, National Alliance on Mental Illness


  1. Foreword by Daniel H. Gillison Jr., CEO of NAMI
  2. Introduction
  3. Author’s Note
  4. PART I
  5. Mental Health and Mental Health Conditions
  6.   1.  Do I Need Help?
  7.   2.  The Paradox of Diagnosis
  8.   3.  How Do I Find Help? Minding the Many Gaps
  9.   4.  Pathways to Recovery: First Steps
  10.   5.  Added Complexity: Co-Occurring Substance Use Conditions
  11.   6.  The Impact of Trauma
  12.   7.  Helping Your Child, Teen, or Young Adult
  13. PART II
  14. The Recovery Journey: Evidence from Lived Experience
  15.   8.  Themes of Recovery: Lessons from First-Person Experience
  16.   9.  The Power of Peers and Community
  17. 10.  Culture and Identity: Barriers and Opportunities
  18. 11.  Becoming an Advocate
  19. PART III
  20. Family Matters
  21. 12.  Family Connection and Communication
  22. 13.  Navigating the Legal System
  23. 14.  The Hardest Family Questions
  24. 15.  Making Meaning of Loss by Suicide
  25. 16.  Family Advocacy
  26. PART IV
  27. Best Practices
  28. 17.  Experts Answer the Most Frequently Asked Questions
  29. 18.  State-of-the-Art Care and Research for Specific Conditions
  30. Acknowledgments
  31. Resources
  32. Index
  33. About the Author

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