Mending the Mind

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781474610827

Price: £16.99

ON SALE: 7th January 2021

Genre: Mathematics & Science

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‘A tour de force . . . an important, affecting and effective book’ ALASTAIR CAMPBELL

‘[A] gorgeous and urgent book’ STEVEN PINKER

‘MENDING THE MIND reminds us that, despite our hazy understanding of depression, and despite the true horror of the illness, some hope for recovery remains’ THE TIMES

Sadness is an inevitable part of life, but for most people it will usually alternate or coexist with happy times. Clinical depression, on the other hand, is a mental disorder that causes torment and anguish. It has no moments of relief. It unhinges us from everything we thought we knew about the world and makes us strangers to those we love. It is the predominant mental-health problem worldwide, affecting more than 250 million people. More than a fifth of the population of the UK report symptoms of depression or anxiety. Yet how much do we really know of the condition and of ways to treat it?

In MENDING THE MIND, Oliver Kamm recounts what it’s like to be mentally ill with severe depression, and he details the route by which, with professional help, he was able to make a full recovery. His experience prompted him to find out all he could about a condition that has afflicted humanity throughout recorded history. He explains the progress of science in understanding depression, and the insights into the condition that have been provided by writers and artists through the ages. His message is hopeful: though depression is a real and devastating illness, the mind and its disorders are yielding to scientific inquiry, and effective psychological, psychiatric and pharmacological treatments are already available. Candid, revelatory and deeply versed in current scientific research, MENDING THE MIND sets out in plain language how the scourge of clinical depression can be countered and may eventually be overcome.


Oliver Kamm's urbanity, erudition and compassion are raised to the power of two in Mending the Mind. He put them to work in crafting this gorgeous and urgent book, and on every page they remind us of his moral that enviable gifts are no protection against the affliction of depression
STEVEN PINKER, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of HOW THE MIND WORKS
There are lots of books on depression, but not many combine both an authentic and moving personal story with rigorous research and analysis. Kamm tackles the big questions on depression, and his answers are clear, unsentimental and compelling
PROFESSOR SIR SIMON WESSELY, Regius Chair of Psychiatry, King's College London and Past President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal Society of Medicine
This is a deeply personal and important book. It is painful but ultimately exhilarating to read. As Oliver Kamm notes, depression may be common but it is still not widely understood. At a time when isolation risks a heavy psychological toll, it deserves to be read more than ever
ANDREW BAILEY, Governor of the Bank of England
Mending the Mind elegantly combines a powerful personal story of experiencing and recovering from severe depressive illness with a wide-ranging overview of what depression means to artists and scientists, poets and practitioners. Oliver Kamm has succeeded in putting his lived experience here and now at the heart of an inclusive, broad-minded account of how depression has been understood and misunderstood, diagnosed and treated, over hundreds of years
Oliver Kamm has the rare ability to combine emotional honesty with intellectual rigour. The result is a book that simultaneously breaks your heart and educates you as it brings light to one of the darkest corners of the human condition
NICK COHEN, columnist for the Observer
Mending the Mind is a brave and searingly honest personal account of depression that offers comfort and hope to those who have been afflicted by mental illness and valuable insight to those who have not. Kamm's book is all the more vital because of the public health crisis we find ourselves in, and the toll it may take on our nation's mental health
BETH RIGBY, Political Editor, Sky News
A tour de force that is not just personal, but looks at depression through science, art, literature and history. The combination makes it an important, affecting and effective book
With startling openness and honesty, but without angling for sympathy, Kamm describes his symptoms . . . Kamm's overall message is that despite the utter grimness of those symptoms, sufferers should remain optimistic . . . Mending the Mind reminds us that, despite our hazy understanding of depression, and despite the true horror of the illness, some hope for recovery remains
Stuart Ritchie, THE TIMES
The combination of Kamm's up close and personal and investigative approaches together make this both useful and insightful. It's also extremely intelligent, compassionate and well-written
Uplifting . . . easy-to-read. The book covers all aspects of the illness, such as what causes it, medical treatment, psychological treatment, living with it and, finally, the end of it