Narrated by Matt Addis; with contributors: Bethany Black, Dan Mitchell, Guy Kelly, Girl on the Net, Amelia Stubberfield, Rachel England, Lowri Williams & Martha Mills
Listening Length: 10 hours and 15 minutes
Audible.co.uk Release Date: 10 October 2019
My thanks to Anna Zanetti of Midas PR for the invitation to take part in the blog tour for Psycho-Logical, a new exploration of mental health by Dr Dean Burnett, released yesterday by Audible, on World Mental Health Day. I’m delighted to welcome Dean to the blog with a guest post about the advantages of audiobooks.
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 Idiot Brain, The Happy Brain) 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.
Expertly narrated and written in an engaging and straightforward 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.
Audiobooks – A better format for mental health?
by Dean Burnett
I never expected to be a writer. I did toy with the idea when I was about 13, when my dad asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up.
“Not sure. Maybe be a writer?” I said. To his credit, despite being a rugby-playing alpha-male pub landlord, he didn’t scoff or dismiss the notion. But he did advise caution.
“Difficult job to get into, that. You should consider something a bit more reliable”. I wasn’t exactly passionate about being a writer anyway, so I ended up pursuing my other main interest, which was science. 24 years and various ridiculous life events later, now I’m a science writer. I guess we were both right?
But I do like being a writer, especially now that I write books. Spending months, even years, on something with a wordcount in the tens of thousands, and seeing it in physical form, printed and bound with a cover that talented creative types have worked on, that’s still a giddy thrill to me. And seeing them lined up on my bookcases, or displayed in shops for anyone to purchase, that’s always a satisfying experience.
However, the modern world offers us many different versions of books, beyond the printed block of text we all know and love. Many people scorn eBooks, but my wife, a hospital optometrist, informs me that they’ve been a godsend for the visually impaired community. A book where you can make the text bigger according to the limitations of your sight? Invaluable, if you love reading but your eyes are declining.
Another book format that’s proven a boon for the visually impaired is the audiobook, for obvious reasons. But in the writing of my latest book, Psycho-Logical, it became clear that there’s another readership that may get more out of audiobooks; those who are dealing with mental health problems.
My book Psycho-Logical is written to try and explain the mechanisms and principles of mental health issues, such as how diagnosis and interventions work (and why they sometimes don’t), the scientific principles our understanding is based on, what exactly is going on in the brain (we think) when mental health goes awry. But another thing I cover is the cause, and consequences, of persistent mental health stigma.
Unfortunately, this very stigma could work against my efforts. I want people to read my book to help get to grips with their own issues, but in the modern world a lot of people read in public, be it on coffee shops, on public transport, on planes, by pools, and so on. Publicly reading a book which boldly states on the cover that it’s all about mental health problems? That, for many, is an invitation to judgement and scorn.
But if nobody else can see the book? If it’s being played via your headphones, audible only to you? Then this isn’t an issue anymore.
Similarly, reading is so often pleasurable, but if it’s something technical or in-depth, it can require effort and focus. However, when your dealing with the effects of a potent mental health issue, effort and focus are things you have precious little of to spare. But if you can have someone read a book to you, which is literally what an audiobook is? That solves that particular problem rather neatly.
I’d happily recommend focussing on audiobooks for anyone planning to write helpful mental health books in future. It’s a different approach, a different style, but it has the potential to be more helpful to those who need it the most. Not having one more spine with your name on displayed on your shelf seems a small price to pay in comparison.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
He 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.