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ss triple helix - summer 2012,  The primary care guide to mental health

The primary care guide to mental health

M&K Publishing, 2012
£22, Pb, 102pp
ISBN 978 1 90553 910 9

This book does what it says on the tin - teaches about common mental health problems in primary care, with an emphasis on what generalists rather than specialists need to know. Each chapter gives an overview, the epidemiology, common signs and treatments, and also some pointers on how to screen.

As such, the chapters on stress, sleep, dementia, and overall health, are prominent with less text space given to conditions where management is often initiated from secondary care. Helpfully however, the role of the GP is highlighted in theseillnesses, where the person's physical health can be neglected and a wider approach missed.

The target audience is within the UK. There are better books on the market for the developing world. For a book that is aimed at non-specialists, there is little on alternative and patient-led approaches to staying mentally well, including an almost complete silence on the role of spirituality and community.

This book is a simplified and partly primary-care orientated look at a range of mental health problems, but fails to deliver a holistic primary care punch.

Rob Waller is a Consultant Psychiatrist, NHS Lothian.

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