Dennis O’Donnell started work as an orderly in the Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit of a large hospital in Scotland in 2000. In his daily life he encountered fear, violence and despair but also a considerable amount of care and compassion. Recounting the stories of the patients he worked with, and those of his colleagues on the ward, he examines:
·the different major mental disorders - their symptoms and manifestations
·the various methods of treatment - medication, therapy and conversation
·how religion, sex, wealth, health and drugs can bear influence on mental health
·the prevailing attitudes to psychiatric illness – the authorities, the professionals & society
What emerges is a document of humanity and humour, a remarkable memoir that sheds light on a world that still remains largely unknown and hugely feared.