Mental Wellness Book Club to offer four titles this year

The University Senate’s Mental Wellness Task Force, part of the Benefits and Welfare committee, is bringing back the popular Mental Wellness Book Club that first debuted as part of the Year of Healthy U in 2017-18.

The book club, presented in cooperation with Life Solutions, is open to all faculty and staff members, but there will be only 15 slots for each of the four book discussions during the upcoming school year.

Registration for the first book — “iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood — and What That Means for the Rest of Us” by Jean Twinge (see her TedTalk here) — opened in August and was quickly filled.

For each of the books, participants will receive a free copy right after they register.

Linda Tashbook, a member of the Mental Health Task Force, said in selecting the books, they “conscientiously kept in mind the workplace this time.” There are no novels, but they wanted to focus on “communication skills, relationship skills and specific mental health topics.”

The other books selected are:

  • “Hidden Victims, Hidden Healers: An Eight-Stage Healing Process for Families and Friends of the Mentally Ill” by Julie Tallard Johnson, a social worker who dealt with schizophrenia in her own family.
  • “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, who uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, and he explores innovative treatments.
  • “Almost a Psychopath: Do I (or Does Someone I Know) Have a Problem with Manipulation and Lack of Empathy?” by Dr. Ronald Schouten and James Silver. The book looks at behaviors, such as someone who is just a bit too manipulative and full of himself, or who can charm the masses yet lack the ability to deeply connect with those around her. They help explore if you might have an “Almost Psychopath” in your life and how you can deal with them.

The book discussions in 2017-18 were extremely popular, Tashbook said. For one selection, “She’s Come Undone” by Wally Lamb, there were 120 people who were interested in participating.

Because there is a limit of 15 participants per book, those who are interested should sign up as soon as registration opens. The other three book discussions will occur about every three months. Notifications will be sent out when registration opens for those.

— Susan Jones


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