The 'Our Encounters with - ' series collect together unnmediated, unsanitised narratives by service-users, past service-users and carers. These stories of direct experience will be of great benefit to those interested in narrative enquiry, and to those studying and practising in the field of mental health. This collection brings together a range of voices on the theme of self-harm - from those who have experienced self-harm directly, alongside the friends, family and staff who live and work with self-harm. Too often, our understanding of the unique and complex experiences of people who self-harm is limited to concepts of mental illness, disorder and disease. Yet these stories demonstrate the strength, survival and recovery of people with rich and diverse lives. Inspiring, hopeful and at times challenging to read, the contributors who have so generously shared their experiences in this book will promote understanding and compassion, improve attitudes and care, and offer hope to those who are personally encountering self-harm.In this respect, this book is of immense value to all those working with self-harm across a spectrum of services and roles, and to those living with self-harm.
Charley Baker is a Lecturer in Mental Health at the University of Nottingham. She has a BA and MA in literature and is working on her PhD on psychosis and postmodernism at Royal Holloway, University of London. During her studies, Charley worked in both community adult and inpatient adolescent mental health for the NHS. Charley is Associate Editor of Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, has been awarded the title of Fellow of the Institute of Mental Health, and serves on the Editorial Board for Journal of Medical Humanities. She has spoken internationally on issues of representations of mental illness in literature, and has interests around self-harm, suicide, 'personality disorders' and the therapeutic use of reading. She is lead author on the co-authored monograph, Madness in Post-1945 British and American Fiction (Palgrave, 2010) and was invited contributor and literary advisor for the psychiatry textbook, Psychiatry PRN (Oxford University Press 2009). She has also written on rape in Angela Carter's fiction, and has published a range of peer reviewed journal articles. Charley is co-founder of the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded international Madness and Literature Network (www.madnessandliterature.org) and International Health Humanities Network (www.healthhumanities.org).Francis Biley (1958-2012) was Associate Professor at the University of Bournemouth. He had particular methodological interests in historiography, autoethnography, unitary appreciative inquiry and using the arts and humanities in health care. Clinically, his interests were in the built care environment, and in the service user movement in mental health and adult care. On 31 January 2013 he was awarded a posthumous Professorship in Nursing by Bournemouth University, which was received by his wife Anna, in recognition of his achievement as a scholar and his trajectory towards a Chair.With a wealth of personal experience of self-harm, Clare Shaw is one of the UK's most prominent and authoritative voices on this issue. She is also 'one of Britain's most powerful and dynamic young poets' (Arvon Foundation); widely published and anthologised, and with two collections published by Bloodaxe. She lives in West Yorkshire with three cats - and one daughter. For more information about Clare's work visit http://www.clareshaw.co.uk