Breakdown: A Clinician’s Experience in a Broken System of Emergency Psychiatry (serious mental illness, psychosis, reform) by Lynn Nanos Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An in depth look into the world of mental health care and the ways in which it can be improved take center stage in Author Lynn Nanos novel Breakdown.

The Synopsis 

When hospitals release seriously mentally ill patients too soon without outpatient follow-up, the patients can end up homeless, jailed, harming others, or even dead. When patients are deemed suitable for inpatient care, they can languish for weeks in hospital emergency departments before placements become available. Meanwhile, patients who fake the need for care are smoothly and swiftly moved to inpatient settings.

Breakdown opens a dialogue with anyone interested in improving the system of care for the seriously mentally ill population. This book helps to answer questions such as:

  • Is inpatient care too inaccessible to those who need it most?
  • Do mental health professionals discriminate against mentally ill patients?
  • Are more stringent measures needed to ensure that patients take their medication?
  • Is borderline personality disorder too serious to be classified as just a personality disorder?

Using vignettes based on real interactions with patients, their families, police officers, and other mental health providers, Lynn Nanos shares her passion for helping this population. With more than twenty years of professional experience in the mental health field, her deep interest in helping people who don’t know how to request help is evident to readers.

  • A woman travels from Maine to Massachusetts because she was ordered by her voice, a spirit called “Crystal,” to make the trip.
  • A foul-smelling and oddly dressed man strolls barefooted into the office, unable to stop talking.
  • A man delivers insects to his neighbors’ homes to minimize the effects of poisonous toxins that he says exist in their homes.

Breakdown uses objective and dramatic accounts from the psychiatric trenches to appeal for simple and common-sense solutions to reform our dysfunctional system. This book will benefit anyone interested in seeing a glimpse of the broken mental health system way beyond the classroom. It can guide legislative officials, family members, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officers toward a better understanding of the system.

The Review 

As someone who has advocated for mental health awareness and seeks to improve and see the mental health education and rehabilitation of this world improve, this was a book that spoke volumes to me. The author does a spectacular job of presenting the struggles and heartbreak of the profession. From the book’s opening pages readers are shown the levels of illness and sad state of affairs for both the patients and the doctors attempting to treat them.

What really stuck out to me reading this novel was how the author wrote it all out in a methodical and precise tone of voice, and yet was still written in a way that the average reader, someone who isn’t an expert in the field of mental health, will be able to understand and empathize with. Each chapter elevates the struggle by showing not only individual cases the author worked, but the journey to fight for the rights for all mentally ill patients to seek help or get help they need. The details given by the author and the statistics laid out for the mandates for mental health by state showcase a lack of cohesive treatment plans and emphasizes the need to expand and grow the mental health profession in this nation and the world at large. 

The Verdict

A well written, powerful and heartbreaking non-fiction read that everyone should try for themselves. Breakdown by Lynn Nanos is a detailed and meticulous book that gives readers the inside look into a very under appreciated field, and novels like this are the steps needed to take the United States and the world forward into the mental health profession for both patients and care providers alike. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Part of taking care of one’s mental health and overall health in their daily relationships has to be seeking advice from counselors or those well versed in the hardships of any relationship. If you are looking for such advice, visit our friends at Regain to learn more by following this link .

About the Author

Lynn Nanos is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in her twelfth year as a full-time mobile emergency psychiatric clinician in Massachusetts. After graduating from Columbia University with a Master of Science in Social Work, she worked as an inpatient psychiatric social worker for approximately seven years. She is an active member of the National Shattering Silence Coalition that advocates for the seriously mentally ill population. She serves on its Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee committee and co-chairs its Blog committee. 


1 thought on “Breakdown: A Clinician’s Experience in a Broken System of Emergency Psychiatry (serious mental illness, psychosis, reform) by Lynn Nanos Review

  1. Pingback: Interview with Author Lynn Nanos | Author Anthony Avina's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.