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Psychiatric Tales

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,754 ratings  ·  288 reviews
This books delves inside the mysteries of mental disorders - presenting explanations and recollections using the cartoonist's own experiences as both a psychiatric and care nurse and as someone who himself has suffered from depression.Being able to see the issue from both sides allows Darryl to present matters in a forthright and instantly accessible way which will allow m ...more
Hardcover, 103 pages
Published 2010 by Blank Slate Books
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,754 ratings  ·  288 reviews

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Dov Zeller
I was so looking forward to reading this but once I picked it up it didn't take long for me to reach my limit of tolerance. The stories are not considered and explored in a way that I found interesting or satisfying and instead it just feels like Cunningham is in pedantic lecture mode. Raina's GR review got to a lot of my feelings about it, but she is more generous in her assessment, which I appreciate. Here is a quote from her review:

"Generally, though, this felt very didactic to me. The anecdo
Paul Bryant

This book is tiny. 175 pages, read it in one hour. It’s like a beginner’s guide to the most common mental illnesses and even though it’s on lots of best-graphic-novelly-things which is why I got it, since I’m an ignorant blunderer in the garden of comix, I wasn't knocked out. We get chapters on dementia, self-harming, depression, personality disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar. A definition, the currently recommended treatment, a quick character sketch of a patient encountered by the author, and
Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
Published on my book blog.

I got this book as a birthday gift from two dear friends of mine. We share many interests, and the workings of the human mind is one of them, so they figured this book would be a good match for me.

It's a good premise. The author spent a few years working as a health care assistant in a psychiatric hospital and draws on his experiences to tell short stories about mental illnesses. Unfortunately, I didn't like it as much I thought I would. I was hoping for an insightful l
[DNF at aprox. 10%]

I wish you could give negative stars here in GR!

Right from the introduction, which is an explanation about why the book exists, the book came across cold, detached and distant.

I took me one chapter, [dementia ward] which was only nine pages long to profoundly hate this book.

I was deeply disgusted.

I cannot believe the blurb says that this was “ a reasoned and sympathetic look into the world of mental illness”???? I have NEVER read a more, superficial, egocentric, disrespectful
The concept of this book sounded interesting, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. I had expected 11 stories about various patients the author/artist had worked with as a psychiatric nurse. Instead I got a brief overview of several types of mental illness (depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, etc) with several examples within each chapter (not full stories, but rather "I once worked with a patient who..."). It read more like a textbook in graphic novel form, telling about symptoms and stress ...more
Lisa Vegan
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who have motivation to understand various mental illnesses & those who suffer with them
I picked up this book and I didn’t put it down until I’d finished it. Luckily, it’s a really quick read. I was able to fully appreciate the graphic form of these stories. I admire the author for trying to describe mental illnesses to potential readers who might not otherwise understand them. I think, given the brevity of the work, he does a reasonably good job accomplishing what he intended to do. It’s hard for me to determine if readers knowing nothing about mental illnesses will be even close ...more
I'm really glad this is shelved in nonfiction in my library system, because it totally is. Although the subtitle prepares you for short stories, they're really just short chapters discussing a different illness or illness-adjacent issue.

The art is really lovely, don't get me wrong. As Cunningham says in the last chapter, he's especially great with cityscapes.

Generally, though, this felt very didactic to me. The anecdotes or "stories" of Cunningham's experience generally take up less than half
May 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics, i-own-this
"understand the trials of both sufferers and those connected to them" - That pretty much sums up the book. Its a series of tales told by some guy who worked with the mentally ill. He wants the mentally healthy to appreciate mentally ill people, not be afraid of them, and accept them.

That's a noble cause, but it makes for a dull book and the book doesn't go beyond that attempt. I suffered from mental illness (psychosis, for lack of a more precise term, or lack of wanting to elaborate) for a shor
Andrés Santiago
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, favorites
One of the most beautiful comic/graphic novel I have ever read. It is informative, sensitively done and very personal. It stays with you long after you read it. I hope this guy keeps making comics, he is one to follow...
I don't really know how to feel about this book, in one hand I appreciate that a person is interested in talk a very hard subject, in the other hand I feel that the book has a voyeuristic approach in people with mental illness and it's targeted to neurotypical public. But I don't find this approach helpful even that I know that cartoonize people who suffer of a mental illness can be a eye catcher for neurotypical and can help to go to the later message of demystifying the subject, besides that i ...more
Amber Lea
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is really simplistic and at times repetitive. I was hoping for more humor and insight. I either wanted there to be more personal stories, or more exploration of mental illness itself. Overall it was a bit bland and shallow, but I still read it all the way through because it's like...the ambient music of comic books. It was like going on a slow meandering walk through someone else's brain.

(Of course, as someone who worked at a pharmacy for eight years, none of these stories shocked me. But i
A collection of short, graphic stories about working with the mentally ill. Really awful drawing style- even though he showed signs of potential with the chapter on famous people with mental illness, which makes it even worse. (I just hate that crude, blunt drawing style that seems to be popping up all over the place lately. Anyway.) The stories were all pretty unpleasant and didn't really open my eyes to any issues of mental health. I wouldn't really recommend this to anyone.
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, nonfiction
Not exactly what I'd been hoping for. I'd been hoping for some insightful looks at people with mental illness, but this isn't really that. Most of the chapters are really superficial. And I'm not a big fan of the art style. I suppose it's meant to read as simple, but it just looks simplistic, and amateurish.
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book has the potential to be a great collection but it doesn't quite get there. The descriptions of the illnesses read like simplistic medical definitions. I think this would have been a lot better if each of the stories were written from the perspective of someone with the illness instead of someone who oversaw somebody suffering from it.
Jennifer Siddiqui
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is based on the authors experience working in different psychiatric wards as a nursing assistant. I enjoyed learning about all the types of mental illness, but felt the book lacked depth regarding facts relating to all the different type of psychiatric disorders.
Braden Boudreau
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Braden Boudreau
Ms. O’Brien-Yetto
English 9H
            Review of Pyschiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham
Pyschiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham is a graphic novel of him telling stories about mental illness, he used to work as an assistant on a psychiatric ward for many years and is also a cartoonist so he made this book to take away the ignorance on mental illness and show how it can affect people.
    Onto the graphic novel itself, I thought it was a very well-done novel and I enjoyed it a
Matt Wilson
I read Psychiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham. In this book Cunningham talks about his experiences working in a psychiatric hospital. He shares information and experiences from the different types of wards that he worked in. I enjoyed this book because Cunningham uses it at a platform to educate the public about different types of mental illness and put to rest different myths and stereotypes that many people think of when they hear about a mental illness. For example, Cunningham explains that p ...more
May 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
This did not hit the mark for me, and I feel like Cunningham was not aware of the audience that he was writing too. The stories were small, and the lecture of giving up mental illness stigma large. Now, I am a huge proponent of getting rid of the stigma regarding mental illness; however, I don’t think many people that stigmatize mental illness would pick up a book with this title. This was further exacerbated by the chapter on suicide where it felt like Cunningham was not only being unsympatheti ...more
Rowan Smith
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read “Psychiatric Tales” by Darryl Cunningham. This was great. I usually don’t like to read books, but I didn’t want to put this book down. This book is about events that occured while the author was working in a hospital for mental illness.
I enjoyed how the format of the book was a graphic novel. This makes the book more entertaining and pleasing to the eye in my opinion. I feel like the points that Darryl Cunningham was trying to make in his book were better understood since there were pictu
Kate Stericker
I was initially apprehensive about reading this book, since the cover and the blurb gave the impression that it might take a voyeuristic/sensationalistic tone and recount the stories of mentally ill people in a way that was intended to be unsettling. However, I found the author's narrative voice honest and understanding, and it's clear that his intention with this book is to debunk false beliefs about mental illness and humanize those affected by it. As someone experienced with mental illness an ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
I loved this, although from the ratings here it seem like many people didn't. I think this novel does a great job of mitigating the stigma of mental illness and I thought it was particularly intimate, especially toward the end as Cunningham describes his own experiences with mental illness. I think this novel is a must-read if you're trying to humanize those who live with mental illness and those who work with those clients.
Patly stark and empathetic. I wished each vignette were much longer! Cunningham says a lot with very few words.
Iliana Noory
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
Such a great graphic novel about mental illness! It’s short and sweet and extremely insightful.
Dain Berardinangelo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brianna Buckingham
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I don't usually read graphic novels because I have never really gotten into them. This book sounded very interesting at first and I liked the concept of bringing awareness to mental health through a graphic novel. Many people struggle with their mental health and the people around them do not understand what they are going through or how to help them cope with their illnesses. I thought it was interesting that these stories came from a psychiatric nurse and the things he saw during his career. I ...more
Syed Muhammad Danial
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People who want to learn about mental illness
Shelves: comic
A book about mental illness. This book shortly tells you about dementia, schizoprenia, depression and so on. The story is kinda repititive in each chapter. If you have a zero knowledge about mental disorder like me, then it is okay for you. But if you want to expand your knowledge in this field, I think this book is not suitable for you
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I wasn't into the drawing style, but it grew on me and I appreciated the insights the author had into different mental illnesses. It was a good mix of personal and clinical observations, and I think it'll stick with me.
Psychiatric Tales is a graphic novel about the experiences that a mental health nurse had while he worked in a psychiatric ward. The book is divided into eleven sections, each with its own topic regarding mental illness. I am very interested in the topic of mental illness and have previously taken two courses on abnormal psychology in college and have done other reading on the topic. That being said, this book didn't tell me any new information, except for the few unique cases that the author pe ...more
Oct 14, 2014 rated it liked it
"Psychiatric Tales" is an informational graphic novel about the author, Darryl Cunningham's, life and experiences as a psychiatric nurse in a hospital. He opens the novel with the world's current views on mental illness, and how it is often overlooked and misjudged. He composes the rest of the novel as a series of short stories explaining a variety of mental illnesses in each section. The book describes dementia, self-harm, depression, anti-social personality disorder, schizophrenia, and others. ...more
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greatreads
Since it's a graphic novel, I was able to finish this in one sitting. Fascinating true account of a mental health aide's experiences on an acute ward in England, along with brief tales of famous people, as well as the author's own tale of suffering. The book obviously serves to try to destigmatize mental illness and show it is just as serious and, often, fatal as Cancer or HIV. Indeed, these illnesses are a health problem in the brain which effects the whole body. The problem is, many affliction ...more
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British Artist Darryl Cunningham is the creator of the web-comics, 'Super-Sam and John-of-the-Night' and 'The Streets of San Diablo'. Darryl's work can also be found at his blog and flickr page. His book Psychiatric Tales has been published by Blank Slate in the UK and by Bloomsbury in the US.

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