Seventeen Voices:
Life and wisdom from inside ‘mental illness’

- Marianne Broug -

We know what the words 'mental illness' mean to psychiatrists or doctors. But who are the real experts? This book bring 'mental illness' to life from the inside out. It gives an intensely personal and authentic insight into the experiences, wisdom, understanding and opinions of those who have been labelled as 'mentally ill'.


This book offers solace and encouragement to those who suffer, but also seeks to step beyond the wall of stigma, stereotypes and misconceptions that surrounds so much of discussion and discourse on 'mental illness', and give voice to its very human face.

This book contains seventeen interviews with people ranging in age from 20 to 74. It covers many topics: views on the nature of 'mental illness', therapy, drug use, psychiatry, schizophrenia, OCD, bi-polar disorder, dissociative identity disorder, anxiety disorder, bereavement, depression, spirituality, Aboriginality, suicide, self-harm, alcoholism, homelessness, crime, violence, AIDS ...

"I felt it was my job simply to listen, to be utterly present, to stay out of the way as much as possible and to only ask for clarification if I felt it was needed. Quite beyond my expectations, people shared with me their histories and memories, their innermost thoughts and feelings, their healing. They shared their lives and their dignity. Many told me there was much that they had talked about for the first time for the book. In the course of the interviews I came to feel privileged and deeply humbled." (from the introduction)

- Marianne Broug -

"Not only family members but all mental health professionals should read this revealing account of what is like to be in our mental health system."


– Dr Jon Jureidini -

Head, Dept Psychological Medicine, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide.

"People need to listen to our stories, listen to our points of view and have a different understanding of mental illness … I’ve often said that mental illness is a condition of society."

- Sarah -

"The media portray the 'mentally ill' as violent. But the truth is that we'd much rather kill ourselves than anybody else. I apologise to an ant or a spider if I kill it. I don't want to hurt anybody or anything." 

- Linda -

"It’s not about diagnoses that separate you from everything you know. It’s not about isolating people even further than they already feel. At the clinic I hear people talking about integrating people with ‘mental illness’ into society, but by definition of what they have done, they have made that impossible. They label you as ‘mentally ill’, and then push you back into a society that thinks, ‘Oh my god, "mental illness"!’ "

- Cheryl -

"My discovery that many of the great spiritual writers – including Mother Teresa of Calcutta – say that suffering is a gift was a great joy to me … it hit me between the eyes! It makes it so much easier to accept the road that I’ve travelled down. Suffering can seem to be so negative yet it can, if we allow it, produce in our Being the positive gift of compassion. Compassion doesn’t come out of thin air."

- John -

Seventeen Voices: Life and wisdom from inside 'mental illness' is available from various on-line sources and Wakefield Press.

In addition, the book can also be purchased within Australia directly from Marianne Broug. Price is $28.00, which includes postage and handling. Please contact Marianne through the contact form and you will be notified of payment details.


Please also read selected reviews.

Daintree Rainforest.