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BOOK REVIEW Table of Contents   
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 199
The Joy of Mental Health

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh 160012, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication22-Jun-2010

How to cite this article:
Grover S. The Joy of Mental Health. Indian J Psychiatry 2010;52:199

How to cite this URL:
Grover S. The Joy of Mental Health. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2010 [cited 2022 Nov 28];52:199. Available from:

Some popular writings of Dr. N. N. Wig

Second Edition, 2010

Compiled and edited: Dr. K. J. S. Chatrath

Published by Mental Health Forum, Servants of the People of Society, Chandigarh

As mental health professionals, we are expected to treat subjects with mental disorders, reduce the stigma associated with mental disorders and clear the myths surrounding such disorders. Some of us carry out research too, publish the same in scientific journals, teach clinical skills to trainees and also take up administrative roles in addition to providing clinical services. Some psychiatrists have flair for writing for the lay press; however, most such efforts are often found deficient when it comes to providing scientific information in simple and concise language for the general public. It is very difficult to find all the above skills in a single person; and if at all one wants to inculcate these skills and read a book which can address all these issues, "The Joy of Mental Health: Some popular writings of Dr N N Wig," compiled and edited by Dr. K. J. S. Chatrath, is strongly recommended.

It is a compilation of certain selected articles written by Prof. N. N. Wig for news papers, published in medical journals, some orations, lectures and interviews. As pointed out at the outset, it is a compendium of knowledge for mental health professionals as well as the lay public. The articles discuss issues such as how to cope with the stigma of mental illness, mental health and human rights of mentally ill, mental health and work, stress and mental health, violence and mental health, common mental disorders, who is mentally healthy person etc. One of the article-describes the role of family in the care of the mentally ill. The description of common mental disorders is so lucid that any physician or lay person can understand the same. For a mental health professional it makes an important reading on what matters for sufferers and what needs to be conveyed. The descriptions take care of important aspects of clinical management, for example, describing or informing the patient and family about the lag period of onset of antidepressants.

Another interesting article is in the form of a letter with respect to "safe drinking" in which Prof Wig replies to a young man about drinking. This letter is a treat to read; Prof Wig covers queries regarding what not to do with respect to drinking alcohol, what is happening in Indian cities and how this is different from the Western world with respect to alcohol use. A chapter on counseling covers the basic tenets of the same, which can be understood and applied even by an undergraduate medical student.

The second half of the book has chapters which cover areas like mental health and spiritual values, mind and medicine, 'Hanuman complex,' mental health of women, dangers of medicalizing problems of living, Punjabi Sufi poetry and mental health, pursuit of happiness etc. Other articles include vision of mental health in India by 2020 and how to expand the mental healthcare. The article on "Hanuman Complex" is worth reading from a psychotherapist point of view where Prof Wig discusses the role of mythology in understanding our patients and use of the same for day-to-day work in psychiatry.

The article titled "Mental health and spiritual values" covers the important concept of spirituality from an Indian perspective. The chapter on "Punjabi Sufi Poetry and Mental Health," based on one of the lecture of Prof Wig, covers various aspects of poetry and how it is linked to mental health. In this chapter he aptly points out that true happiness comes by changing self and not by changing things only in the surroundings and also brings out the importance of being non-judgmental towards others.

It can be said that this is a very compassionately compiled book that reminds us of how important it is for a mental health professional to be aware about matters of religion, philosophy and how these could be understood and applied to day-to-day clinical practice in the simplest way. As pointed out earlier, the book is also very useful to understand how scientific knowledge can be presented in a simple and lucid manner.

Correspondence Address:
Sandeep Grover
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh 160012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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