Sweet Distress

How Our Love Affair With Feelings Has Fuelled The Current Mental Health Crisis (And What We Can Do About It)

Sweet Distress ISBN: 9781785834677

Sweet Distress

By Gillian Bridge

RRP: £12.99

Crown House | press@crownhouse.co.uk

Health and Wellbeing


Purchase Review

Cutting its way through the media frenzy, Sweet Distress: How our love affair with feelings has fuelled the current mental health crisis (and what we can do about it) puts emotional wellbeing and resilience centre stage.

Using an approach rooted in no-nonsense logic, author and psycholinguistic consultant Gillian Bridge delves into a range of problems which seem to be most frequently cited as sources of mental distress. These include stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, body image, eating disorders, social media, substance abuse, behavioural disorders, academic pressures and bullying.

The author explores how these issues have led to seemingly insurmountable emotional problems and takes a few potshots at some of the things that have contributed to turning life events that may, at other times or in other places, have been little more than nuisances or inconveniences into sources of genuine psychic pain.

Packed with realistic and effective takeaway strategies for parents and educators, Sweet Distress challenges under-researched but over-promoted ideology and shares evidence-based help and advice for anyone wanting to improve the mental health of those they care about.

The book focuses on offering that help in a practical way, so at the end of chapters 5–10, which deal with specific issues, there are sections of particular value to parents, would-be parents, teachers and those in the business of young people’s mental health, such as counsellors and therapists. Likewise, towards the end of the book Gillian has gathered together some selected material into ‘a call to action’ which will reiterate and reinforce some of the most practical and achievable lifestyle advice contained throughout.

Suitable for parents, educators, counsellors and therapists.

It’s easier to manage expectations than change the world

Bridge addresses the issue of the ease in which anxiety has been accessorized through Media platforms, media personalities, therapeutic education arguably leading to or validating a sense of anxiety as a valid commodity for how lives are experienced in the shift between generations. One points to survival, the other towards success. One generation highlights ‘showing up’, the other ‘how they show up’. One points to altruism, the other towards having their needs met.

Bridge attempts to reorient our thinking from an approach focused on ‘look at what has happened!’ to one where the shift is future-focused, by asking the better question: ‘What now?’. In living one’s young life in and through an immediacy-driven world, emotional resilience offers a pathway through the morass of emotions and feelings to one shaped by facts and managed perceptions. It strikes, at the heart of maturation: identity formation. Emotional expression unmatched by emotional wisdom is likely to lead to emotional anarchy. Bridge points to resilience as, not so much an antidote, rather a mentor on life’s journey for young people.

It is an interesting read recognising the lived experiences of young people and the worlds in which they inhabit and offers a guide through to emotional wisdom. It does, however, presume that those adults who seek to support young people through to developing emotionally resilient lives, are themselves, emotionally resilient. Yes, a great tool for teachers, youth workers, for other helping professionals like social workers and counsellors. If environment plays a key role in how young lives are formed, indeed shaped, mayhap the book misses an opportunity to reach this audience. This takes me back to page 17: "it’s easier to manage expectations than change the world". It provokes the reader to be a co-journeyman with the young, rather than simply an observer.

Leave a review

You must be logged in to leave a review.