UniSA Professor of Midwifery, Mary Steen is co-editor of a new book about mental health – Mental Health Across the Lifespan.
“Mental health is an integral part of health and during our lives every one of us is susceptible to mental health problems,” Professor Steen says.
“It is estimated that one in four people will suffer from some form of mental illness during their lifetime and therefore it needs to be considered as important as physical health problems.”
The book provides knowledge and understanding of how mental health affects human beings from conception through to end-of-life.
It covers an exploration of historical, social and cultural aspects. The book discusses mental health care and promotion, throughout the lifespan.
Chapters include: during pregnancy and early parenthood, childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, adulthood for both men and women, and in older people. The chapters can be read and reviewed in isolation, or used as an entire text.
Case studies and reflective exercises are included to help the reader gain knowledge and an understanding of how mental health problems can affect a person during their life.
Prof Steen says the book provides a solid introduction to mental health for students and that it will also act as a useful reference book for health professionals, support workers and anyone who has an interest in mental health.
Prof Steen co-edited the book with Michael Thomas who is now the Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Organisational Leadership at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK.
Several other UniSA staff were involved in writing for the book including Professor Nicholas Procter, Chair of Mental Health Nursing; Monika Ferguson, Research Associate; Elizabeth Newnham, Lecturer in Midwifery; Amy Baker, Lecturer; and Kirsty Baker, Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing.
It’s been described as a tale of “passion, scandal and big ideas”, a book that “fearlessly carves a fresh path between history and fiction” and an act of “respectful restoration” in which history and fiction intertwine to give fresh insight into Australia’s forgotten decade – the 1840s.
Whatever the genre, award-winning historian Kiera Lindsey’s debut book The Convict’s Daughter: The Scandal that Shocked a Colony takes real life events out of the author’s ancestral past and paints them with an emotional intensity and historical vivacity to bring mid-19th century Sydney to life.
Dr Lindsey, who lectures in Australian history at UniSA, has written a historical biography of an Australian woman who eloped with the wayward son of the Attorney-General in Sydney in 1848, only to end up in the witness box of Sydney’s Supreme Court, being forced by her father to give evidence against the man she hoped to marry.
The fact that the woman was Dr Lindsey’s great, great, great aunt Mary Ann Gill, and that she only learnt about this chapter of her family’s past when her mother showed her a faded newspaper clipping relating the courtroom scene, adds a “Who Do You Think You Are” element to the story.
Dr Lindsey was interviewed about her book by ABC’s Sonya Feldhoff earlier this month at an event presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and the Hawke Research Institute, which was part of the InConversation Series and supported by South Australia's History Festival, About Time.
Dr Lindsey says she wrote The Convict’s Daughter to share her enthusiasm for this neglected period of history, and, using the analogy of ABC’s Restoration Man, explains how she drew extensively from historical sources to develop the story.
Where historical documentation of this period is lacking, Dr Lindsey used speculation and “informed imagination” to portray the historical contexts and emotional complexities of this very human saga.
Dr Lindsey says the book is a counter to the fact that women are so frequently “overlooked and underreported” in history.
“There are so many fascinating women in Australia’s past and their stories are likely to be lost forever if we only rely upon historical documents,” Dr Lindsey says.
“These stories are our stories and they deserve to be shared but we need to be ‘creative’ if we are going to bring them to life.”
“The Convict’s Daughter uses creative historical techniques to recount the scandalous antics of a defiant colonial lass whose story also offers a new way of tracing Australia’s own transformation in the nineteenth century.”
The Convict’s Daughter is now available in major bookstores and can also be purchased online at Booktopia and Amazon and Allen & Unwin.