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Buy All In The Mind and raise cash for mental health campaigns

Posted on 27 July 2010 | 2:07am

In the run-up to the election we sold several hundred signed copies of The Blair Years via the website, with half the proceeds going to the Labour Party. Now I want to do something similar with my first novel, All In The Mind, about a psychiatrist and his patients. But this time the proceeds are time going to mental health charities.

Employing the special deal available to authors, I have bought a supply of copies of the hardback. I am offering signed copies at £14.99 plus postage and packing, with half of the money per copy going to mental health charities.

As you may know I was elected last year’s Mind champion, so Mind is one obvious cause. I am also a campaigner for Time to Change, and work with Rethink on this and other campaigns, so that is another. Rethink is already out there helping to market this – you can order a signed copy from Rethink’s mental health shop. As with The Blair Years, I will individually sign the books, and messages requested can be posted when making an order online.

With The Blair Years scheme we prided ourselves on getting books out in days but as I am about to go for our annual holiday in France, this time people may have to be more patient.

However, if you get an order in in the next three days, I will sign at the weekend, and we will get the books straight out. Anyone else will have to wait till the back end of August.

In good publishing style, once the hardbacks are done, we will move to paperbacks, though for obvious reasons the proceeds for good causes gets diminished.

I am very proud of All In The Mind, partly because of the reviews it received, but more so because of the number of people who have written to say that something within it speaks to a condition they know. I am convinced that the more we can be open about mental illness the better it will be for all of us. So I hope we can raise some decent money for the groups trying to make that happen.

In case you’re still not convinced, I’ll just remind you why I think these are good causes. According to government figures, 1 in 4 of us will be affected by mental health problems at some point in our lives, and more than half the population will have their lives touched by mental illness in some way – whether directly, or someone they care about. It is an enormous issue, yet gets nothing like the attention or support that, say, the fight against cancer does, or heart disease.

About 1 in every 100 people will have an episode of psychosis during their lives. That’s something I’ve been through myself, (see the film Cracking Up in the video archive) and I can vouch for the fact that it’s very frightening, and getting good support is crucial to recovery.

Yet despite it being so common, mental illness remains a big taboo. When the Time to Change campaign was launched we did some research which showed that 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems have experienced some form of stigma or discrimination. People with mental health problems will sometimes tell you that the public misunderstanding, shame and embarrassment can be worse than the symptoms.

Unfortunately, it’s also sometimes a barrier to people seeking the help they need to get better. Not to mention a barrier to work.

As a society, we’ve got some misguided ideas about mental illness – we tend to write people off, assume they won’t get better or ever have careers. In fact around 60% of employers dismiss applications from people with a history of mental illness. They’re missing out on a lot of potential talent.

Of all the mental illnesses the severe conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are probably the most stigmatised of all. But they affect more than 1.5 million people in England.

And with big public spending cuts on the way, we have to be vigilant that mental health does not return to being the Cinderella service of the NHS.

Anyway, I hope this fundraising scheme will raise awareness as well as money, and that anyone who gets the book, for themselves or friends or family, will enjoy it. And finally, thanks to Rethink for handling all the admin side of things!!

*** Buy All In The Mind and raise cash for mental health campaigns

  • Barry

    A fantastic gesture and hopefully the money raised will do much to help MInd, Rethink and other similar organizations. As someone who has worked within DH on the regulatory side, I have witnessed and reported on the many disadvantages not only in the NHS, (where Mental Health funding is way down the pecking order,) but also in society as a whole. The condition of some mental illness wards would not be tolerated in cardiac or oncology settings.The prejudice and stigma applied to people with a mental illness is perhaps one of the unsung and hidden issues in the country. By doing this it will help and more power to your elbow ! I have already purchased the book , earlier this year, and for anyone interested it is a great read !

  • Phil Kingman

    Thought you might be interested to know that your novel was the first my teenage son read from beginning to end without being pressured by his pushy parents. I took it on holiday last year and read it in two sittings. I said to my son it was the best novel about the mind I had ever read. He started it that night and could not put it down. Good luvk with this idea

  • Carla McBride

    Of all the things you have done I would put your work on depression and mental illness right up there. As a depressive I cannot tell you enough what it means to people like me that people like you and Stephen Fry and others speak out as you do. Good luck. already got the book and you signed it for me in Dublin but I will tell all my friends

  • Jacquie R

    Look forward to reading your book, Alastair. Crucial work your’re doing on mental health, and specially important in these insecure times. The grim economic outlook, job losses, financial hardship, enforced changes to lifestyle, the erosion of welfare – all of these cause distress to individuals, families and relationships. And the strains and depression can lead to somewhere far worse.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in knowing people who have experienced breakdowns following unemployment. On a couple of occasions these have triggered severe and long term psychiatric illness, leaving deep and permanent scars on the whole family. The fact is, mental health services should be enhanced, rather than cut. Fat chance, I know.

    On a completely different note, and without wishing to be flippant, I seriously wonder what is going on in the head of today’s coalition-loving leader writer in The Guardian. Take the last sentence, ” …. Nick Clegg and his Lib Dem ministers are going to have to do a much more active and sensitive job of selling the coalition and the place of the spending cuts within it, they they have done thus far.” Excuse me??? Are you The Guardian or Daily Telegraph?

  • christine higginbottom

    Dear Alastair, To suffer mental illness can feel (and in many cases is)like a life sentence. Considering the huge scale of the problem, much more needs to be done to help the sufferer. The support you may have obtained, may indeed have enabled you to recover and continue with your life. Sadly this is not the case for the majority of mentally ill people.

    Charities are all well and good at providing LIMITED help. Governments should provide the bulk of help with more psychiatrists/psychologists, increases in acute hospital beds, better and quicker access to DOCTORS (not “someone” on the end of the Crisis line telephone, who knows as much about mental illness as Daffy Duck). Much better help within day services. We don’t want the American model of mental health services – it does not work.

    GOVERNMENTS let down the mentally ill – and continue to do so.
    Christine H

  • Bernie

    @Jacquie R

    Join the rest of us and stop reading it…

    The obvious trigger point for that was 8 weeks ago and was as principled a response I could make in response to the weakest and most vacuous political decision that publication has made for a long time (possibly ever). They lacked logic, courage and wisdom. But do the same and avoid its desperately want-to-be-different-but-so-not voice and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how little one misses the sound of Vanity Rusbridger and Co.

  • Graham Jones

    The work done by AC in mental health reaches beyond the mere activity of raising funds, it breaks down barriers in the minds of bosses who are often unaware,just how wide spread depression is among their own workforce. It makes a difference to those suffering in silence, who are too ashamed to talk about it, when public figures like AC speak about their own experiences and say ,”Your not alone”, letting people know that there is a way to live with this condition. It comes in all shapes, and can strike anyone at any time of life.
    Perhaps it is a British trait to indulge in the social machismo of denial, because in other countries such as America and wider Europe, people feel more at ease to talk about it. That’s why it’s just as important to raise awareness in Britain, as it is to raise money. If it becomes a higher priority in society, then government will be more willing to tackle it head on.

  • Deb Kuchler

    Alastair was the keynote speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Federal of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC) yesterday. He was charming and engaging. His presence filled the room and he kept several hundred American lawyers entertained and intrigued. That’s quite an accomplishment.

    We really enjoyed his comments on strategy and communications. Folks were taking notes on his ten main points with the intent to use them when they get home to the U.S.

    I was especially impressed with the way he took time to get to know our group. He attended a Dessert Party the night before he spoke so he could meet our members. He has an amazing memory for names and conversations and made those he met feel like we had known him for a very long time.

    If you are looking for a speaker to keep your audience wanting more, you should definitely reach out to Alastair.


  • Steve Brundish

    Its a pity that as Alsitair and others work to improve peoples understanding of mental illness others continue to write mindless ignorant copy just to fill thier weekly columns. Now joining janet Street Porter in this catagory is Rod Liddle who in today’s Sunday Times calls for the bringing back of stigmas. He writes that obesity has increased because over wieght people are no longer abused in public and then goes on to attack people with mental illness as shown by this qoute from his column ” Can we start calling mad people mad again? haven’t we removed the stigma from mental illness enough by now, and can we bring some of it back”. The truth is people like Liddle who like to get cheap laughs from anyone they see as different. Is it beyond Liddle to follow through the logic of his argument. Its a short step as history shows from verbal abuse to phyiscal abuse and then state sanctioned oppresion. How long before those with disabillities or a different sexual orientaion are added to his list. This type of debate is music to the BNPs ears Liddle may start the debate but Nick Griffin and Co will more than happy to end it.

  • Dave Richardson

    Emigrated to Australia in the early 90’s, living in Darwin. Graduated in Politics from University of Warwick and have always kept a close eye on British Politics. I have read all the major works biographies/diaries etc from that era(and before) and have to say I thought your work was the most interesting of them all. The only one on equal par is the Benn diaries. You may disagree.
    I came to the conclusion on reading your book, come rain or shine, you were simply doing your job and your work ethic and loyalty to the cause cannot be questioned. Agree with Skinner’s view, plus Boulton is obviosuly a ….
    I have mentioned your book wide and far here and given the state of Northern Territory Politics and the huge crisis we face with Indigenous livelihood I am duely advocating that anyone who really wants to get things moving and understand both the inside and outside of politics should give your book a read.
    As a English southener I remain bemused by the quality of Yorkshireman.
    All the best
    Dave Richardson

  • Jon T

    Hi Alastair,

    I really enjoyed the audiobook you read of your first ‘Blair Years’ extracts. Will you be producing an audiobook of the new extracts of your diaries?


  • Graeme

    Hi Alastair,

    I hope you offer signed hardback copies of the uncut Prelude to power sometime soon at your bookshop.

    Kind regards


  • Tess @ Childhood Depression

    This is a fantastic breath of fresh air. We work with children who suffer from childhood depression and it would make you cry the way they can not cope with the world and actual living. It brings a tear to my eye every day. So seeing that you are giving the proceeds to charity is fantastic and not lining your own pockets – like many others would do. Hats off to you AC.

  • Alistair

    Hi Alastair,

    I will be looking forward to have a signed copy of Prelude to Power in my library next to other publications by yourself, notably The Blair Years.

    Yours Truly,

  • Graham Jones

    It’s all a bit rich seeing the coalition blaming Labour for the state of the economy, when it’s their policy of cutting public investment that’s undermining the confidence in the economy. It’s not public debt that is the underlying problem, it is the policy of deliberately shrinking the economy that’s raising the alarm-bells. When the public see the spectre of deep cuts, they will follow suit, leading to less consumer spending in the retail sector; this creates less demand for retail workers and ultimately higher unemployment -and George Osbourne thinks the private sector will fill the gap in the economy?
    In a few short months we have went from steady economic growth and light at the end of the tunnel, to staring into the abyss of the coalition’s death spiral. It is the economists prophecies that are coming true, with tories and the Libdems in the dock, not the Labour party.
    It was so obvious, that they would get Andy Coulson and his minions to roll out the spin machine today. What isn’t so obvious, is that there is still no right of reply being granted on certain news bulletins. BBC radio news only reported the government line of blaming Labour, without covering the other side of the arguement. I know the new order at the Beeb tend to lean toward the right, but this undermines public opinion, and more importantly, it masks the truth. Labour has to find it’s public face again, and start taking apart the coalition on this. They were doing fine until a week or so ago. I know that Cameron has being stumbling from one gaff to another, but Labour have to be seen as the party of sense and stability, in the face of these bare-faced lies by the government.
    I’m sorry to see Jack Straw leaving the cabinet, and thank him for his service to the country. He saw it all during his time, and whoever emerges to lead Labour, must use his experience.
    It’s all change now, and it’s been good to see the candidates work together when confronting the tories and libdems. This spirit must be harnessed when the votes are cast, because the party must close ranks, if they are to return to government. The country is ready for Labour, and Labour must be ready for the country.

  • Simon

    ‘The country is ready for Labour’ ?? Get real!

  • Alex

    Ahh Mr Jones, your GCSE analysis of the state of the economy has about as much credibility as GB’s hubristic claim to have ‘ended boom and bust’. Contrary to your spin, the facts indicate that Brown should indeed shoulder a great deal of the blame for the economic mess we are all now in. It is testimony to his thick skin and almost sociopathic self-belief that when faced with a catestrophe of his partial creation he sought to recast himself as the saviour of the world… er, sorry, banks…..mmm, just not credible…….

    As to the Straw-man, it is a shame he did not retire from politics a year into his career. His incompetence in office (particularly at the Ministry of Justice), his double dealing whilst at the FO, is shameful and plain for all to see – his epitaph should read, “all form over substance, self-preservation and career before principle”. I would have thought that his endorsement of David Miliband’s candidature will further damage DM’s already tarnished reputation amongst non-partizan members of the public – DM’s presumptuous, schoolboyish letter to David Patreaus being a clear sign of his studpidity and arrogance; I am sure DP used it for what it was fit for and then promptly flushed it down the toilet.

    Quite frankly, all of the current nulab leadership candidates are pretty lightweight; whoever gets in will preside over a party destined to remain in opposition for the next 10 to 20 years at least, and I’m afraid you only have yourselves to blame for that.

    Keep going though, you really are doing a sterling job; your myopic, black and white view of the world is rather amusing to those of us not blinkered to the synthetic world of party politics and blinkered doctrines.

    Alex (former labour voter, to my shame).

  • penfrocharlie

    Graham, old chap, do give it a rest; very few people buy into your economic analysis and even dear old Alastair seems to have temporarily deserted the sinking ship.
    Cheer up a little and try to enjoy life a bit more…it might just enable you to bring more perspective to your rather grim view of life.

  • s chapman

    Re Graham Jones
    What rubbish – at least be honest in your drivel.
    Fact – Labour left us with an enormous level of debt.Is that true ??
    In order to service this debt and for our economy to borrow and function in the world we need to retain our ratings.To do this we have to be seen to reduce the debt levels in short-order.4yrs is too long,the markets don’t wait…don’t you know that ??
    The economy as you put it is NOT being shrunk its years of wasteful Govt spending and hiring that is being shrunk.
    Quite right and the British people get that ok.

    Its obviously Govt paid workers who don’t agree….thats understandable and obvious…but they cannot expect the real world to shoulder the cost of Labours economic mismanagement.Or,to continue to receive unreasonable pensions.Jobs have to go.

    As for your point re steady growth – I mean get real…after spending 1 Trillion quid to prop the UK up don’t you think it should be growing !! I mean had it not, then lets turn the lights off and leave !!

    The Coalition is far from perfect but they get the deal here…something needs to be done and they are getting on sorting out the complete mess you and your friends left us in….FACT


    Indeed Graham Jones – the EU after the release of GDP figs today said “the recovery is on track albeit fragile “, ” the pick-up isn’t an excuse to ease deficit reduction ”

  • penfrocharlie

    Graham Jones

    “David Cameron has been stumbling from one(sic)gaff to another….”.
    On a pub crawl,was he?

  • Janete


    I agree with your analysis entirely and I too feel frustration and alarm at the lack of a Labour reply in the media. I’m not sure of the reasons for this but the enthusiasm shown by the BBC for repeating the Tory mantra of ‘Labour Cuts’ is sickening. The BBC could be aligning themselves as useful to the Tories, in the hope of protecting their own budget. Certainly today’s story of ‘Fears over £65bn NHS mortgage’ is a classic example. As this isn’t new information I wondered who was ‘fearful’. What a surprise it’s the BBC!

    The absence of a current Labour leader and many Labour spokesmen taking a (well-earned) holiday is probably allowing them space to make these charges relatively unchallenged. Although recent appearances by Jim Knight, Paul Myners and Bob Ainsworth have helped to remind the public there is an alternative. Reading Prelude to Power really brings home the importance of constant pressure on media outlets to try to get the Labour message through and to complain vigorously when coverage is unbalanced. Our right-wing media will naturally promote Tory arguments whereas the view from the left is barely heard, more so now, since the Guardian joined the coalition.

    I hope the new leader is able to harness talent within the Labour Party to run an efficient and professional onslaught in the autumn. I feel we have not handled the media well for some years and the strength of feeling in the media towards Alastair is testament to how well he did the job. Somehow we need to reproduce that era, though I admit it’s a hell of an act to follow.

  • Graham Jones

    REPLY: I bow to your superior knowledge. It’s always good to get another’s perspective on the economic woes we face……I just didn’t expect it to come from the 1930’s!

  • olli issakainen

    Paul Krugman fears that we are in the early stages of a third depression. G20 did not learn anything from history and has gone back to orthodoxy with spending cuts.
    Recessions are common, but depressions rare. First depression started after 1873, and the Great Depression after the financial crisis of 1929-31. If the third one comes, it will happen because of inadequate spending due to balanced-budget orthodoxy supporting premature fiscal austerity.
    It was the Hooverite cuts that turned the Wall Street crash to Great Depression.
    David Blanchflower has said that the cuts will have an opposite effect intended. With David Cameron and George Osborne in charge, a depression is a possibility.
    Mr Osborne´s Budget was based on optimistic forecasts. Even Ken Clarke has warned about double-dip recession. And Mervyn King has said that recovery is not safe yet.
    David Cameron believes that employment will rise. The “independent” OBR (= chancellor´s mouthpiece) predicted a rise of 1.2 million. But leaked Treasury analysis tells of 1.1 million job losses. There is scepticism whether the private sector will be able to create the 2.5 million jobs needed.
    Economies of the US and China are slowing. US home sales, retail sales and factory orders have been down as well as China´s manufacturing.
    And bond markets might also be signalling a depression. There appears to be a risk of economic stagnation or worse for decades. This is the market signal sent by the equity/bond crossover.
    Jacques Cailloux from RBS has told that the risk of double-dip recession in Europe is rising fast. Without an effective intervention, the European economy will double-dip in 2011.
    Investor Jim Rogers predicts a new recession in 2012. According to him global economy faces another recession and is ill-prepaired to cope with after-effects. Recessions do happen every 4/6 years, and the next time the arsenal of available tools to central banks and governments to combat recession is lacking.
    Robert Shiller believes that next downturn comes even sooner.
    Ray Barrell of NIESR has stated that the “Emergency Budget” was political theatre and was not needed. Greece-style meltdown was never a likely prospect in Britain. Spending-led consolidation is a political one based on belief in the small state.
    Coalition´s austerity measures will hamper growth. And the VAT rise will mean that the inflation is higher. 51% of people in Britain now think that new recession is likely.
    In 1937 Keynes said that boom, not slump is the right time to austerity at the Treasury. This is not the standard European line at the moment.
    According to Keynesian theory monetary and fiscal policy are part of single process, not alternatives.
    Warning signals of double-dip recession are flashing across the world. But fast and deep deficit reduction is still central to the Con-Lib government´s economic policy. What seems to matter are market concerns and AAA credit rating.
    Britain´s economic policy is run by ideological amateurs. They are destined to fail. And fail at enormous cost to British people.

  • Alan Quinn

    Re the debt, an excellent article by William Keegan in the Observer. The Condems are certainly selling the debt lies as cover for their real target of dismantling the NHS, LEAs and UK society as we know it. The lack of argument from Labour is deafening at the moment.

  • Danny Start

    Your opinion on Alan Milburn’s new ‘role’, Alistair?

  • Sean Flanagan

    Hi Alastair

    Just watched your Irish TV interview last night.

    Have to say I was gobsmacked!

    I very quickly was drawn in by your absolute bare faced candour.

    You really threw me!

    Too many friends! on facebook! so be it, cant blame me for trying. …and I will read your books in time.

    Anyway, good luck in the future (sorry that word has lost its meaning since I discovered Erkhart Tolle – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose Amazon £7 (no affiliate links/hard sell – just a humble recommendation)

    Hope young Tony is doing well too, havent seen him in ages!

  • penfrocharlie

    Nothing to blog about Alastair? Your adoring public is becoming restless and your very own brand of tough-talking leadership is needed now more than ever.
    How about telling us your real thoughts on this summer’s non-news…..the Labour leadership campaign? Which one of the candidates,if any,is best qualified to lead you out of the vale of despair onto the sunny political uplands which you so recently enjoyed?
    Come on, big Al,we’re dying to read what you REALLY think!

  • Dana Portsmouth

    I seem to understand that you are on holiday in France and this comment is not really a follow up to your last recent updates but i’m too outraged by the media coverage of Tony Blair’s decision to donate the profits of his oncoming book to the charity for soldiers wounded in the battlefield (which means not only Iraq ) that I couldn’t refrain myself from writing a few words against this coalition of Leftie lunatics and right-wing nuts who had never stood your success, losers as they are. (I’m an academic, i teach international political theory in a graduate program in Princeton and i’m not used to this kind of language but enough is enough). Only in a society turned upside down what is moral is deemed deeply immoral and what is moral is to blame from an ethical standpoint. In spite of the fact that Tony Blair has nothing to be forgiven as far as the deaths of British troops are concerned , in spite of the fact that he has always stated, crystal clear, that the responsibility of what went wrong in Iraq, including deaths of innocent people, will be with him forever, which is, to me, a more profund form of regret that a duly sorry so wanted by some of the bereaved families, even if his decision to donate the money were out of guil, what he did is praiseworthy. I really feel for you and Tony Blair and admire the resilience and stoicism you have been showing for more than seven years. It riles me up such injustice going on, as an unstoppable flow of misplaced hate and resentment towards people Britain should be immensely proud of.
    Enjoy your holiday

  • John McBride

    I would say it is a fascinating book. Is it up my street? I’m not sure, I’d probably be frightened reading it, but feel strength at the same time while doing so. Therefore, does it come with a health warning?

    Keep Smiling,

    John McBride

  • Beverley Thornton

    Hi Alatair
    Thank you for an inspiration and very motivational speech yesterday at the Leeds PFT members day.I spoke to you after and asked if you would consider doing a presentation at the next Leeds annual Bipolar conference you said i should email you but unfortunately i can’t locate your email. I hope you recieve this message and could send me your email to then i can let you know details about the event and some possible dates. Thankyou

  • “Unfortunately, it’s also sometimes a barrier to people seeking the help they need to get better. Not to mention a barrier to work.”

    How unfortunate that many are force drugged, killed from overdose and yes I’ve seen the trolley after several shots of tranquilizer and where the tranquility be hiding in these rancid psychiatric drugs of probable is upon life’s end. That I write without fear of is the biggest barrier… Get a survey out and ask the question, drugged without choice using theory based drugs [no cannot use word medication] of killed millions and have no cure? getting scared now, you must be sane.

    Is this the new private jest, lets all talk & write about the mind while psychiatry con-tinue on their brain based exploration. Get the history book out populus and examine how many failed miracle cures or magic bullets pharmaceutical have produced all backed from NICE (foolish) clinical professionals & Civil Servants of accept garbage in a can.

    Too many people find a route to cure without pharmaceutical and blog owner in part is holding responsibility preventing those from providing evidence from a non-existent developmental progressive humane mental health care policy. In legal speak, bigots (narrow minds) run the country, strangle the country and all for profit. Civil Servants many of fuel institutional bigotry and break the code of honesty, integrity of that what is elsewhere acceptable within role.

    Mental health has equal hazards at work yet without proper regulation: live in ward then comment.

    Facebook Psychiatric Abuse Scotland. End chemical slavery.