Little Treatments, Big Effects

Schleider, Jessica. (2023)  Little Treatments, Big Effects.  Great Britain: Robinson.

This book was written about the lack of resources for mental health in the world.  The premise is if we had more immediate mental health help it would reduce more expensive treatments later, less societal dysfunction, and lessen the need for police intervening as often.

The authors reported some research based on teaching Carol Dweck’s Mindset strategies. “A meta-analysis by Schleider and Weisz show that a single-session growth mindset intervention produced marked reductions in youth depression and anxiety symptoms over a period of nine months.”

One of the authors was quoted,  “Just doing hard stuff, instead of waiting to want to” woke me up.

A few interesting facts to me were:

  • As mental health facilities were cut back in countries, prison population increased.
  • One in four fatal police shootings in the US 2015-2020 involved a person with mental illness.
  • Up to 70% of juvenile detention centers annually have diagnosable mental illness.
  • People of color face added layer of discrimination and stigma, making treatment even more elusive. Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Alaska Natives are 2.5 times more likely than whites to be uninsured.

What patients wanted:

  • Patients want solutions.
  • They want to feel understood, listened to, respected, and cared for by those delivering care.

This was extremely worth the read. The  clearest connector across all the turning points was the experience of realizing hope that change might be possible, where little such hope had existed before. The word HOPE was used by nearly a third of volunteers in their written descriptions of turning points.

The following five themes were stated as the most effective.

 Five Themes:

  1. Surprising yourself – doing something small you were once certain you could not.
  2. Feeling seen – Experiencing newfound validation from others.
  3. Seeing others – discovering other people are going through similar struggles.
  4. Reclaiming your narrative – realizing the future you want and taking a first step.
  5. Giving back – feeling empowered through supporting others

There are a list of activities beginning on page 160. These might be used in schools to create more access to emotional support.

Italicized portions are direct quotes from the book