Breakdown – Lynn Nanos

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*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*



Blurb:   When hospitals release seriously mentally ill patients too soon without outpatient follow-up, the patients can end up homeless, jailed, harming others, or even dead. When patients are deemed suitable for inpatient care, they can languish for weeks in hospital emergency departments before placements become available. Meanwhile, patients who fake the need for care are smoothly and swiftly moved to inpatient settings.

Breakdown b2fd0b23a3a3966e944daa4f39622e89Breakdown opens a dialogue with anyone interested in improving the system of care for the seriously mentally ill population. This book helps to answer questions such as:

  • Is inpatient care too inaccessible to those who need it most?
  • Do mental health professionals discriminate against mentally ill patients?
  • Are more stringent measures needed to ensure that patients take their medication?
  • Is borderline personality disorder too serious to be classified as just a personality disorder?

Using vignettes based on real interactions with patients, their families, police officers, and other mental health providers, Lynn Nanos shares her passion for helping this population. With more than twenty years of professional experience in the mental health field, her deep interest in helping people who don’t know how to request help is evident to readers.

  • A woman travels from Maine to Massachusetts because she was ordered by her voice, a spirit called “Crystal,” to make the trip.
  • A foul-smelling and oddly dressed man strolls barefooted into the office, unable to stop talking.
  • A man delivers insects to his neighbors’ homes to minimize the effects of poisonous toxins that he says exist in their homes.

Breakdown uses objective and dramatic accounts from the psychiatric trenches to appeal for simple and common-sense solutions to reform our dysfunctional system. This book will benefit anyone interested in seeing a glimpse of the broken mental health system way beyond the classroom. It can guide legislative officials, family members, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officers toward a better understanding of the system.


Breakdown is a thoroughly researched and well-argued treatise on the failures of mental health care provision for severely delusional and/or schizophrenic individuals in the US.

Lynn Nanos clearly has expert knowledge and experience in this field, and carefully constructs her arguments citing studies, academic papers and personal anecdotes to support her points.

Where her own cases are used as supporting evidence, they are anonymised factual accounts, with no attempt to sensationalise these serious conditions for entertainment purposes.  Similarly, the tone is professional, businesslike and detached, despite the author’s obvious passion for her subject matter.

The main focus of the book is Nanos’ observations about the inefficacy of the current system for involuntary transfer to hospital and also the lack of resources and ability to hold the patient in hospital once the transfer has been achieved.  The author  clearly defines the problem and causes, then offers her solutions, which are based on her years of experience within the current system.

If you are looking for cheery anecdotes about mental health and illness, to entertain and titillate, then this is definitely not the book for you.  However, if you have an interest (vested or casual) in the subject, then this book is an excellent scholarly resource on the current issues faced by practitioners and patients.


   Those who bravely choose the path of advocacy are heroes.  Their tragic stories inspire me to join their fight.  They remind me to be courageous when I authorise involuntary transfers to hospital for patients who, I expect, will be discharged too soon.  I am taking my outrage about the injustices I’ve seen as a clinician and turning it into positive energy through this book.  It’s not only a book that I want to share with as many people as possible; it’s a book that I need to share.

– Lynn Nanos, Breakdown


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Find more from Lynn Nanos at her website here, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.

Breakdown is available on Amazon right now.



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2 thoughts on “Breakdown – Lynn Nanos

    1. The world would definitely be a better place with improved mental health provision for all. One day, I hope…!


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