Why do I have a page on mental health resources under the BOOKS section of my web site?
Mental illness plays a role in the lives of the characters in both my books, although I didn’t write either with the intention of bringing attention to mental illness in general or to suicide in particular. However, it’s impossible to consider the characters’ struggles to connect to one another without also contemplating the source of their loneliness and suffering.
It’s also sobering to realize that, according to statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, almost one in five adults experienced some type of mental illness during 2015. The numbers for suicide are just as sobering: the Centers for Disease Control reports that about 43,000 people in the US committed suicide in 2015 and more than a million attempted it. And rates have been on the rise since 1999.
The causes and factors involved in mental illness are complicated. Please, if you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
Here are some other places to go for more information and support in the U.S.:
- American Psychological Association (help for families)
- Mental Health America (finding help)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- Psych Central (find help)
- Steinberg Institute (policy advocacy in California)
Finally, I recommend reading Stephen Hinshaw’s new book, Another Kind of Madness, which chronicles the doctor-enforced silence around his father’s recurring mental illness. In so many tragic instances, what remains unsaid can destroy lives.