Mental health: ‘too important to get wrong’

10 October 2017

It’s World Mental Health Day and we’re marking it with some wise words from mental health writer and campaigner Mark Brown, a book launch in aid of Mind, and a reminder about the mental health resources available on our website.

‘Mental health is too important to get wrong,’ said author Mark Brown at the Society of Authors’ ScotsWrite conference last month. In his talk on authors’ mental health, he said:

You’re all writers. You live in your heads. Even the most out-going, hell-raising, take the world and grab it by the scruff of the neck writer has a special place inside them that is most them; a secret garden inside filled with glorious flowers and fantastic plants where the words and ideas come from. Mental health difficulty is like frost that kills all the blooms in that secret garden of inspiration and craft; or a wind that shakes all the fruit from the trees; or a blight that turns the leaves to ashes; or finding on opening the curtains in the morning that someone or something has dug up all the beds, thrown paint on the walls, half chopped through the trunks and beheaded all the flowers. It’s something that happens inside of you that makes everything more difficult.

He went on to talk about the importance of looking after yourself, listening and staying in tune with yourself, as well as the responsibility we have as authors to pursue truth in the way we portray mental health issues in our work.

When we don’t think about why we use mental health in the stories we tell; we run the risk of perpetuating stereotypes and ideas rather than casting new light on them.

It was a brilliant speech. You can read it in full here.

Striker Boy by Jonny Zucker

2Simple has published a new edition of Striker Boy, dedicated to the memory of its author Jonny Zucker, who lived with mental health issues for over 20 years.

Jonny was a SoA member for many years, and dedicated his life to getting kids reading, and worked for many years as a primary school teacher before becoming an author. Striker Boy was his favourite and most popular story.

This special not-for-profit edition is published in Jonny’s memory to raise awareness around mental health, with £1.40 from each sale going to mental health charity Mind.

Need help?

As part of an ongoing drive to do more for authors’ mental health, we launched a Need Help? section on our website earlier this year.

It offers signposting to resources provided by charities and statutory services, in addition to services we offer ourselves, to help you with mental health and wellbeing, finances, your career – and some important contacts for if you’re in crisis and need help now.

Do take a look and if you know of resources that we should include in the page, please let us know.

Visit the Need Help? pages now.