The Chronicle-Herald January 25, 2016
Writing, talking about mental illness
Betty Vaughan hopes her new book can help the lives of people suffering from mental illnesses.
Titled Maladies of the Mind, the book follows the story of Zoe, an office administrator at a local church. She finds herself drawn into the eccentric lives of the mentally-damaged characters that she befriends and begins to investigate the death of her predecessor.
The novel examines many mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, obsessive compulsion, kleptomania, hypochondria, pedophilia, bipolar disorder and addiction.
“The novel centres on a suicide, but this is a book for anyone who likes to read about human nature and the functions of the brain and the body,” says Vaughan in a news release. “Despite some dark themes throughout the novel, the ending is uplifting and inspiring; providing a message on how to live life to the fullest despite its ups and downs.”
Vaughan’s novel takes place in Halifax, although the city is never mentioned, she says.
Maladies of the Mind is Vaughan’s second book. I’ll Buy You an Ox came out in 1997.
“My novel is a journey into the lives of the mentally challenged,” she says. “Every character in the novel is emotionally struggling. Even the main character ... comes to realize that she, herself, has psychological issues.”
Her motivation behind writing this book comes from her time working with the homeless who suffer from mental illness. She spent time working with a church and soup kitchen where she listened to the stories of the homeless.
“I wanted to document their pains and challenges of being homeless and mentally struggling.”
Vaughan says with this novel, she hopes to “incite conversations to help break the stigma and the discrimination of mental illness.”
The release date, Jan. 27., coincides with Bell Let’s Talk, an annual nationwide social media campaign designed to raise awareness and decrease the stigma surrounding mental health.
Canadian Institute of Health Research says one in five Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their life and the Canadian Mental Health Association reports that only one in five children who need mental health services receives them.
Last year, the campaign raised $6 million for Canadian mental health programs. Visitwww.bettyvaughan.com
for more information.