An Intense Focus on Mental Illness
Throughout the first part of the project, one of the primary issues that came up over and over again was mental illness and how, when untreated, it often negatively impacts every part of a person’s life. So, when I was approached by Ken Harrison about creating a book filled with stories of people who live with mental illness, I paid attention. I learned that Ken sat on the board of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, which is the nation’s top non-governmental funder of mental health research grants. I also learned that Ken and his family had been directly impacted by mental illness. Ken’s brother, Stewart, suffered from schizophrenia and took his own life several years ago.
After meeting face to face in New York, it became clear that we had a shared interest in creating a body of work that would serve to destigmatize people who live with mental illness and explore solutions to the challenges that they face. As of two weeks ago, we decided to move forward.
For the next year I will be immersed in the world of mental illness and mental health. This will not be strictly focused on the Southeast U.S. like my first book was. I’ll go wherever I need to go in order to find stories and solutions.
As for my plans to hike the Appalachian Trail, that’s still my intention, it’s simply been pushed back in order to make room in my life to focus on this new work.
So, stay tuned. I’ll post stories along the way, leading up to the release of the next book. Join me on instagram @thehiddensouth and sign up for important updates at the bottom of http://thehiddensouth.com