Stepping Away From The Edge: The Road To Better Mental Health

This article is from 2015

Stepping Away From The Edge: The Road To Better Mental Health

Author Matt Haig

Author Matt Haig and writer-illustrator Debi Gliori discuss issues surrounding mental health

‘One in five people will have a major depressive episode in their life,’ says author Matt Haig, ‘so it’s really time for the stigma to be totally erased about depression.’ This stigma is one of the topics addressed in his non-fiction work Reasons To Stay Alive, a frank account of his experiences with depression and anxiety. ‘Compared to any other physical illness, depression comes with a judgement. It’s seen as a personality failing or a flaw.’

Mental health is an increasingly crucial concern in the UK, with male suicide rates higher than at anytime since 2001 and Britain having one of the highest self-harm rates in Europe. As part of the Book Festival’s Staying Well strand, Haig is joined by author and illustrator Debi Gliori, psychologist Rory O’Connor and writer-broadcaster Richard Holloway in the chair to consider the issues surrounding mental health including providing better support. ‘There's serious charity work to be done, serious research to be done but I think the single most important thing is talking about it,’ he says.

Haig is also delivering this year’s Siobhan Dowd Trust Memorial Lecture, which is held in honour of the late author who bequeathed her royalties to a trust which aims to bring the joy of reading to disadvantaged children and young adults.

Stories That Connect Us: Siobhan Dowd Trust Memorial Lecture, 16 Aug, 2.15pm, £7 (£5); Stepping Away From The Edge: The Road To Better Mental Health, 18 Aug, 7.30pm, £10 (£8). Both events at Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888.

Stepping Away from the Edge

Male suicide has increased significantly since 2007. UK self-harm statistics are the highest in Europe, and a quarter of the population will experience some kind of mental health problem. Join writer-illustrator Debi Gliori, who has illustrated a memoir of her own depression, author Matt Haig, whose book Reasons to Stay…