Book launch: 'Life After Care'

19/09/2017

Life After Care to be launched by Trigger Press on 2 October


The Revd Mark Edwards and (below) his autobiographical book

Mental health and the issues surrounding those who struggle with it are frequently featured in the media, particularly with celebrities and the young Royals coming out and talking about their own mental health challenges. In our own Diocese, we recently ran a workshop for clergy and lay ministers on developing mental resilience to working under pressure.

Life After Care is an inspiring autobiographical book about one of the ministers in our Diocese and his lifelong struggles with mental illness. The Revd Mark Edwards writes with profound honesty about his journey with anxiety, panic attacks and depression, and reveals the enduring impact his childhood had on his mental health.

His diary entries from the 1980s bring to life his thoughts and feelings as a teenager, struggling to understand how he came to be placed in care, and how to deal with his adolescent feelings of loss and love. On the verge of breakdown, Mark tried to take his own life and he was sectioned under the mental health act. The book follows his journey from local authority care to the wards of a crumbling Chester Victorian psychiatric asylum, and beyond into life on the streets. This is a heartfelt, true story of how a troubled young man managed to turn his life around. From being imprisoned in the care system and mislabelled as a violent boy with no hope, he became a successful, happily married family man, ordained in the Church of England and a prominent figure in his local community.

In conversation with the Link editors, Mark said, ‘I have been described by many over the years as a walking miracle to be doing what I am doing today, considering my background. I was a special needs child and written off by the educational system, social services, the NHS and even the armed forces. I was considered a hopeless cause who would either spend his time in and out of prison and mental institutions, or eventually commit suicide.

‘My journey to ordination was not easy: I had to fight against prejudice even within the Church. I would be the first to admit that for many years I carried a huge working class chip on my shoulder and was content to play the victim. It has been a tough journey, and I still wrestle with my mental health issues, but through my faith, my marriage and my service to the community I am able to give something back rather than be a victim.

‘I wanted to publish the diaries as a way of helping to remove the stigma surrounding mental health problems. I want to show that mental health difficulties are not a barrier to living a good, wholesome and positive life, and that it is possible to move beyond being a victim to being a victor.’

Life After Care forms part of the Trigger Press Inspirational Series, which features authors who have overcome their difficulties to make a positive contribution to society. The series promotes the idea that mental health should be talked about freely and without fear. The book is available from Amazon and all good book shops.

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