Starting conversations on mental health
By Nate Smelle
Published Nov. 9, 2017
Updated Nov. 12, 2017 (to change date of book signing to Friday, Nov. 17)
For six years, local author Danielle Foisy stood by her husband and supported him as he suffered from an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness. Wanting to find the best way to help him, she began seeking out resources for people in a similar situation. Recognizing that most of the resources she found were focused on the person with the mental illness, Foisy decided to write her first book, The Other Side of the Struggle, written from a Christian perspective.
By sharing her own experiences of trying to help her husband in his personal battle, the author draws attention to the fact that when someone struggles with mental illness it affects the people in their life.
“Because there are not a lot of resources for people coping with a loved one’s mental illness, many people don’t know how to navigate it,” she said.
“You end up getting advice from the people you are talking to, and sometimes it’s not great advice. Sometimes you just feel really lost with how you are supposed to react to it, and find the right boundaries to take care of yourself in the situation while still being supportive to the person that is struggling.”
The Other Side of the Struggle also deals with the fact that mental illness is not something people tend to talk about openly.
Since the book was released, Foisy said she has been surprised by how many people have come forward to share their own struggle with mental illness.
This type of dialogue was exactly what she hoped to cultivate through publishing the book. Foisy believes there is no reason mental illness should be considered a taboo.
“Mental illness has a stigma in today’s society, and even more so in the church,” she said.
“What my goal is with the book, is to really just start the conversation about mental illness in all areas – in the church and in our culture. As much as it is that we are trying to advocate for it, it still is a really stigmatized topic. We need to start talking about it, and to change the way we look at mental illness.”
Foisy hopes her readers will come away from reading The Other Side of the Struggle with a new perspective on mental illness. She said by writing the book she also wanted to provide people with tangible coping skills and lessons that she has learned from supporting her husband throughout his struggle.
To stress the importance and need to talk about mental illness, Foisy is planning to embark on a speaking tour. Every speaking event, she said is an opportunity to engage with people and move the conversation forward. This is where the healing begins, said Foisy.
“You suffer in silence if you are not able to communicate about it. You become stuck in it, the more secluded and isolated you are in it. I think we are starting to get that we can’t just not talk about it anymore, and that’s exciting to see. But, I think we still have a long way to go for people to be open about sharing their struggles.”
On Friday, Nov. 17, Foisy is hosting a launch party for her book, The Other Side of the Struggle at the Haliburton library branch from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. For more information on Danielle Foisy and The Other Side of the Struggle visit www.daniellefoisy.com.