In our stressful modern world, mental health problems are increasingly common. Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, OCD… these conditions affect so many of us, from the richest celebrities to the Average Joe, yet mental illness is still surrounded by ignorance, prejudice and fear. Author and nurse Beda Higgins believes – perhaps surprisingly – that one of the best ways to promote greater public understanding of mental health issues is by telling stories.
Little Crackers, her new collection of short stories published on November 6, delivers a startling, original portrayal of individuals living on the edge. The stories challenge our perception of normal, and question how we care for the most vulnerable members of our society.
In the book we find, for example, a new mum struggling to bond with her baby; a student obsessed about flies spreading their killer germs; and a loving father battling his all-consuming fear of death.
The stories are often humorous, and always as entertaining as they are informative. Obsession, dementia, psychosis and even murder all feature in this quirky, surprising Tales of the Unexpected for the 21st century.
Beda says: “Little Crackers is inspired by my experiences as a nurse over the last thirty years. I came up with a world of strange characters – the paranoid, the isolated, the exploited and the wicked – to illuminate the everyday grief, poverty, neglect, fear and isolation that we all know exist and are common, but which are so often ignored.”
At 6pm on Thu 13 November, Beda will be launching Little Crackers at Blackwells, 141 Percy Street, Newcastle.