Let’s begin at the logical starting point, and ask why.
Why should we address mental health themes at all, in our fiction?
The subject tends, after all, to be controversial, and often dark. And in truth, not every work of fiction does need to address mental health themes.
Yet, mental illness is a part of life.
It happens. It has a huge impact upon, not only sufferers but carers, and many others. It has an impact upon both individuals, and society in a wider sense. It needs to be addressed, and to ignore it is damaging, and potentially dangerous.
Fiction, whether it takes the form of a novel, novella, short story, screenplay, or any other type of story, is a powerful art form.
The need for characters, within our fiction, to reflect the true diversity of people that make up society – in terms of, for instance, race, religious beliefs, sexuality, and class background – is, increasingly, being recognised.
We all deserve to find characters, within the fiction we consume and enjoy, with whom we can identify, for a variety of reasons.
The fact is that, within real communities, people do struggle with mental health issues. If far fewer characters apparently deal with similar challenges, we need to examine why this is – and begin to rectify the situation, through our own stories.
I aim to address the subject of mental health in fiction in future posts, on this blog.
I continue to make slow but steady progress on revisions for my novel, Distorted Perceptions, and this novel does address mental health themes.