A true story:
I met a young man out with a group of his friends on Saturday. He was leading from the front as they walked on a public footpath enjoying the sunshine. Like many herds of young teenagers, who had ventured recently into adolescence, they were chatty and loud. I heard them before I saw them. Swear words rang out. “F***’, ‘F***ing ni****s*. It was a bit shocking to hear such appalling racism but as I turned in anticipation of giving the culprit a slice of condemnation, I witnessed the anguish on the face of the youngster who had uttered those words. His head shot back, his whole body stiffened and more expletives burst from his lips as he tensed.’F***, give us a blow job!’ he bellowed at me and crumpled in exhaustion.
He immediately apologised as did his friends.
What excellent friends they were. What a tortured lad, bravely trying to be as normal as he could.
I looked him in the eye and reassured him. ‘No problem young man. I completely understand.’ He thanked me, relief evident in his eyes and his friends all smiled. As they walked away I heard one say, ‘I wish everyone understood like that.’
I haven’t stopped thinking about him since. What will his future hold? Who is helping him?
It’s #Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. How many of us understand Tourettes? How many of us recognise it when we see it? How many times has that young person been misunderstood?
Maybe we have become desensitised to the facts and figures? Or simply do not really comprehend what the fuss is all about?
Where does fiction fit in?:
Having worked at the front line of mental health services in this country for several decades, I now write crime thrillers. Within the pages of those books are observations, evidence and thought provoking storylines relating to a variety of aspects of mental health. I don’t evangelise. I try to provoke consideration and understanding.
#Stench, as an integral part of the story, takes the reader on a journey of relapse into psychosis. If you like a psychological thriller to read …
‘It is a side to the Mental Health Service that we are aware of, the under-funding, the out of hours service and general inadequacies. Now I do mention this as it plays a part in the story, but the author has got the balance spot on for me, incorporating a problem into a story without going over the top and coming across as preaching.’ Me and My Books – book review.
‘Stench is a brilliant read. It left me feeling shaken and unnerved. Within the thriller genre it fits into a niche of its own, not just because of the authority behind the writing but the brutal honesty in which mental health is dealt with. Actions have consequences and those consequences can have a lasting effect. AB Morgan weaves this into her story with great skill. The twist and turns are balanced perfectly and I never saw them coming!’ Books Are My Cwtches – book review