With admission rates to mental hospitals on the rise, and ever wider sections of society facing mental health issues, Heavy Light comes at a fascinating and critical time. It is full of unexpected discovery and human story: many of the mental health workers we meet have radical and challenging agendas for the delivery and future of treatment. Not since Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind has there been such an insightful and revealing story about the causes, processes and care of psychosis. The book attacks the taboo surrounding sectioning and detention in hospital, reveals new and provocative philosophies and practices of treatment, and tells a moving human story of one writer’s experiences of the strangest reaches of the mind and the most searching thinking about its treatment.
“Horatio Clare, whose adventures in the Black Mountains, the Gulf of Bothnia, the Ethiopian Highlands, and the point in the Pacific Ocean furthest on earth from land, have made him one of the most brilliant travel writers of our day, takes us us now to that most challenging country, severe mental illness; and does so with such wit, warmth, and humanity, that, better acquainted with its terrors, we may better face our own.”
The Reverend Richard Coles
Published by Chatto and Windus, March 4th 2021, available to preorder
The story of how we experience, treat and regard madness is also the story of us and of our society. Heavy Light is a gripping account of breakdown, treatment and recovery, of fanstasy becoming a crisis, of involuntary detention in a secure mental hospital, treatment and release. Rich with incident, oral history, reportage and investigation, the book is a tribute to and record of the actions of family, friends, social services, police and mental health workers, an investigation into how brain processes change from normal functioning to mania, to psychosis and back to normality, and a journey into the philosophy and treatment of critical mental disorders, ranging from the pharmalocological to the radical post-psychiatry movement.