May Is Mental Health Awareness Month; Learning About Mental Illness Should Be a Priority for Everyone, Says Author Janice Holly Booth

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Knowing the signs and symptoms of severe mental illness can lead to early intervention, which can save lives. New book, “A Voice out of Nowhere,” chronicles one tragedy that could have been prevented.

A Voice out of Nowhere

No-one wants to believe their child could commit murder.

When Bruce Blackman slaughtered six members of his family, he didn’t do it out of rage or revenge. The 22-year-old had no history of violence but had been exhibiting bizarre behavior for several months before he shot and killed his mother, father, brother, two sisters and a brother-in-law. The bizarre behavior turned out to be an undiagnosed case of schizophrenia and Blackman’s delusions and hallucinations were strong enough to drive him to commit unspeakable violence. His true, tragic story is chronicled in a new book “A Voice out of Nowhere: Inside the mind of a mass murderer.”

“When you read his story, it becomes clear very quickly that Blackman’s family had no idea what they were dealing with,” says author Janice Holly Booth. “They knew he was having mental issues and that he was having hallucinations, but they didn’t take it upon themselves to learn more. Had they done so, they may very well have understood the gravity of their son’s condition and sought effective psychiatric intervention which could have ultimately saved their lives.”

Mental issues have been at the core of many recent mass killings, and Booth contends that all of us need to educate ourselves about the signs and symptoms of severe mental illness so that we can help those around us who might be succumbing to it, or to recognize that the problem is manifesting in our own brains. “There is an early stage of schizophrenia where the person who has it knows that the voices he hears aren’t real. The key is to get that person treated right then, before he begins to believe that his hallucinations and delusions are actual voices talking to him.” Booth’s book shows how the Blackman family had many opportunities to avert the tragedy but chose not to, because they lacked critical information about their son’s mental disorder. “No-one wants to believe their child could commit murder,” says Booth, “but knowing that their child could become violent might spur parents to action sooner. That is one of the upsides of mental health awareness and education.”

A Voice out of Nowhere is Amazon’s #1 best-seller in schizophrenia and is available in paperback and electronic formats.

ABOUT JANICE HOLLY BOOTH: Born in British Columbia, Janice Holly Booth is an avid solo traveler and lifelong equestrienne. She was a non-profit CEO for more than 20 years before becoming a full-time speaker and writer. Her first book, “Only Pack What You Can Carry,” was published by National Geographic and was an international best-seller in Travel. Her latest book, “A Voice out of Nowhere” was Amazon’s #1 best-seller in schizophrenia. Janice currently lives near Charlotte, NC.

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Janice Holly Booth
Janice Holly Booth
since: 01/2011
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