Mental Illness: The Silent Pandemic is a memoir with a purpose. In this deeply personal and politically motivated account of life in the American South, Dianne Lackey Benedict discusses coming of age in the Bible Belt at a time of heightened racial unrest and unabashed gender inequity. With urgency and candor, Benedict suggests that we are ignoring the most critical issue we are facing today – mental illness.
Based on her personal experience, she resists the stigmatization of mental illness and urges the reader to take responsibility not just for the emotional challenges they are aware of, but for the emotional challenges they unknowingly face. Not until a person assumes this responsibility for themselves can they change, and consequently reverse destructive behaviors in future generations.
According to Benedict, consistently protecting and nurturing the mind with professional guidance and input is not just supplemental, but a fundamental tool to heal ourselves, our children, and our nation. As a solution, she presents a strong case for “making time” to care for and protect one’s mind – especially now, in a chaotic and dangerous world. She makes it clear that no one is exempt, regardless of age or status. In fact, she stresses the concept that how one’s time is invested can often mean the difference between a sound healthy mind or mental distress.