On her blog last year, Laurie Jenkins interviewed the main character in my Street Stories series, Jo Sullivan. Yesterday, she did a followup interview and talked a bit about the new novel, Bend Me, Shape Me, and about how life has changed for the characters since Painted Black was released.
Here’s one of Jo’s answers. Click through to read the whole interview.
Mental health issues are a huge problem on the streets. In my opinion, it’s an even more common denominator than addiction and alcoholism. Sometimes the reason people start drinking and doing drugs is because they are trying to cope with a mental illness. That doesn’t mean they deserve less respect or should be feared or shunned. I find the rule you should apply to everyone, homeless or not homeless, mentally healthy or no, is treat people with respect. Nine times out of ten they will do the same with you.
In Snow’s story, her disability became a road block to anyone believing her when she tried to tell us about the psychiatrist treating her brother Alley. Her history of histrionics and her manic way of responding to the stressors in her life made her very real fears sound like mad ravings. Once she felt heard and trusted, we were able to sort through the melodrama to get at the truth of what was really happening.