New Books Coming About Mental Illness, Suicide & Addiction, Plus A Hopeful Update By Advocate

(12-15-21) I like to encourage authors who have written books about mental illness so each year around the holidays, I ask readers to tell me on Facebook what books they have found useful. I also post information from authors who have contacted me. Because I have been on a book deadline of my own, I have not read these three new works by authors who reached out to me. I asked them to write a small paragraph about their forthcoming books and explain why they wrote them. I’ve also added an update about a previously published book. I wish all four luck!

Short Jam-Packed Life – My Son’s Suicide and My Heavenly Father’s Faithful Support

By Dale C. Wetenkamp

“A parent’s worst fear is their child will die before they do. I lived this worst fear and survived! My book is a father’s search for answers about my son’s suicide. Suicide is that ugly word that is rarely mentioned in polite society, maybe that’s one reason it has taken me more than twenty years to write this book. My book talks about suicide and attaches a face — my son Corey’s — to this ugly word. If this could happen to my son, it could possibly happen to your son.

Fortunately, I had my faith to carry me through and beyond the most difficult pain in my life. God was with me, carrying me, every step of the way! What I’ve written is a memoir of Corey’s 27-year-old life. I began this book as a letter to his son but it evolved into a memoir that includes my own coming of understanding and acceptance with God’s help. Read more here.


By Dr. Carl Erik Fisher

Carl Erik Fisher draws on his personal experiences as an addiction physician, researcher, and alcoholic in recovery to trace the history of addiction.

As a psychiatrist-in-training fresh from medical school, Fisher was soon face-to-face with his own addiction crisis. Desperate to make sense of his alcoholism that had plagued his family for generations, he turned to the history of addiction, learning that the current quagmire is only the latest iteration of the centuries-old struggle to define, treat, and control addictive behavior for most of recorded history. A rich, sweeping account that probes not only medicine and science but also literature, religion, philosophy, and public policy, The Urge is at once an eye-opening history of ideas, a riveting personal story of addiction and recovery, and a clinician’s urgent call for a more expansive, nuanced, and compassionate view of one of society’s most intractable challenges.

(Publishers Weekly gave Dr. Fisher’s book a starred review, which is highly coveted.)

“Fisher, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, makes a striking debut by skillfully combining a cultural history of addiction with his own story of recovery. . . . Along the way, he shares plenty of moving stories of the scientists, preachers, and patients on the front lines of addiction and movingly recounts his own struggle with alcohol and Adderall addiction while he was a physician in Columbia’s psychiatry residency program. . . . There’s as much history here as there is heart.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) For more information and to order a copy, go to

Unlawful DisOrder

By David Jackson Ambrose
“I wrote this as a fictional account based upon my experience working with people of color with a mental health diagnosis, who have first contact with the mental health system by way of the police and the prison system.  I added the component of how someone who is gay is traumatized when instead of treatment they endure the hyper masculine environment of the prison industrial complex.  That trauma is further exacerbated for individuals who are sexual abuse survivors.

Added to this, while anti-psychotics have done amazing things for many people, it has also had some unwanted effects.  The makers of Abilify have recently had a class action lawsuit related to increases in compulsive behaviors.  Unlawful DisOrder looks at how unwanted side effects from psych meds can increase encounters with the carceral state, sometimes to a dangerous degree.

Book cover still in the works for May publication.

David Jackson Ambrose has an MFA in Creative Writing from Temple University, an MA in Writing Studies from Saint Joseph’s University, and a BA in Africana Studies from The University of Pennsylvania. His debut novel, State of the Nation, was a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist in the Gay Fiction category. His second novel, A Blind Eye (NineStar Press) was named by Lambda Literary as one of April 2021’s most anticipated books.He has over twenty years’ experience working in the social services field with special needs populations with intellectual and developmental disabilities and behavioral health issues. For more information about the author visit his webpage. 

Also An Update About A Previously Published Book

Ben Behind His Voices : One Family’s Journey From The Chaos Of Schizophrenia To Hope 
By Randye Kaye

Although Kaye’s book was published ten years ago, she recently updated it by reporting on her website, stating “Ben’s recovery has gone from spectacular (considering his illness) – including full-time employment, a good credit rating and friends – to heartbreaking (loss of employment, reliance on marijuana, hospitalization). Such is the nature of the illness. A game of chutes and ladders. Here is the link to the most recent blogpost – and this one is more hopeful.  Also, I’ve teamed up with two other moms/authors/advocates to create a podcast called Schizophrenia: 3 Moms in the Trenches. We’ve done 31 episodes so far, and I hope you’ll find them helpful. You can listen wherever you get your podcasts, or view them on our YouTube Channel.Another starred review by Publishers Weekly:”This extremely affecting memoir is made more potent by author Randye Kaye’s background as a professional voice actor. Besides providing crisp, brisk narration, Kaye is exceptional at creating a sense of intimacy with listeners.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review (audiobook)

Buy the book here. 


About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.