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A 32-year-old man diagnosed with mental illness puts an end to his life. Questions spring to mind. Could he have been saved? What health services did he get? Were they sufficient? Helpful? Empathetic? What led to the tragedy? How can it be avoided in the future? Is our mental health system up to modern challenges? Why is it taboo to talk about psychosis, schizophrenia, and suicide? Have antipsychotics developed over the past 70 years helped? Or are they just another straitjacket to keep the mentally ill out of the way? Ferid Ferkovic, the author’s son, committed suicide a few days after being refused admission to the psychiatric ward of a Montreal hospital. From the very first symptoms until his tragic end, Ferid and his family dealt with vague and changing diagnoses, antipsychotics with devastating side effects, insensitive and non-empathetic health care professionals, and a shocking lack of information about external resources. They quickly learned that their opinions and ideas were simply unwelcome. For Sadia Messaili, the suicide of her son, who immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of 12, is the starting point in this moving and challenging quest for truth about our failing mental-health system, justice, and above all better ways to rekindle hope for people suffering mental illness and for their families. “Ferid’s death was not the end,” says Sadia Messaili. “He has fought through me, and the fight is not over!”
About the Author
Aleshia Jensen is a French-to-English translator and former bookseller. Her translations include Explosions by Mathieu Poulin, which was a finalist for Canada' 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for translation, Prague by Maude Veilleux, co-translated with Aimee Wall, as well as graphic novels by Julie Delporte, Catherine Ocelot, Axelle Lenoir, and Max de Radiguès. Sadia Messaili was born in Morocco and is a primary school teacher and special needs educator in Montreal. She describes her personal journey as that of “a good immigrant wherever she has lived: Algeria, Croatia, Austria and finally, Montreal, Quebec.” Her first book about forced migratory wandering is titled, La route de la dignité.
“[Messaili] describes an environment that is coercive, punitive, and shaped to cater to doctors’ egos rather than patients’ needs. Instead of being listened to, Ferid [Messaili’s son] is drugged into submission… those who have tried to navigate the labyrinthine and under-resourced mental health system will find validation in [her] words.” —Anne Thériault, Quill & Quire
"This is an important book for those that are on both sides of the mental health equation. It shows what a grieving parent goes through (“We grieve twice” she tells us) as they come up against a system that just does not work." —James Fisher, The Miramichi Reader
"Messaili details how her son’s needs went unmet by Montreal’s mental-health establishment… [her] prose is clear and direct… Still Crying for Help raises an urgent voice in the ongoing debate about life, death, and mental health." —Shawn Syms, Subterrain