When Lynn Keane’s 23 year-old son Daniel took his life, her life shattered. In this literary memoir the former journalist shares her quest to understand her son’s death and, in doing so, piercingly challenges how we perceive and stigmatize mental illness. This is a personal story with a universal message of change.
Widely praised by psychologists, parents and the mental health community alike, Give Sorrow Words interweaves memories of the last months of Daniel’s life with lyrical explorations of the author’s grieving process. Keane unflinchingly documents warning signs leading to Daniel’s death and questions the role family denial played in the tragedy. She recounts their fondest memories together, meditating on the power of familial bonds and the explosive effect when these connections are torn.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young Canadians: Lynn and Daniel’s is an all-too-common story. Give Sorrow Words asks pressing questions about how our society treats mental illness. What support is provided to young people living with mental health difficulties? Why is there still such stigma attached to the disease of depression, despite it being so prevalent? Using up-to-date research and interviews about adolescent depression, chronic health conditions and brain injury, Keane makes a compelling argument for additional support and treatment for those impacted by an often life-threatening illness.
Give Sorrow Words is a lyrical, empathic exploration of a family’s tragedy that further illuminates the urgent need to end the stigma associated with depression.
Praise for Give Sorrow Words
Reading your book was a journey for ALL of me. The parent, the husband, the depression sufferer, the son, EVERYTHING.
TSN Broadcaster and Host of Off The Record
Suicide represents a tragic and devastating outcome for many individuals with mental disorders, notably mood disorders. Lynn Keane’s book captures in a very personal, thoughtful, empathic and accessible manner the complex confluence of factors that portend this tragic outcome and the consequences to family and friends.
Roger S. McIntyre, M.D., FRCPC
Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology University of Toronto
Lynn Keane’s searing quest to understand the suicide of her 23-year-old son led her through the labyrinth of her own grief and then, to the latest research on brain injury and adolescent depression. Her conclusions shed welcome light on this darkest of all family tragedies.
Executive Producer, CBC The Sunday Edition
In Give Sorrow Words, Lynn Keane eloquently and poignantly details her journey to find answers, consolation and a legacy after her son unexpectedly commits suicide. While her story especially resonates with those of us who have lost a child, it will also increase awareness of a pervasive problem in our world, and provide strength, support and new ideas for those who have a child struggling with mental illness.
Frank van Nie
Past Board Chair, Canadian Mental Health Association/Peel Branch
The shock and the loss overwhelmed Lynn and her family. In Give Sorrow Words she tells us about the clues she and her husband didn’t understand while their son was alive. And step-by-step, she shows us how her family reconstructed their lives without Daniel. This isn’t a tabloid tale about neglectful parents abusing their child. Lynn and her family were like many North American families who are committed to loving one another despite predictable family tensions and struggles. For that reason alone, her touching and lyrical memoir is an important social document of our times. Lynn is us. Read what she has to say. We need to hear it.