We are happy to be on hand as the BJBE Sisterhood hosts a moderated conversation with author Meg Kissinger about her book While You Were Out: An Intimate Family Portrait of Mental Illness in an Era of Silence. Guest organizations will be at Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim with information on mental health support and resources. This event is in person and on Zoom, and is open to the public. Registration is required. Click here for more information and to reserve your spot.
More About the Book: From award-winning journalist Meg Kissinger, a searing memoir of a family besieged by mental illness, as well as an incisive exploration of the systems that failed them and a testament to the love that sustained them. Growing up in the 1960s in the suburbs of Chicago, Meg Kissinger's family seemed to live a charmed life. With eight kids and two loving parents, the Kissingers radiated a warm, boisterous energy. Whether they were spending summer days on the shores of Lake Michigan, barreling down the ski slopes, or navigating the trials of their Catholic school, the Kissingers always knew how to live large and play hard. But behind closed doors, a harsher reality was unfolding. A heavily-medicated mother hospitalized for anxiety and depression, a manic father prone to violence, and children in the throes of bipolar disorder and depression, two of whom would take their own lives. Through it all, the Kissingers faced the world with their signature dark humor and the unspoken family rule-never talk about it. While You Were Out begins as the personal story of one family's struggles, then opens outward as Kissinger details how childhood tragedy catalyzed a journalism career focused on exposing our country's flawed mental health care. Combining the intimacy of memoir with the rigor of investigative reporting, the book explores the consequences of shame, the havoc of botched public policy, and the hope offered by new treatment strategies. This is a story of one family's love and devotion in the face of relentless struggle. It is a book for anyone who cares about someone with mental illness. In other words, it is a book for everyone.
About the Author: Meg Kissinger spent more than two decades traveling across the country writing about America's mental health system for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, she has won dozens of accolades, including two George Polk Awards, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and two National Journalism Awards. Kissinger teaches investigative reporting at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and was a visiting professor at DePauw University, her alma mater. Her stories on the abysmal living conditions for people with mental illness inspired changes to state law and led to the creation of hundreds of new housing units. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband.
From award-winning journalist Meg Kissinger, a searing memoir of a family besieged by mental illness, as well as an incisive exploration of the systems that failed them and a testament to the love that sustained them.