A family’s battle to prevent their son from being sectioned is the subject of a debut book by a North Devon author.

Two decades ago Maggie and Mick Durkin went to collect their son Ben from university for summer break and found him in ‘a collapsed state’.

Ben, then 23, suffered from psychosis, but Maggie, now 72, determined to nurse him at home using techniques she had been taught by a skilled listening therapist.

Her first book, Illth, tells the story of the family’s fight to get Ben well and keep him out of an institution.

She will be making a presentation and there will be the opportunity to buy the book, at Holy Trinity Church in Westward Ho! this Saturday, October 20 from 10am.

Maggie said: “It took several years battling with the mental health system to keep him off the most toxic drugs and help him recover.

“He now gives talks in seminars for trainee doctors and mental health professional across Devon, under the direction of a group known as the Bridge Collective CIC.”

In the book, Maggie describes from her perspective the journey that Ben and his family have been taking in that spirit.

There are also many of Ben’s own words in the book, which give a flavour of his amazing creativity, thoughtfulness and originality.

Maggie is donating all proceeds from the book to The Bridge Collective CIC.

The book launch had to be cancelled earlier this year after Mick suddenly passed away, but Maggie has since presented it at Westward Ho! Baptist Church, where it was well received.

She added: “This is a cause I feel very passionately about, that families should be given more assistance and support when a loved one is suffering mental anguish and I have written this book for them.”

In his forward to the book, Andrew Barkla of Bridge Collective, writes: ‘In telling her family’s story, Maggie also touches thought-provokingly on a wide range of issues to do with how we as a society think about and approach experiences, feelings, and beliefs that have sometimes been labelled as ‘mental illness’ and the people who have been labelled in that way.

‘I hope this book will give insight and inspiration to anyone who finds themselves travelling through this territory’.

Illth is available from Walter Henry’s Bookshop in Bideford or by emailing Maggie at maggie.durkin@outlook.com .