The Roaring Silence is a collection of articles, interviews, poetry, fiction, prose, and art on the sensitive subject matter of suicide. It is a book that aims to demystify suicide and inspire conversations about suicide prevention. It is a visually appealing book, with artwork and photographs that are thought-provoking, sometimes challenging, but always presented with care. All of the contributors to The Roaring Silence have experienced suicidal thoughts, or have survived a suicide attempt, or have lost a loved one to suicide. There are also people working in the mental health field. They have certainly been courageous in sharing their work in this book. It is wonderful to see the variety of expression on this subject matter, and I think the diversity of the pieces will resonate in different ways with readers. The interviews are particularly useful, but in many ways the poetry, fiction and art are equally as illuminating in showing what it is like to be affected by suicidal thoughts or to have lost a loved one to suicide.
Suicide is a subject that has been shrouded in shame and secrecy for too long. This book promotes sensitive discussion on the subject and shows how creative expression can be transformative and healing. And there are important messages in the book. Kristina Cavit stresses the importance of kindness, the section Sticks ‘n Stones looks at how students can stand up against online bullying. Another chapter with Manu Fotu talks about how suicide prevention is everyone’s business. There is information about who to call to get help. The poetry section of the book is elegant, thought-provoking, and insightful. The artwork in the book requires time to contemplate. I thought the image by Grant Alexander was particularly poignant. A chipped plate with the number ‘564’ represents the number of people who died of suicide in New Zealand last year. Then there are the longer fiction pieces, all of them thought-provoking in different ways.
I applaud the people who contributed to this book, and I’m sure this book will go on to inspire and assist people who may be struggling with anxiety or depression, and for families with someone who has committed suicide.