Ex-Columbus author, speaker Tony Roberts has new book on mental illness

Author and Columbus native Tony Roberts holds copies of his past two books.

Photo provided

Author and speaker Tony Roberts, formerly of Columbus, has publicly crusaded for more than a decade now for acceptance and understanding of mental illness. He knows whereof he speaks.

Roberts himself has struggled for about 30 years years with biploar disorder, a condition in which sufferers experience elevated or agitated moods known as mania, alternating with episodes of depression. Partly because of his previous 20-year career as a Presbyterian pastor, much of his mission has been one to educate the Christian community about mental health.

“It is through stories, not policies or programs, that we ultimately gain understanding and acceptance,” Roberts said.

His latest book, “Hope For Troubled Minds: Tributes to Those with Brain Illnesses and Their Loved Ones,” serves as the most recent example that he can provide.

The New York state resident will be speaking at a variety of local sites next week to highlight the work.

The publication is a trove of tributes and letters, collected to celebrate the lives, legacy, and strength of those who lead brave lives in the face of brain disorders and mental illness. Roberts says these are testimonies and shout-outs to loved ones who have supported us, or we have supported, through some of the most testing lifelong trials that come with having these kinds of health conditions.

Columbus residents Jen Riddle, Eric Riddle, Debbie Teike, and David Teike all contributed letters for the book.

“Throughout this anthology, you will hear from parents, children, spouses, siblings and friends who have been inspired to share their hope for a fulfilling life, in spite of their ailments. Each letter featured in the book has been carefully prepared to send a message of resilience in the midst of suffering, and hope in the midst of hardship,” according to a news release.

Most of all, these stories thematically resound the idea that we are here for one another, and never alone.

“It is impossible to read this collection without a moist eye, an overwhelming anger at the cruelty of brain diseases, exasperation at society’s failure to help, and a deep admiration for the undaunted spirit of those who speak out and advocate for their fellow travelers on such a difficult path,” said Pete Earley, author of “Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness,” a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize.

All net proceeds from the sale of the book will be evenly distributed to three mental health causes: the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Treatment Advocacy Center, and Roberts’ Delight in Disorder Ministries.

Roberts’ first book, published 10 years ago, was titled “Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission.” That was followed by “When Despair Meets Delight: Stories to Cultivate Hope for Those with Mental Illness.”

Book signings

Author Tony Roberts’ speaking sites and book signings locally are as follows:

• 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday: Bartholomew County Public Library, 536 Fifth St., Columbus.

• 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday: Mill Race Center, 900 Lindsey St., Columbus.

• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 20: Viewpoint Books, 548 Washington St., Columbus.

10:30 to 11:30 a.m. April 21: First Presbyterian Church, 512 Seventh St., Columbus.

Books will be available for purchase and signing at each event.