My guest blogger today is Matt Dickinson, author of the brand new teen/ YA thriller Lie Kill Walk Away
THE VOID LEFT BEHIND WHEN A MOTHER RUNS AWAY
We get horribly used to stories of young people running away from home. Statistics estimate that half of all missing people are aged between fifteen and twenty-one; many of them on the run from care homes or long-term institutions in which they have failed to settle. Out on the streets they become vulnerable to predators, and often spiral into damaging behaviours which may adversely effect their lives.
Yes, of the 300,000 ‘missing person’ calls made each year to the police, a small percentage are telling a very different story.
Mothers who run away from home.
This was one of the subjects that I researched during the writing period on my new book Lie Kill Walk Away.
In the story, one of the protagonists faces a terrible situation. Rebecca’s mother ran away from home when she was a young girl. The result is emotional trauma and psychological scars which never seem to heal.
She feels paralysed by guilt and has to leave the school she is at to be home tutored.
So how common is the situation? And why do some mothers reach a point where they have to walk away, sometimes permanently, from their children?
Up to eighty percent of people that run away from home are suffering from mental health problems.
“Particularly for people with depression, they might feel that there’s no hope, and just need time away,” says Dr Karen Shalev Greene, director of the Centre for the Study of Missing Persons at the University of Portsmouth.
Her experience is that people suffering from depression often struggle to open up about their feelings to the loved ones around them.
“They might be what we call functionally depressed. The image is that they’re fine but they’re crumbling inside, and at some point they just can’t hide it any more, so they’ll just leave.”
Searching for a lost mother in Lie Kill Walk Away
My character Rebecca reaches a point where she has to try and find her mother. Too many dramatic things are happening in her life and this teenage girl needs help. She goes on a detective trail to try and track her down, discovering truths along the way which are painful and hard.
Is this an unusual scenario? Not really. The Child Support Agency estimates there are 55,000 women in the UK who have left the family home. Often their children will try to find them, only to discover, often, that their mother does not want to be found.
I was amazed at the statistics, but that is often the case when one is researching a book. Truth is sometimes just as shocking as fiction.
Matt Dickinson’s new book Lie Kill Walk Away is published 6th October