2013-10-03 / News

Islanders release book about suicidal family member

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated one in 10 adult Americans report depression. Mental-health issues such as clinical depression are considered the epidemic of the 21st century. With huge investments in research, treatment and intervention, the country still hasn’t hit on a strategy for solving the problem. Add social media into the mix, and the whole situation may burst into flames.

Jamestown residents John, Darla and Maggie Barber are turning their darkest moments into hope for others with their new book, “Becoming the Blues: A Family Memoir.” It’s a true story with contemporary refrains that tug at heartstrings with forthright honesty. In a charming seaside town, Josh Barber, a little boy with a flair for adventure and awards, took success as his birthright. After all, he had pulled the biggest fish out of the lake at age 5 and skated to acclaim in ice hockey soon after. An intense and charismatic youth, Josh brought complete passion to everything he did. When he traded in hockey pucks for guitar picks, another field of dreams opened wide in front of him. His gifts for writing lyrics, meeting blues legends and performing scorching sets brought him distinction throughout Rhode Island. Then a perfect storm of disappointment, social media and despair plunged Josh and his family into nightmarish cycles of mental-health treatments and recoveries. In “Becoming the Blues,” Josh’s parents and sister follow him through both heartbreaking and heartwarming times to bring hope and healing to others.

The Barbers are first-time authors living in Rhode Island. Their nonprofit group, We All Move On, raises funds for transition services for mental-health patients. Books are available at Baker’s Pharmacy and Jamestown Design. They are also available online.

The book launch will take place at the third annual benefit concert sponsored by We All Move On. The show will take place on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Narragansett Café. Headliners include Josh’s original band, Smokestack Lightnin, with special guests including Tom Ferraro of Super Chief and Dave Howard and Neil Vitullo of the Vipers. Admission is free, and donations will be accepted.

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