Young teacher John Chisholm is haunted by a past tragedy and, believing his wife no longer loves him, begins to experience a nervous breakdown. He is forcibly removed to Springwell, a harsh mental institution where he endures and witnesses abuse - some of this `in the name of treatment' - and makes new, eccentric friends. He is certified and detained indefinitely. Although suicidal at times, he is determined to survive and escape. John's wife Heather Chisholm, who has recently battled post-natal depression, is distraught. Left to care for their baby, she struggles to rally support from friends and family. Encountering John's hostility on visiting him, and horrified at the conditions in which he is hopelessly trapped, she finds herself vulnerable to Sam Newman, an overworked Mental Health Officer instrumental in John's detention. But he's not the only one with his eye on her...Can Heather resist not only Sam, but also Sarge Parker, the sadistic and ambitious Charge Nurse who targets John for abuse? Will John ever escape the harsh environment in which he has been imprisoned? Will his relationship with Heather survive? And can Jamie Macdonald, the new Medical Superintendent, really transform Springwell into a caring community? Mad Worlds is a novel set in an era when England still operated under harsh, stigmatising Victorian legislation in the field of mental health. Readers are invited to eavesdrop on realistic scenarios, both within and outside a mental asylum of the 1950s. With flashes of dark humour, this is a curious, sometimes terrifying tale suitable for fans of historical fiction and those who are interested in the issues of mental health, relationships and loss.
Born in St Andrews, Scotland, Bill Douglas was in his teens inspired by talks with a depressed aunt, to work in mental health. During the 1960s he worked in psychiatric social work in hospital and community settings. As a Polytechnic lecturer he did some mental health teaching. On retiring he trained as a counsellor, to work in a bereavement centre and an NHS locality counselling service. He resides in the Liverpool area, volunteers for Samaritans, draws support for writing from his wife Elisabeth and Formby Writers, and thirsts to write more historical fiction.