Photograph by Jeffrey Lichtman
Linda Phillips is a leading champion of mental illness awareness and a vocal proponent for reform. She is also a wife, mother and new author. An RN by profession, she returned to school to major in Psychology because of her burning interest in the brain and how it functions. That fascination would grow over time and take on new meaning following the suicide death of her younger son, who suffered from mental illness.
“I read extensively about suicide and loss by those who had experiences similar to mine. But I could never find what I was looking for. My question was not “why?”; I knew that my son had died as a result of disease. I needed to know more about what was happening in that beautiful brain of his. I read textbooks on the brain and brain illnesses. I began to understand,” she said.
The years she spent with her son as he suffered, and the knowledge she accrued through reading and probing the minds of psychiatrists and therapists led to the creation of Nuçi’s Space, which along with a raw look at her own journey, is the true subject of her debut book, A Beautiful Here.
Linda has been honored by the Eli Lilly Drug Company and presented with their Welcome Back award for her work with mental illness in the community. She’s been a guest speaker at the Future Music Coalition in Washington, DC. In 2009, she was given the key to the city of Athens, Georgia by then-Mayor Heidi Davison.
“My time at Nuçi’s Space as mental health advocate was filled working with hundreds of sufferers and survivors and they continue to allow me that privilege today. As a mother, a nurse, a founder, I think I am uniquely positioned to write about suicide, loss, survival and a way to improve our mental health system.”
“Yes. I’ve been to nursing school. I’ve been to college. I’ve read many books and asked many questions. I’ve been a wife and a mother. I’ve travelled and had many life experiences. I’ve had many teachers. But my most profound experiences and my greatest learning have come through knowing my son, Nuçi. I choose to honor him by sharing our story.”