Pretend Friends A Story About Schizophrenia and Other Illnesses That Can Cause Hallucinations by Alice Hoyle


Pretend Friends A Story About Schizophrenia and Other Illnesses That Can Cause Hallucinations by Alice Hoyle

Little Bea has a pretend friend, so does Big Jay. Their pretend friends are very different and people react very differently to them. Little Bea has lots of fun adventures with her pretend friend Nye Nye. Big Jay's pretend friends don't make him happy, in fact they can make life quite hard for Big Jay. This full colour story book helps to explain in a child-friendly way what life is like for those who hear voices or have other hallucinations or delusions as a result of mental illness. Appropriate for children aged 4 and above, it describes why these auditory and visual hallucinations are very different to the enjoyable imaginary friends many children create, and explains some of the things that may help people like Big Jay.


As an adult living with schizophrenia, I love the idea of introducing young children to the concept of severe mental illnesses, to help them learn not to be afraid of adults living with one. Hopefully if children can learn about mental health at a young age, they will grow up into understanding adults, less likely to have stigmatising beliefs about mental illness. Katy Gray This excellent picture book explains to young children the differences in having a jolly play-like character that they know is not real and having to put up with pretend people who are equally not real but seem so to those who suffer from them. Aimed at children who have contact in their live with people suffering from schizophrenia or psychosis or other forms of serious mental illness... An unusual story about a serious problem not often explained to younger children and hence a most welcome addition to the literature. Healthy Books blog This is a charming little book that could help children whose parents or carers have mental health problems... What I really liked about the book was that it promoted a healthy and non-judgmental view about mental health for children to adopt... The illustrations by Lauren Reis are rich, colourful and beautiful and enhance this lovely book... so attractive and the subject is compelling to mental health professionals. -- Jo North, Psychotherapist BACP Children & Young People

About the Author

Alice Hoyle works as an Associate Advisory Teacher of Personal, Social, Health & Economic (PSHE) Education for the PSHE Association. Her experience of teaching about mental health made her aware of the lack of resources for younger children around serious mental illness. She wrote this book to support children to develop their understanding about mental health, to help increase empathy and reduce stigma and discrimination people with serious mental illness often face. As an active member of Rethink Mental Illness, Alice is donating her royalties from this book to help raise money and awareness for the work of the charity. Alice lives in Bath, UK with her husband, two daughters and a plethora of pretend friends including Elfie, Li-Li, Ariella and Micub. Lauren Reis has created illustrations for SANE Mental Health, OCD-UK, Anxiety UK, the Big Life group and has developed the illustrations on this book for Rethink. Lauren also promotes the work of charities through her business Tear Up The Plans and runs creative 'Workshops for Well-Being' for organisations, including MENCAP. Lauren has managed emetophobia and fully supports mental health in the work she does on a daily basis.

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Book Info


36 pages
Interest Age: From 4


Alice Hoyle
More books by Alice Hoyle


Publication date

21st February 2015



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