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While You Were Out

April 10, 2024

From award-winning journalist, Meg Kissinger, While You Were Out:  An Intimate Portrait of Mental Illness in an Era of Silence, is a searing memoir of a family in the 1960's besieged by mental illness and an incisive exploration of the systems that failed them. Powerful, candid and filled with surprising humor, While you were Out is the story of one family’s love and resilience in the face of great loss, Ms. Kissinger's powerful memoir was described by the New York Times as "the raw intimacy of her prose exemplifies the empathy our society so desperately needs”.


While you were Out begins as the personal story of one family's struggles, then opens outward as Kissinger details how childhood tragedy catalyzed a journalism career focused on exposing our country's flawed mental health care. Combining the intimacy of memoir with the rigor of investigative reporting, While You Were Out explores the consequences of shame, the havoc of botched public policy, and the hope offered by new treatment strategies. 


Meg Kissinger spent more than two decades traveling across the country writing about America’s mental health system for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, she has won dozens of accolades, including two George Polk Awards and the Robert F. Kennedy Award. Kissinger taught investigative reporting at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and is a trainer for the Dart Center on Journalism and Trauma.

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