Title: Stop Surviving Start Fighting
Author: Jazz Thornton
Publisher: Penguin Books
Rating: 5/5
By: HAZEL REID

You may have already seen Jazz Thornton’s name across your online feed for one of her insightful interviews speaking about mental health or creating important video content via her organisation she co-founded, Voices of Hope. Now Jazz has put pen to paper and released Stop Surviving Start Fighting – a raw, honest and important book of stories and knowledge that I encourage everyone to pick up and read.

Being upfront, I know Jazz and have seen the important work that she does out in the community.
I knew part of her story (like many others do after her many speeches at events) so I wanted to review the book because mental health stigma is unfortunately still so strong and I felt it was important for as many people as possible to read about her experiences and be able to understand further to ultimately have open conversations. “It’s not weak to speak.”

You’ve likely seen the heartbreaking statistics and headlines around mental health and suicide, many people understand that this needs to change – as a society we need to do better. Stop Surviving Start Fighting is an insightful tool into the ordeals mental health can cause and that there is ways to come out the other end – life is a true rollercoaster at the best of times but there is that light at the end of the tunnel.

Jazz credits three main people that she had in her corner (Wayne, Libby and Esther) throughout for their continuous love and support even through the rough challenging times that saw Jazz going through many relapses of suicide attempts and pushing them away. It was also heartbreaking to hear how some medical professionals acted in this time and highlights that yes, our health system is under pressure however the people in those positions should surely be equipped to assist and not hinder – I’m also talking about the teachers and counsellors she mentioned. This book outlines the need for professionals to have better tools just as much as the people struggling.

Jazz says “For some of you reading this book, this process will be all too familiar; to others, it will be beyond comprehension. But either way, my story stands as proof that it is possible to break a cycle that is this damaged when you learn what engaging looks like and put it into action.” I’m hoping with people like Jazz sharing their honest point of views, that we as a country and community can pull together to make positive changes and steps so that the future doesn’t go the same way.

I am not going to sugarcoat it, this book is filled with raw stories and knowledge learnt from experiences – some which may be hard to read (and leave you feeling a little heartbroken for the trauma Jazz went through over her years of life, especially the young years). There are some tough truths and realities that she brings to light, some parts I could relate to (parents divorcing young and being bullied throughout schooling years) which makes this book crucial material.

I want to see this book in libraries around the nation, including schools – on schools reading lists they use in class and read by teenagers and adults alike. Now that I’ve finished it – I can admit it truly was a bit of a hard read because of the topics covered but that’s why it is so important – knowledge is power and the devastating stigma around ‘mental health’ needs to change (it is 2020 but we still have a long way to go).

I believe if we are able to take this valuable publication and go towards listening and trying to understand further (and even if we can’t fully comprehend, be an open ear) and create more of an open, less judgemental, positive environment, we can be on the up and up. If I haven’t said it enough already, this is a valuable tool that I encourage people to read – whether you’re in a challenging spot yourself, you are wanting to gain more knowledge or you know someone struggling – pick up a copy (digital for now!) and crack into it.

Stop Surviving Start Fighting is available now online in e-book and audio form (and to pre-order physical copies once the shops reopen after COVID19 closures) from the book publisher, Penguin’s website.

https://www.penguin.co.nz/books/stop-surviving-start-fighting-9780143774129

Who’s Hazel? From tour managing boybands to working massive events and interviewing international talent, Hazel is in love with the craziness that is the entertainment industry.

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