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New Jersey Newspaper Employee’s Mental Illness Chronicle Strikes a Chord

AsburyParkPressLogoThere are certain assignments and topics that journalists cherish. For Asbury Park Press reporter Shannon Mullen, this week’s “Story Behind a Story” was surely one of those occasions.

Mullen’s article is about the response garnered by co-worker Kathy Maloney‘s very first piece for the paper. Published on May 11, “My Life With Joe” recounted the administrative assistant’s struggles with her late husband’s mental illness:

Since the story appeared, Maloney, an administrative assistant in the newspaper’s design studio, has been inundated with emails, notes and phone calls from as far away as Ireland, where she has relatives.

One of the emails came from a woman in Ireland who lost her son to suicide. “There are so many points in the article that I can relate to,” she wrote. “I think it is such a brave thing to share your experience, where I can’t approach it. I wish I could.”

Another woman called to share her own experiences with her brother, now a patient at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital. The two spoke for nearly an hour.

Maloney’s life with her husband was fine for the first 18 years, traumatic for the next eight. In her original piece, she wrote that based on her experience, she “completely lost faith in the way our mental health system cares for someone so ill.” Husband Joe eventually succumbed to cancer.

Gannet syndicated the May 11 piece to its other newspapers. The piece was also shared on a major Ireland website. To bookmark/read the APP article, click here.

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