Nov 8, 2013

Karen Tyrrell - Bailey Beats the Blah

Today I'd like to introduce you to an incredibly inspiring author. Karen Tyrrell, Australian and Author, has found her niche in writing by focusing on a cause close to her heart. Karen writes about mental illness; she's published two non-fiction books on the topic and is now releasing her picture book for children, Bailey Beats the BLAH, which deals with depression in children and strategies they can implement to deal with the condition. But it's not just for those touched by mental illness, Bailey could be an kid, after all, we all feel Blah some days!

I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of Bailey Beats the Blah and even got to participate in a mini pantomime of the story! Okay, it wasn't the leading role, but I think I was well cast as Fuzzy, Bailey's dog.

Enjoy Karen's interview:

Karen, through your writing, you're fast becoming well known as an advocate for mental health issues, a topic often whispered about and swept under the rug in our culture-- when did you first realise you were needed as a mental health champion?
I slipped into that role after my first shocking announcement of the title of my memoir, Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness. Word spread I spoke honestly about my experiences with mental illness and how I recovered. Community organizations requested I speak in public forums at hospitals, clubs, and groups and on radio and TV. Each time I spoke out I gained more confidence.

Were you met with any resistance from friends, family or the public when you decided to produce your memoir and guide on mental health? 
I received different reactions ranging from curiosity and stigma to warm support. Some family members were concerned I would reveal their personal details. I chose to concentrate on my personal experiences only. With Me and Him: A guide to Recovery I focussed on my husband’s secrets and the profound impact his revelations had on both of us. 

And which people have been your biggest supporters in this journey?
Support has come from a wide cross-section: my family, friends, neighbours, teachers, writers and mental health organisations … and from complete strangers across the world.

'Bailey Beats the BLAH' is a very unique idea for a children's picture book. Please share how the idea for this story formed.
I wanted to write a story about a boy who didn’t want to go to school, who experienced tummy aches, who believed he had no friends. As a teacher I came across many kids like this. I wanted the reader to become emotionally aware of what Bailey was going through, so he/ she will be able to reflect on his/her Blah feelings too. And how he could change.

And lastly, how can parents or teachers use this book to help fight stress, depression or other mental health issues with children? Are there strategies they can implement?
Bailey Beats the Blah can be used to initiate conversations on feelings, emotions, moods and simply how cope with ‘Blah’ days. Children can act out the story by downloading the puppets from my website. Teachers & parents can ask questions: how did Bailey overcome his Blah days. How can YOU change your day from Blah to ha-ha- ha? What can you do to keep yourself happy?
Bailey is aligned with Kids Matter program, part of the National Education curriculum and supported by counselling service, Kids Help Line. 
FREE children's activities and FREE teacher notes can be downloaded from 

Bailey Beats the BLAH is available from Amazon and

3rd Nov
4th Nov

Bailey Beats the Blah Book Giveaway
Help Stamp out the BLAH!
WIN:  Copies of Bailey Beats the Blah, a signed Bailey artwork by illustrator Aaron Pocock and a picture book assessment with chief editor at Book Cover CafĂ©. 
Leave a comment on any of the 16 hops on the Bailey Beats the Blah tour Nov 3rd -18th. The more comments you leave the MORE chances to WIN.
WINNERS announced on Nov 20th at www.
Me as Fuzzy.


  1. Thanks Charmaine for your incredible support for Bailey beats the Blah and mental health.
    I really LOVE your interview questions... you really made me think.
    I hope your readers will drop by and leave a comment to win a copy and the other beaut prizes!!
    ... Karen :)

  2. Oh this was a wonderful interview and having grown up with a parent with depression, I'm so glad to see a book addressed to children about the subject-- whether it be for themselves or understanding those around them. What a way to use your writing to inspire hope in others.

    Charmaine-- you're adorable ;)

    1. Thanks Julie for leaving a comment here to support Bailey Beats the Blah and mental health in kids.
      "Prevention is FAR better than CURE"
      Good luck in the giveaway ... Karen :)

  3. Hi, Karen. I enjoyed learning about your book. Sounds like it will be great in helping kids deal with the blahs.

    1. Thanks Susanne for dropping by. All kids have sad days and worry thoughts from time to time. Please check out my FREE teacher notes and Kids activities on my website

  4. Great interview! Bailey Beats the Blah sounds like such a fantastic book. It will no doubt help a lot of kids!

  5. Thanks Heather, Thrilled you liked our interview .
    I'm passionate about mental health. If only we can help prevent anxiety and depression in our kids.
    Please check out my 5 Star Reviews over on Goodreads .... including Charmaines.

  6. Another great interview Karen, I hope families and schools etc will use the book as a stepping stone for talking about mental health and helping to reduce he stigmat attached.

  7. Hi Stacey, Thrilled to see you popping up gain to support Bailey Beats the Blah .
    Thanks for understanding how Bailey can be used in families and schools.. Karen :)

  8. So amazing. I cannot even imagine dealing with such challenging experiences. Then again, I feel like I have my plate full, or overly full with the life we lead. I'm going to have to check out the book. =)

  9. Hi Crystal,
    Nice to meet you. When I was mentally ill and in treatment, My goal was to return to the family I loved and to return to teaching.
    Now my goal is to empower kids so they don't have to experience what I went through.
    Please check out Bailey Beats the Blah.
    Love to know what you think... Karen :)

  10. What a nice book to relate mental illness to's funny, this didn't seem to be an issue when I was a kid. Of course, it was around, but never addressed. I think the modern stressors of today really put a lot of children under too much pressure to achieve...when they fall short of "perfection," it's natural to get depressed.

    And make a nice fuzzy.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

  11. Hi ML, Thanks for your comments on modern days stress for kids. I agree. So much pressure to achieve PLUS parents feeling the stress and anxiety of our pressured life lifestyles. Bailey Beats the Blah addresses all that with the story plus the follow up resources on my website. Please download them for FREE ... Karen :)

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