Firewalkers is an arts, media and social justice project that redefines “mental illness” as a journey of altered states, emotional turbulence, ecstatic visions, crazy blessings, and mad gifts. Through storytelling, photography, media engagement, book publishing, community art groups, trainings, and grassroots outreach, Firewalkers is changing the story of mental health.
Get involved by ordering the books, downloading group discussion resources below or inviting Firewalkers to speak in your community.
Fire Stories: Further Thoughts on Radically Rethinking Mental Illness
Twelve narratives that reveal the chaotic and often deeply spiritual experiences of those who have encountered states of mind often labeled as mental illness. These vivid accounts describe emotional turbulence, hidden blessings, mad gifts, ecstatic visions, altered states, spiritual breakthroughs and visionary meltdowns.
A follow-up to Firewalkers: Madness, Mystery and Beauty, Fire Stories explores our complicated relationship with reality and the various ways we attempt to resolve the brilliant colors of perception and imagination with a society that is often far more black and white.
Editors: Beth Gager, Yolande Long, Malaina Poore and Cynthia Power
Authors: Lara Abramov, Beth Gager, Khadijah Kysia, Seth Leornard, Paul Millenski, Jason Mintel, Kara Nichols, Malaina Poore, Christopher Reynolds, Paul Sohar, Jane St. Clair, Leticia Villarreal Sosa and Colleen Wells
Designed by Charmed Designworks
Firewalkers: Madness, Mystery and Beauty
A field guide to radically rethinking mental health, Firewalkers redefines mental illness as a journey of altered states, emotional turbulence, ecstatic visions, crazy blessings, and mad gifts. Winner of a Brimstone Award from the National Storytellers Network.
Through storytelling, photography, media engagement, book publishing, community art groups, trainings, and grassroots outreach, Firewalkers is changing the story of mental health.
Firewalkers chronicles the profound, turbulent, spiritual experience of living through a mental health crisis. What our society labels as “mental illness” can be a sacred quest that has the power to enrich us, reveal unknown strengths, and transform our lives.
Firewalkers Group Discussion Resources
Here are some examples of ways that people are using the Firewalkers and Fire Stories books in group discussions:
Firewalkers at Your Community, School, or Conference
Firewalkers speakers are available to facilitate workshops on telling your story and naming your own Firewalk and its gifts. We also can speak to groups and classes about the Firewalkers project. This is a wonderful offering for Psychology and Nursing students.
Our workshops are designed to shed light on the journeys and challenges and the ways each of us walk through fire. It has been presented at a variety of conferences with great success to change – not just minds and hearts – but also, lives. Contact Ann Benner at 804-343-1777 or ann /at/ vocalvirginia.org to learn more.
Firewalkers inspired this paper, presented to the APA by the International Beliefs and Values Institute, “Making Mental Health Beliefs and Values Explicit for Clients, Clinicians, Scholars, and Trainers.”
We were awarded the Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling by the National Storytelling Network in 2010.