In her early thirties, Rachel suffered two major depressive episodes. These two episodes have become the defining events of her life. Since then, she has written about the condition, and her recovery, in books that have been read by tens of thousands of people.
Her memoir "Black Rainbow" was a Sunday Times bestseller in 2014, and her second book on wellbeing "Walking on Sunshine: 52 Small Steps to Happiness" is an international bestseller and has been published in the USA, Canada, Poland, Germany, Turkey and Croatia.
Rachel now speaks publicly about her experience of depression and recovery to help educate and break stigma. She is an official ambassador for Rethink Mental Illness, Young Minds, Sane and The Counselling Foundation, and her latest book " The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood " food was published in January 2017.
The rise in mental health related 999 calls & the need to rethink care provision.
Radio 4 Today:
"I'm not mentally unwell. I'm just unwell"
"Talking about mental illness helps – but we need money more than words"
THE HAPPY KITCHEN:
Good Mood Food
Over the past 5 years, Rachel Kelly and Alice Mackintosh developed recipes that put more than 140 nutritional studies into practice. They’ve helped Rachel to become more energised, less anxious, clearer thinking, more balanced and a better sleeper. Conversations between Rachel and Alice and experiments led to the book ‘The Happy Kitchen’. In it, Rachel shares in detail what she has learnt about eating for happiness. By harnessing the power of food to boost her mood, not just on melancholy days, Rachel has been able to manage her tendency to anxiety. Nutrition has become an important element in Rachel’s holistic approach to staying well.
How Words Healed Me – My JourneyThrough Depression
Black Rainbow is the powerful first-person account of Rachel Kelly’s struggle with clinical depression and how she managed to recover, in part, through harnessing the healing power of the written word. In 1997, Oxford graduate, working mother and Times journalist Rachel went from feeling mildly anxious to being completely unable to function within the space of just three days. After a short spell in a psychiatric hospital, she returned home to be cared for by her family. As someone who had always loved poetry, it became something for Rachel to cling onto – from repeating short mantras to learning and reciting entire poems. These words and verses became a positive force for change in her life. Black Rainbow offers a lifeline to anyone who wants to understand the experience of depression and is testament to the therapeutic value of the arts.
52 Small Steps to Happiness
Walking on Sunshine offers 52 tips, tools and positive ideas (one for each week of the year) to manage the pressures of everyday life. Rachel Kelly shares the strategies that have helped her stay calm and happy after overcoming two episodes of severe depression. Some of the steps relate to particular experiences and events, such as holidays, work and her children’s exams; others are useful at any time. Written in the confidential, conversational style of a good friend and illustrated by Daily Mail cartoonist Jonathan Pugh, Walking on Sunshine serves as a constant, supportive companion through the seasons.
"Thank you for so courageously sharing you story , black rainbow I have benefited enormously from your writing. I have suffered on an off with depression for over 20 years, I have read many books on the subject but nothing as helpful as yours. At a time of my life when I am fighting off familiar warning signs and looking at the prescription for my antidepressants, your words have given me great clarity and hope. Your book 'walking on sunshine has literally just been delivered! Many thanks for sharing your story."
"This no-holds-barred account of a totally debilitating depression suffered by a woman who apparently 'had it all' is a vital read for anyone who has experienced anxiety, the need to be perfect, to be all things to everyone, to live up to expectations real and imagined. I am awed by the courage it must have taken to write it, and the generosity of spirit involved. As someone who has experienced anxiety and depression, I found this book hugely informative in its physiological pointers, and hugely supportive in its central message (for me) that we all really must stop being so bloody hard on ourselves!"