Atlantic Books has signed The Natural Health Service by political journalist Isabel Hardman.
Editorial director Mike Harpley acquired world English rights from Andrew Gordon at David Higham Associates.
In 2016, Hardman’s mind, in her own words, "stopped working", as she fell prey to severe depression and anxiety. She took time off on long-term sick leave and despite occasional relapses has returned to work in much better health.
Hardman credits her recovery – along with more conventional treatment – to her passion for exercise, nature and the great outdoors from horse-riding to botany to running. In The Natural Health Service, she will draw on her own personal experience, interviews with mental illness sufferers and psychologists, and the latest research to examine what role wildlife and fresh air can play in helping anyone cope with mental illness, however severe and long-lasting.
Hardman is the assistant editor of the Spectator and presenter of Radio 4’s "Week in Westminster". She was named the youngest ever Political Journalist of the Year in 2015 and writes columns frequently for several national newspapers. Atlantic will publish her first book, Why We Get The Wrong Politicians, in September 2018.
Hardman said: "The past two years of serious mental health problems haven’t just opened my eyes to how brutal these illnesses are, but also to how much of a difference exercise and the great outdoors can make. I’m so excited about writing this book, not least because the research is forcing me out into the natural world even more, but also because I am meeting some fascinating people who have used the Natural Health Service to manage all manner of illnesses.
"I hope it will inspire people about the power that the world on their doorstep can have, and personally, it makes the rather dark days that I’ve struggled with seem less of a waste. I loved working with Atlantic on my first book and was so happy when they decided to take this new project on too."
Harpley said: "I can’t wait to publish this important book. A quick Google reveals that Isabel’s brave and candid attitude to mental health has been an inspiration to thousands of people – helping to raise awareness that mental illness can strike anyone, regardless of profession, intelligence, gender or talent. She is a sublime writer and communicator and as well as providing a frank and gripping account of how she recovered, this book will be an enlightening resource for any nature lover or sufferer of mental illness."
The Natural Health Service: What the Great Outdoors Can Do for Your Mind by Isabel Hardman will be published in hardback and eBook in January 2020.