Young West Australian Author, Filmmaker and Actor Sita Bennett has created a novel called She who Rose from Ashes, an uplifting page-turner, as a tool for young people suffering from mental health concerns, particularly during lockdown.

Ms Bennett said that the parents of teens who are experiencing mental health concerns may be looking for many different solutions for their loved ones, including the important medical routes. “Right now, with a large part of our country in lockdown and under COVID restrictions, teens and young adults are deprived from the kind of contact with friends that are important for healthy development.

“There is a rising sense of isolation and separation, along with anxiety about the uncertainty of our future,” she said. “I have always written with the challenges of young adulthood in mind, but stories that leave us feeling a little lighter and more connected have become more valuable than ever.”

Ms Bennett, who is also a yoga teacher, wrote her empowering fantastical adventure novel, inspired by timeless wisdoms from ancient Eastern cultures, about a smart, sensitive and determined young woman on a quest for truth and freedom in an otherwise chaotic world. The book explores themes of tenacity, and the power and reward of pursuing a path of heart and truth. Relationships between characters are complex and reflect reality, and readers are also rewarded by following the travels of an outcast who has been isolated as a result of her dark past, who finds her tribe and sense of belonging.

“All of my work, as an author and filmmaker, centres around themes of self-discovery, transformation and healing, expressing to young adults and teens that its okay to admit fear and uncertainty, and that revealing vulnerability is a courageous choice, not a weakness,” Ms Bennett said.

Despite social media offering a sense of connection, it seems to do the very opposite at times, and ‘fear of being left out’ is leaving more of us physically and emotionally on the perimeter than ever before. Mental illness like depression and anxiety is becoming a serious concern. “When mental illness has reached an all-time high and teens often feel alone in their suffering, conscious-minded stories have the power to re-ignite a sense of magic, hope and connection.”

“Interestingly, much like the journey of this pandemic, the book also explores what happens when humans unite for the same purpose, as opposed to fighting for something alone,” Ms Bennett said. “This may bring some understanding and courage to teens in regards to any major world issue; that its weight is not something that can be carried alone.”

Ms Bennett said that, during a stressful issue, while we can’t direct our attention outwards as much as we would in normal circumstances, tuning inwards and cultivating a solid foundation of self-care, self-acceptance, inner-peace and inner-strength will contribute to our post-pandemic future in a way that “should not be understated.”

“When we know ourselves intimately, we can move through the world in a way that is both true to our hearts and in service to humanity as a whole, instead of pushing forth from a sense of pain, anger and confusion – which has been proven to only to lead to destruction. This is also something that Ember, the protagonist, learns throughout the novel.”

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