In 2019, I watched the David Harewood documentary ‘Pyschosis and Me’. I was incredibly moved by his honesty and bravery to share his experience with such a wide audience; it can not have been an easy thing to do. That prompted me to pick up the book ‘Maybe I Don’t Belong Here’, in which David shares his story in a little more detail, revealing how his experiences with his mental health struggles impacted him and the career he went on to forge in theatre, TV and film.
This book is stunning – and such an important read. This is not a simple actor’s memoir; this is an honest reflection of David Harewood’s experience, right from growing up in Birmingham with his family, together with the struggles they faced, sadly, as ‘outsiders’ in the community. David charts how his experiences could have influenced his struggles with his mental health as a young man, and the path he chose to follow when forging his career.
It may not be easy to accept that the UK is not the liberal place we all hope it is – and that there are people in our community who are forced to feel that they do not belong. Which is why we have to strive to make this country a better place. To hold people around us accountable for their actions, especially if we are not happy with those actions and if they harm those in our society.
‘Maybe I Don’t Belong’ may not always be a comfortable read, but it is an education. David Harewood has worn his heart on his sleeve as he shares this very personal story, and it is a story that we can all learn from – and one that I hope will remove that stigma about mental health and teach people to make everyone in this country welcome, without judgement.