English author and artist Hazel Butler has Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder I. Hazel’s life and experiences in her teens and early twenties were defined by her illness, which often had catastrophic and far-reaching consequences, leading to several suicide attempts. Due to a lack of understanding of mental illness it went undiagnosed until another near-fatal suicide attempt in 2010. Since then, Hazel has been campaigning to raise awareness of bipolar disorder and mental health issues.

In 2014, the author released her first novel, Chasing Azrael, a dark urban fantasy exploring suicide, depression, and bipolar disorder, in a manner that is more easily accessible and relatable than the text books and clinical descriptions of mental illness Hazel herself had to rely on when diagnosed. Roxy’s Reviews described the novel as “Dark, twisted and intense…brilliantly insane…” while Paranormal Books described it as “Eternally twisted and full of plots”. The book has received rave reviews from several other online book blogs, and charted in the top ten of several of Amazon’s bestseller charts, including Urban Fantasy.

In addition to the fictional representations of the darker aspects of the human mind, the artist is shooting a series of fine art fantasy photography to accompany her stories. Both the novel and photography series are aimed providing high quality fantasy, while helping raising awareness.

Now thirty, Hazel has launched a Kickstarter campaign to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, aimed at funding the editing and publication of the second novel, and three more photo shoots, which promise to be even more spectacular than the first. The response to this has been amazing, with the campaign video going viral overnight, gaining over 18,000 views in 24 hours.

“Death Becomes Me is a story of survival,” says Hazel. “It is a dark tale – the monsters in my world have teeth, and claws. They represent the most difficult aspects of this life and this world, yet they also represent the miraculous, the wondrous, the insane, and the insanely beautiful.”

This is a fantastic project, and a wonderful way to educate people, through brilliant stories and beautiful photography, about such serious subjects. The campaign is running until June 5th and it needs all the support it can get to ensure it is fully funded. There are some great rewards available for those who pledge to the campaign, including copies of the books, art prints of the stunning photography, and more. If you’re unable to show your support financially, sharing the campaign across your social media platforms and encouraging your friends and family to support it is also a great way to do your part for Mental Health Awareness Week!