Most of the books on this list are written for, by or about suicide attempt survivors. This creators of this website do not endorse any of the books below, but rather provide them as resources that some attempt survivors may find useful in their recovery
Recommended Books for Suicide Attempt Survivors
Children of Jonah: Personal Stories by Survivors of Suicide Attempts; Clemons, James T.; Capital Books; 2001.
This book was written by James Clemons, a Methodist minister who tells the stories of several individuals who survived a suicide attempt.
Choosing to Live: How to Defeat Suicide Through Cognitive Therapy ; Ellis, Thomas & Newman, Corey; New Harbinger; 1996.
This workbook, written by two psychologists contains exercises suggesting practical skills to help those who are struggling with thoughts of suicide using a cognitive approach to change suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Conquering the Beast Within; How I Fought Depression and Won… Irwin, Cait; Times Books; 1998.
Readable book capturing the author’s journey through depression and recovery starting at age 13 in graphic cartoons and writings.
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Biopolar Disorder; Van Dijk, Sheri; Raincoast Books; 2009.
Day to day tools for coping with manic depression.
Eight Stories Up: An Adolescent Chooses Hope Over Suicide: Levine, DeQuincy. Oxford University Press; 2008.
As a teenager, DeQuincy Lezine nearly ended his own life, believing it was the only way to escape the emotional pain that was overwhelming him. Instead, Lezine was able to find expert psychiatric care, and went on to found the first university campus-based chapter of the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA.
Hello Cruel World; 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws; Bornstein, Kate; Seven Stories Press: 2006
This is an inspirational book written by an attempt survivor about self-acceptance and transcending rules, gender, and societal norms.
How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me; Blaumer, Susan Rose; Harper Collins; 2002.
After surviving 18 years of suicidal thoughts and multiple attempts, and having been diagnosed with PTSD, depression, and borderline personality, this woman chronicles the tools that she used in the beginning of her recovery and the ones she still uses today to find happiness and peace of mind again.
Night Falls Fast, Understanding Suicide; Jamison, Kay Redfield; Alfred A. Knopf; 1999.
A personal account of suicide by a prominent professor of psychiatry at John Hopkins University who has struggled with bipolar disorder and her own suicide attempt.
The Noonday Demon; Solomon, Andrew; Touchstone; 2001.
Secrets of Suicide; Tullis Ken M.D.; AuthorHouse; 2007.
A follow-up to Seduction of Suicide, this book explores how traumatic events can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions.
Seduction of Suicide; Taylor, Kevin M.D.; 1st Books Library; 2002.
Written by an award-winning psychiatrist who himself has attempted suicide, this book presents suicidal thoughts and behaviors as an addiction.
Step Back from the Exit: 45 Reasons to Say No to Suicide; Arena, Jillayne; Zebulon Press; 1995.
Written by a woman who struggled with her own suicidal thoughts and attempts, this book presents 45 practical “reasons to live.”
Struck By Living; Hersh, Julie; Brown Books; 2010.
An honest and hopeful look at clinical depression punctuated by suicide attempts and a recovery path including electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT. This debut non-fiction narrative by Julie Hersh traces her search for identity through her career, interfaith marriage, motherhood and clinical depression.
Her book details her recovery from suicide attempt. She writes a blog for Psychology Today about recovery and stigma.
Suicide: The Forever Decision; Quinett, Paul G., The Crossroad Publishing Company; 2004.
This book is written by a caring psychologist written as if the reader were his personal client in his psychotherapy office, having a one-on-one conversation about suicidal thoughts and emotional pain.
Suicide Why: 85 Questions and Answers About Suicide; Wrobleski, Adina; Afterwords; 1994.
Undoing Depression; What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You; Richard O’Connor; 2010
The author writes from the perspective of having experienced anxiety and depression personally and being a psychologist treating depression. He also survived the suicide of his mother. His book focuses on a holistic approach for recovery with an emphasis on skills (but as a shorter version than David Burn’s classic Feeling Good).
An Unquiet Mind; Jamison, Kay Redfield; Vintage Books; 1995.
A personal account of examining manic-depression from the perspective of “the healer and the healed” by a prominent professor of psychiatry at John Hopkins University who has struggled with bipolar disorder.
Waking Up Alive; Heckler, Richard. Ballantine Books; 1996.
The author interviewed 50 suicide attempt survivors and through a representative selection of stories describes their common experiences of loss and subsequent pain. They talk about the steps they took after the attempt on their path toward healing.
Waking Up: Climbing Through the Darkness; Wise, Terry, L. Pathfinder Publishing; 2003.
The writer focuses on her therapy sessions (and progress!) over several years as she struggled with grief, self-destructive substance use, and a serious suicide attempt and how she grew in identifying her emotions and sharing them with other people, particularly around childhood abuse.