Books About Suicide: Informative Resources for Understanding and Prevention

The topic of suicide is undoubtedly a sensitive and complex issue that has affected countless lives throughout history. As society continues to evolve in its understanding and empathy towards such challenges, literature has played a significant role in facilitating dialogue and raising awareness. Books about suicide encompass a variety of themes including memoirs of survivors, analyses of the psychological aspects, and insightful fiction that provides deeper looks into the inner turmoil experienced by individuals grappling with suicidal thoughts.

Through the exploration of these works, readers can gain insights into the different perspectives surrounding suicide while also fostering vital conversations about mental health and the importance of providing support for those in need. Furthermore, these books can serve as helpful resources for those directly affected by suicide or professionals working in counseling and mental health services, as they shed light on various coping mechanisms, therapeutic approaches, and shared experiences.

In this article, we will delve into a selection of notable books that tackle the subject of suicide in diverse and thought-provoking ways. By examining these works, we hope to contribute to the ongoing conversation about this challenging topic and encourage a greater understanding of the issues faced by individuals, families, and communities touched by suicide.

Understanding Suicide

Suicide is a tragic and complex public health issue that affects individuals, families, and communities worldwide. It often stems from a combination of factors, including mental health issues, life stressors, and a lack of coping skills. Understanding the intricacies of suicide and its contributing factors is crucial to addressing the issue and helping those who may be at risk.

Mental health plays a significant role in suicide risk, with mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia commonly linked to suicidal thoughts and actions. These mental health conditions can make it difficult for a person to manage their emotions, maintain healthy relationships, and problem-solve effectively. It is essential to recognize the signs of mental illness and seek appropriate support and treatment to prevent the risk of suicide.

The enigma of suicide lies in the fact that it is an intensely personal decision, yet its impact is far-reaching. The reasons behind a person’s choice to end their life can be multifaceted and difficult to comprehend for those left behind. Contributing factors might include genetics, trauma, substance abuse, or socio-economic conditions. It is crucial to be alert to potential warning signs, such as drastic changes in behavior, isolation, or talking about death, and intervene when appropriate.

Recovery from the emotional impact of suicide, whether as someone who has survived an attempt or as a grieving family member, requires resilience and support. Building a strong support network, including mental health professionals, friends, and family, can help individuals navigate the complexities of their emotions and experiences. Books and literature addressing suicide can offer valuable insight and understanding, aiding in the healing process.

In conclusion, understanding suicide involves examining the underlying mental health issues, recognizing the warning signs, and supporting those affected in their journey toward recovery. Books and resources that delve into these topics can provide essential information and empathy for individuals, families, and communities facing the enigmatic nature of suicide. Always remember to reach out to healthcare professionals and support networks when needed.

Children’s Books Addressing Suicide

Helping children understand and cope with feelings of severe depression and suicide can be a challenging task. Books can play a crucial role in addressing sensitive topics in ways that are both engaging and educational, with both fiction and nonfiction options available.

Fiction books can offer a more relatable window into the subject, presenting characters and scenarios that children may identify with. “Cody’s Smile” by Julianna M. Atkins is one example of a work that introduces the topic of suicide through storytelling. The book provides a thoughtful and empathetic perspective on coping with loss and healing.

Nonfiction books can also be beneficial in providing factual and practical information to children. One such book is “Understanding Suicide” by Matt Chandler. This work offers insights into the complex nature of suicide and provides strategies for helping loved ones who may struggle with suicidal thoughts.

Another example is the eBook “Mommy’s Sandcastle” by Veronica Thomas, illustrated by Jonny Thomas. This nonfiction work can be an invaluable resource to help children grasp the concept of mental health struggles from a loved one’s perspective.

Alongside exploring the subject matter through reading, it’s essential that children are encouraged to actively participate in open discussions surrounding feelings and emotions. Books like “A Kids Book About Suicide” by Angela N. Frazier and Denise Morales Soto provide a conversation starter, guiding participants through the difficult topic in a supportive and comforting manner.

Finally, for older readers or those looking to provide support to their peers, “The Power to Prevent Suicide” by Richard E. Nelson can serve as a great resource. This book empowers teens with practical advice and approaches to help their friends in need.

In conclusion, addressing such a delicate topic as suicide in children’s literature can be of tremendous assistance in providing them with tools and resources for understanding, coping, and healing. Both fiction and nonfiction books have their place in offering valuable insights and promoting conversations around mental health and suicidal thoughts.

Popular Novels on Suicide

Thirteen Reasons Why


One of the most famed novels about suicide is “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. This best-selling young adult novel explores the story of a high school girl who leaves behind a series of tapes that reveal the reasons why she chose to end her life. The novel sheds light on themes of bullying, survivor’s guilt, and the impact that individuals have on one another.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye


Another compelling novel is “The Last Time We Say Goodbye” by Cynthia Hand. The story revolves around a girl coping with her brother’s suicide, exploring the effects of grief and the search for closure. The novel weaves a heart-wrenching narrative that provides the reader with a thought-provoking journey.

The Virgin Suicides


The Virgin Suicides” by Jeffrey Eugenides is a haunting novel about the tragic suicides of five sisters. Through the eyes of the neighborhood boys, the reader is presented with themes of adolescence, obsession, and the unraveling of a family. The novel effectively encapsulates the tragedy of suicide and its impact on a community.

Suicide Notes


Suicide Notes” by Michael Thomas Ford is another powerful novel, dealing with the theme of teenage suicide. The story is about a 15-year-old boy who wakes up in a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt and explores themes such as identity, depression, and recovery.

Looking for Alaska


John Green’s “Looking for Alaska” is a young adult novel that explores the events leading up to and following the suicide of a central character. Through the eyes of the protagonist, the reader experiences themes of loss, guilt, and the search for meaning.

Two more touching novels in the young adult genre are “All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven and “I Was Here” by Gayle Forman. Both stories follow the characters’ struggles as they deal with depression, grief, and suicidal thoughts. These novels effectively describe the emotional turmoil experienced by those directly and indirectly affected by suicide.

Outside the realm of contemporary novels, older literary works have also addressed the topic of suicide. For example, “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare features the infamous double suicide of the two star-crossed lovers. Additionally, Leo Tolstoy’s novel “Anna Karenina” and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” both explore the tragic consequences of despair and unfulfilled desires.

In summary, though suicide is a sensitive and complex subject, these novels provide valuable insights and perspectives on its various facets. By exploring the emotional, psychological, and social aspects through such well-written stories, these works contribute significantly to the broader understanding of this important issue.

Memoirs Dealing with Suicide

Memoirs about suicide provide an intimate and compelling look into the minds of those affected by suicide and the experiences they’ve gone through.

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir


A powerful example is “Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir” by Michael Anthony. In his book, Anthony shares his journey back to civilian life after serving in the Iraq War and coping with his increasing thoughts of suicide, ultimately finding solace in discovering a purpose beyond the battlefield.

A Legacy of Madness: Recovering My Family from Generations of Mental Illness


Another impactful memoir is “A Legacy of Madness: Recovering My Family from Generations of Mental Illness” by Tom Davis. In this book, Davis explores the history of mental illness within his family, aiming to break the generational cycle of depression and suicidal ideation. He discusses his personal struggles and growth while also addressing the societal pressures that contribute to suicidal thoughts.

Practical Blasphemy: The New Testament


The book “Practical Blasphemy: The New Testament” By LJT, offers a different perspective on the subject as it recalls the life of a woman who is a survivor of multiple suicide attempts. The author’s honest and raw recounting of her experiences and realizations provides a unique understanding of the struggles people face in their darkest moments.

These memoirs not only showcase the resilience and strength of those affected by suicide but also shed light on the various causes and influences that contribute to these tragic circumstances. By sharing their stories, authors of these books create a sense of empathy and understanding for readers, helping to raise awareness about the complexities of mental health and suicide. Reading these accounts can be an invaluable resource for those looking to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the subject.

Books Addressing Mental Illness and Suicide

In recent years, authors have made strides in discussing mental illness and suicide in literature. Some of the noteworthy books addressing these topics are discussed in this section.

The Bell Jar


The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath is a semi-autobiographical novel that details the life of a woman struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. Plath’s insightful portrayal of mental illness makes the book a must-read for those looking to understand the weight of these topics.

Girl, Interrupted


Girl, Interrupted” by Susanna Kaysen is a memoir recounting the author’s experiences in a psychiatric hospital for personality disorder and suicidal ideation. Providing a firsthand account of mental health treatment in the 1960s, Kaysen’s work serves as an eye-opening look into the world of mental institutions and illnesses.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story


It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini is a humor-filled novel about a young man named Craig who checks himself into a mental hospital after contemplating suicide. The book delves into themes of depression, anxiety, and mental health challenges faced by teenagers, told in an accessible and relatable manner.



In Ellen Hopkins’ “Impulse,” three teenagers meet at a psychiatric hospital, each struggling with their own mental health issues, including suicide attempts. Told in verse, the novel explores the lives and struggles of these characters, providing an honest and raw look at mental illness and human connection.

If I Wake


If I Wake” by Nikki Moyes follows the story of Lucy, who moves through different versions of her life every time she tries to take her own life. The novel touches on themes of bullying, self-acceptance, and suicide, woven into a thought-provoking narrative.

My Heart and Other Black Holes

My Heart and Other Black Holes” by Jasmine Warga tells the story of two teenagers who form a pact to end their lives together. The novel delves into their emotional journey, exploring themes of depression, loneliness, and the importance of human connections.

Veronika Decides to Die


Veronika Decides to Die” by Paulo Coelho is a philosophical novel about a young woman named Veronika who decides to end her life. After a failed suicide attempt, she is sent to a mental institution and begins questioning her beliefs about happiness and life. The book raises thought-provoking questions about the value of life and the nature of mental illness.



Lies” by T.M. Logan centers on a man whose life unravels when he discovers a secret about his wife and a therapist. The thriller explores the devastating impact of lies, manipulation, and betrayal and touches on themes of suicidal thoughts and mental health.

These books offer valuable insight into the complexities of mental illness and suicide, presenting readers with a variety of perspectives that help to create understanding and empathy for those affected by these issues.

Exploring Ratings

When examining books about suicide, it’s essential to consider the ratings and reviews from readers to make informed choices on which books may be most helpful or beneficial. High ratings often indicate that these books have resonated with readers through their ability to address the topic informatively and empathetically.

Notable books in this category include:

  • The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide” by Brandy Lidbeck: A valuable resource for those affected by suicide, this book features advice from a licensed marriage and family therapist who is also a two-time survivor of suicide loss.
  • The Last Time We Say Goodbye” by Cynthia Hand: A highly-rated novel that bears witness to the power of family and personal strength in the face of such a devastating event.

To help assess the quality of books on suicide, consider the following:

  • Look for reader reviews on platforms like Goodreads, which provide useful insights into the tone, content, and impact of each book. Many lists on the site compile the “Best Books on Suicide” or “Books That Deal With Suicide,” curated by user votes.
  • Consult resources like Choosing Therapy, which often offers recommendations and aggregates the best-rated books on sensitive subjects like suicide.
  • Explore discussions and reviews from professionals in the mental health field who can provide expert opinions on which books might be most informative and constructive.

It’s crucial to remember that individual experiences and preferences will vary, especially with a sensitive subject like suicide. While ratings and reviews can provide a general idea of a book’s worth, it is essential to consider personal needs and tastes when selecting literature. By keeping these factors in mind, readers can make informed decisions on which books about suicide might be the most beneficial and educational for their specific needs.

Book Formats

When exploring books about suicide, readers will find that they come in various formats to accommodate different preferences and needs. The most common types of formats available are paperback, hardcover, and digital.

Paperback editions are a popular choice for many readers due to their affordability and lightweight nature. These books are bound in soft, flexible covers, making them easy to carry and handle. Paperback books are prevalent in bookstores, libraries, and online retailers, ensuring their accessibility to interested parties.

Hardcover editions provide a more robust and durable option for readers who prioritize maintaining the condition of their books. Typically, these books are bound in stiff covers, which protect against wear and tear. Despite being heavier and more expensive than paperback editions, hardcover books offer a sense of prestige and can make an excellent addition to any bookshelf or collection.

Digital formats, such as eBooks, cater to tech-savvy readers or those seeking a more portable and versatile option. Accessing digital books requires an electronic device (e.g., e-readers, tablets, smartphones) and an internet connection. The digital format allows readers to customize their reading experience by adjusting the font, text size, and background settings to their preferences.

In general, books about suicide can be found in various formats based on the reader’s preference and needs. Whether it’s paperback, hardcover, or digital, each format offers unique benefits that cater to different reading styles. When choosing a format, consider factors such as affordability, durability, portability, and convenience to ensure the most suitable option for one’s reading requirements.


In exploring various books about suicide, it is evident that a myriad of perspectives and experiences are shared with readers. These works address topics such as mental health, mental illness, and recovery, offering valuable insights for individuals looking to understand and navigate these challenging experiences.

For those interested in understanding the complexity of mental health and suicide, both fictional and non-fictional accounts serve to offer different perspectives. Fictional works can provide a safe distance for readers to explore and empathize with the experiences of the characters, while non-fictional accounts offer real-life testimonies, facts, and strategies for coping and healing.

Books like “The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide” by Brandy Lidbeck and “The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times to Live” by Heather B. Armstrong address the struggles faced by survivors of suicide loss or suicide attempts. These authors share their personal journeys and professional knowledge, empowering readers with the tools necessary to navigate the healing process and find hope in recovery.

In conclusion, literature on suicide offers a wealth of knowledge that can inspire discussions, raise awareness, and provide invaluable support for those dealing with mental illness or the loss of a loved one. Through these books, readers can gain a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding suicide and mental health, paving the way towards healing and recovery.