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Books for loss survivors

A listing of books from which we hope loss survivors will find helpful information and guidance as they navigate their healing journey.

While no amount of resources would ever be considered comprehensive of each person’s unique experiences in the aftermath of suicide loss, below is a listing of books from which we hope loss survivors will find helpful information and guidance as they navigate their healing journey.

Practical guides for coping with a suicide loss

After Suicide Loss: Coping with Your Grief 
Jack Jordan, Ph.D., and Bob Baugher, Ph.D., Caring People Press, 2016 (2nd edition).

This excellent handbook is organized chronologically to follow the days, weeks, and months after a suicide loss. It includes straightforward information about psychiatric disorders, when to seek professional help, and practical strategies for coping and healing.

Black Suicide: The Tragic Reality of America’s Deadliest Secret
Alton R. Kirk, Ph.D., Beckham Publications Group, 2009.

A brief exploration of suicide in the African American community, including a chapter dedicated to first-person accounts of black survivors of suicide loss.

Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide
Beverly Cobain and Jean Larch, Hazelden Foundation, 2006.

Co-authored by a crisis intervention specialist and a cousin of Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of the band Nirvana who took his life in 1994, this book combines personal accounts from loss survivors with practical guidance for coping with suicide loss.

The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide
Brandy Lidbeck, Gift Pub, 2016.

The Gift of Second by therapist and suicide loss survivor Lidbeck offers hope and advice to guide survivors through the desperate time after a suicide loss.  Wise and compassionate, this valuable book explores the nature of grief and trauma, helps loss survivors let go of their burden of guilt and shame, and sets them on a healthy path to healing.

Healing after the Suicide of a Loved One
Ann Smolin and John Guinan, Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Many survivors struggle with the questions “why?” and “what if?”  This book shares case studies and offers advice to help survivors begin to heal.

Lay My Burden Down: Unraveling Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans
Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D., and Amy Alexander, Beacon Press, 2001.

One of only a few books addressing suicide and mental health problems within the African American community.

Reaching Out after Suicide: What’s Helpful and What’s Not
Linda H. Kilburn, M.S.W., 2008.
Available from KP Associates, LLC ([email protected]).

A clinical hospice social worker and survivor of her daughter’s suicide, Kilburn offers practical advice for well-meaning friends and family who want to reach out and be supportive after a suicide, but aren’t sure what to do or say.

Rocky Roads: The Journeys of Families through Suicide Grief
Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D., Chellehead Works, 2010.

Written by a survivor who lost a sibling, this guide explores the effects of suicide and grief on family relationships. Linn-Gust addresses the reasons some families work through their suicide loss and become stronger than before, while others struggle with coming back together as a family unit.

Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide
Christopher Lukas and Henry M. Seiden, Ph.D., Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007 (revised edition).

As they explore common experiences of bereavement, grief reactions, and various ways of coping, the authors emphasize the importance of sharing one’s experience of “survival” with others. They encourage loss survivors to overcome the stigma or shame associated with suicide and to seek outside support.

Suicide of a Child
Adina Wrobleski, Centering Corp., 2002.

A basic guide for early bereavement after your child’s suicide that offers comforting, compassionate, easy-to-read observations and personal messages.

Suicide Survivors’ Handbook
Trudy Carlson, Benline Press, 2000 (expanded edition).

Providing specific suggestions and practical advice from other survivors, the author addresses the following questions: Why? What about shame and guilt? How long does the pain last? What helps? How do you deal with others?

Survivors of Suicide
Rita Robinson and Phyllis Hart, New Page Books, 2001.

A compilation of advice and loss survivor stories.

Touched by Suicide: Hope and Healing after Loss
Michael F. Myers, M.D., and Carla Fine, Gotham Books, 2006.

Co-authored by a psychiatrist and a loss survivor, this book offers detailed steps, practical suggestions, and compassionate advice on coping with all aspects of suicide.

Unfinished Conversation: Healing from Suicide and Loss — A Guided Journey
Robert E. Lesoine and Marilynne Chopel, Parallax Press, 2013.

Based on a journal Lesoine kept following the loss of his best friend, this book also offers tools and techniques which provide survivors with effective new means to face their own experience. After each brief chapter of the author’s story, revealing a particular stage or action in the aftermath of a suicide, readers are invited through a series of related questions to reflect on their own experiences and memories in order to facilitate a transformative healing process.

Voices of Healing and Hope: Conversations on Grief after Suicide
Iris Bolton, Bolton Press Atlanta, 2017.
Includes DVD of interviews.

Through an informal survey of family members impacted by suicide, Iris Bolton, author of My Son…My Son: A Guide to Healing after Death, Loss, or Suicide, identified eight issues that were among the most difficult for suicide loss survivors to cope with: why, guilt, shame, anger, pain, fear, depression, and faith. This poignant book includes the stories of more than twenty-five loss survivors as they relate to these challenges.

Why Suicide? Questions and Answers about Suicide, Suicide Prevention, and Coping with the Suicide of Someone You Know
Eric Marcus, HarperOne, 2010 (revised edition).

Eric Marcus, who lost both his father and sister-in-law to suicide, addresses the myriad questions with which loss survivors are inevitably left in the wake of a loved one’s suicide.  The Q&A format is accessible, informative, and reassuring.

The Wilderness of Suicide Grief: Finding Your Way
Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Companion Press, 2010.

Using the metaphor of grief as a wilderness, this guidebook, written by a grief counselor, offers ten wisdom teachings, including being open to the presence of loss, misconceptions about suicide and grief, and reaching out for help. The author also offers an expanded version titled Understanding Your Grief: Ten Touchstones of Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart, and the companion workbook, The Understanding Your Suicide Grief Journal.

Loss survivor stories

A Force Unfamiliar to Me: A Cautionary Tale
Jane Butler, Hamlet Books, 1998.

A mother’s personal account of her son’s depression and suicide, this book explores some of the familiar challenges survivor families face, such as how to handle the holidays and the grief struggles between the parents of a child lost to suicide.

All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found
Philip Connors, W. W. Norton, 2015.

All the Wrong Places is an affecting and wryly funny memoir that details the author’s complex relationship with his brother and his struggle to cope with his brother’s death by suicide.

A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy
Sue Klebold, Crown, 2016.

Written by the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the shooters in the Columbine High School tragedy of 1999, this powerful book chronicles Sue Klebold’s journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. Klebold shares her experience and the insights and understanding she has gained in the hope that they may help other families recognize when a child is in distress. The Times (London) calls the book “required reading for all parents of adolescents… soul-piercingly honest, written with bravery and intelligence… A book of nobility and importance.”

An Empty Chair: Living in the Wake of a Sibling’s Suicide
Sara Swan Miller, iUniverse, 2000.

This book combines interviews with more than thirty sibling survivors all over the U.S. with the author’s own account of losing a sister to suicide.

A Special Scar: The Experience of People Bereaved by Suicide
Alison Wertheimer, Routledge, 2001.

The author, who lost her sister to suicide, presents interviews with fifty survivors that cover a wide range of issues, such as the press, stigma, guilt, anger, and rejection.

Before Their Time: Adult Children’s Experiences of Parental Suicide
Mary and Maureen Stimming, Temple University Press, 1999.

Survivor accounts of loss, grief, and resolution following a parent’s suicide by adult children. Separate sections offer perspectives on the deaths of mothers and fathers. Includes the reflections of four siblings on the shared loss of their mother.

Blue Genes: A Memoir of Loss and Survival
Christopher Lukas, Doubleday, 2008.

As a young boy, Christopher (Kit) Lukas, co-author of Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide, survived the suicide of his mother. Neither he nor his brother were told how she died, and both went on to confront their own struggles with depression, a disease that ran in their family. In 1997, Kit’s brother Tony, a Pulitzer-prize winning author, took his own life. Blue Genes is Kit’s exploration of his family history, his personal journey, and his determination to find strength and hope.

History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life
Jill Bialosky, Atria Books, 2011.

Writer Jill Bialosky was pregnant with her first child in 1990 when her 21-year-old half-sister, Kim, took her life. Just a few months later, Bialosky’s grief was compounded by the loss of her baby. In this memoir, written nearly twenty years later, she offers a deeply personal investigation into her family’s complicated history, and into Kim’s struggle with depression and addiction. This book is recommended for survivors who are further along in their grief. Newly bereaved survivors may find it overwhelming.

In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother’s Suicide
Nancy Rappaport, Basic Books, 2009.

Child psychiatrist Nancy Rappaport lost her mother to suicide at age four. Encouraged by her own children’s curiosity about their grandmother and fortified by her professional training in psychiatry, she began to look into her mother’s life and death. Drawing on court papers, newspaper clippings, her mother’s unpublished novel, and interviews with family and friends, Rappaport explores the impact of her mother’s suicide from the perspective of a daughter, psychiatrist, wife, and mother herself.

I’ll Write Your Name on Every Beach: A Mother’s Quest for Comfort, Courage and Clarity after Suicide Loss
Susan Auerbach, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017.

This intimate memoir tells the story of a mother’s grief journey in the wake of her son’s suicide.  In the words of Dr. Jack Jordan, an international authority on suicide loss, the book is also “helpfully organized around themes and issues that survivors will inevitably encounter, such as the bodily impact of suicide loss and guilt and responsibility. Who should read this book? Anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide; … anyone who wishes to support a suicide loss survivor; and above all, any and every mother who has lost a child to suicide.”

Letters to Mitch: The Healing Power of Grief, Love & Truth
Marshall Dunn, Montego Creative Inc., 2016.

A memoir in the form of a series of raw, heartfelt letters, this account of the author’s grief and spiritual journey in the wake of the suicide death of his elder brother, Mitch, encourages readers to embrace change and honor the life with which they have been gifted.  This book is recommended only for longer-term loss survivors; the blunt, unvarnished nature of some of the writing may be upsetting to people who lost someone to suicide more recently.

My Son… My Son: A Guide to Healing after Death, Loss or Suicide
Iris Bolton and Curtis Mitchell, Bolton Press Atlanta, 1983.

Author Iris Bolton recounts the loss of her twenty-year-old son to suicide and provides advice for others who have experienced a similarly devastating loss. She explores the stigma of suicide loss, feelings of having failed as a parent, and ways to heal.

Never Regret the Pain: Loving and Losing a Bipolar Spouse
Sel Erder Yackley, Helm Publishing, 2008.

In this memoir, a mother of three provides an intimate glimpse into her family’s struggle to understand, cope with, and grieve the bipolar disorder and ultimate suicide of her husband, a well-respected judge.

The Invisible Front: Love and Loss in an Era of Endless War
Yochi Dreazen, Crown Publishing, 2014.

Major General Mark Graham was a decorated officer who inspired his sons, Jeff and Kevin, to pursue military careers of their own. When Kevin and Jeff die within nine months of each other—Kevin dies by suicide and Jeff is killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq—their parents are astonished by the drastically different responses their sons’ deaths receive from the Army. While Jeff is lauded as a hero, Kevin’s death is met with silence, evidence of the stigma that surrounds suicide and mental illness in the military. Convinced that their sons died fighting different battles, Jeff and Kevin’s parents dedicate themselves to transforming the institution that is the cornerstone of their lives.

Hope after Suicide: One Woman’s Journey from Darkness to Light
Wendy Parmley, Cedarfort Publishing, 2014.

After losing her mother to suicide when she was twelve years old, Parmley learned firsthand the anguish, despair, and loneliness of survivors of suicide loss. Hope after Suicide shares her story of sorrow and healing, and of how she learned to open her once-shattered heart years after her mother’s suicide, giving hope and comfort to those affected by such tragedy.

No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One
Carla Fine, Broadway Books, 1999.

Drawing on the experience of losing her husband to suicide and subsequent interviews with scores of suicide loss survivors, as well as the expertise of counselors and mental health professionals, Carla Fine provides invaluable guidance to the families and friends who are left behind in the aftermath of a suicide.

Remembering Garrett: One Family’s Battle with a Child’s Depression
Gordon H. Smith, Caroll & Graf, 2006.

A personal account by the U.S. Senator from Oregon, whose 21-year-old son took his own life, and whose speech on the Senate floor led to overwhelming bipartisan support for the passage of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which increased federal funding to prevent youth suicide.

Sanity & Grace: A Journey of Suicide, Survival, and Strength
Judy Collins, Tarcher/Penguin, 2003.

A celebrity and grieving mother shares her story about the loss of her son to suicide, and her own struggle with mental illness.

Suicide Survivors’ Club: A Family’s Journey through the Death of Their Loved One
Rebecca Anderson (author/suicide loss survivor), Laurie Phillips (artist/storyteller), 2016.

This beautifully illustrated five-book set depicts the aftermath of a husband/father’s suicide through the eyes and in the words of his wife and children (ages 19, 7, and 5). The brief books “Becky,” “Pattie,” “Aidan,” and “Will” explore the feelings of suicide loss survivors of any age and the healing power of art.  The fifth book, “Parenting the Suicide Survivors’ Club,” is a short memoir by mom Rebecca that reflects the challenges of holding a family together as the sole remaining parent.

Surviving Suicide: Searching for “Normal” with Heartache & Humor
Deena Baxter, Mascot Books, 2014.

This is the story of how a stepmother—an unusual perspective in loss memoirs—deals with the suicide death of her stepson while trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. Baxter combines humor with serious self-reflection to create a beautifully written book about the impact mental illness has on a person, and about the ways in which the author coped shortly after her loss.  The memoir is emotional, yet also very matter-of-fact on the subjects of suicide and mental illness.  Recommended for people who are several years removed from their loss.

The Empty Chair: The Journey of Grief after Suicide
Beryl Glover, In Sight Books, 2000.

The grief process, as experienced by people dealing with varying emotions following the suicide of a family member.

The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah
Josh Rivedal

In his memoir, actor and playwright Josh Rivedal copes with his father’s and grandfather’s suicides, his own clinical depression and suicidal thoughts, and his recovery. The Gospel According to Josh is based in part on Rivedal’s acclaimed one-man show.

The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death in Order
Joan Wickersham, Mariner Books, 2009.

Joan Wickersham’s artful memoir traces her search to understand her father’s suicide through interactions with friends, doctors, and other loss survivors. An unflinching and moving exploration of the complexity of losing a loved one to suicide and the necessary search for why.

Give Sorrow Words
Lynn Keane 

Give Sorrow Words is a lyrical, empathic exploration of a family’s tragedy that further illuminates the urgent need to end the stigma associated with depression and stands as a testament to the raw beauty of family experience and offers hope that we can survive even when the worst has happened. Lynn Keane’s memoir will enlighten and present readers with an honest portrait of a family in grief.

Helping children

After a Parent’s Suicide: Helping Children Heal
Margo Requarth, Healing Hearts Press, 2006.

Written by a bereavement counselor who lost her mother to suicide before she was four years old, this book offers constructive, compassionate, and clear suggestions for helping children.

After a Suicide Death: An Activity Book for Grieving Kids
The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, 2001.
Available through the Dougy Center.

This activity book was designed specifically for children coping with a suicide loss. It provides creative exercises, offers practical advice, and incorporates quotations from children ranging in age from four to fourteen.

But I Didn’t Say Goodbye: For Parents and Professionals Helping Child Suicide Survivors
Barbara Rubel, Griefwork Center, 2000.

Narrated by a child, this book is intended for adults to read and then share with children.

Conversations of Courage: A Caregiver-Guided Activity Journal for the Child of Suicide Loss
Erika Barber, MAT, CCLS, AFSP Illinois Chapter, 2016.
To order Conversations of Courage, email [email protected].

This 81-page interactive workbook encourages and facilitates healthy and truthful conversations between an adult caregiver and a child, meaning-making, and emotional expression following the loss of a loved one to suicide.

My Uncle Keith Died
Carol Ann Loehr, Trafford Publishing, 2006.

Written in clear, simple language easily understood by children, this book offers hope and practical methods to explain suicide to children. It explains the difference between sadness and depression, and describes how chemical imbalances in the brain cause illnesses that can result in suicide.

Someone I Love Died by Suicide: A Story for Child Survivors and Those Who Care for Them
Doreen Cammarata, Grief Guidance, 2000.

An illustrated book explaining depression and suicide in child-friendly language.

Supporting Children after a Suicide Loss: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers
Sarah Montgomery, LCSW-C, and Susan Coale, LCSW-C, Chesapeake Life Center, 2014.

This unique book provides parents and caregivers with helpful information to better understand and communicate with children grieving a loss to suicide with a special focus on child development and how to talk with children of various ages.

Understanding Suicide, Supporting Children
The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, 2011.
Available through the Dougy Center.

This 24-minute film provides insight into the emotions and experiences that children, teens, and families affected by a suicide death often go through, and offers ways to help. The DVD and guide are a resource for training purposes, or for general viewing by parents, therapists, counselors, and others.

For adolescents and teenagers

Francis Chalifour, Tundra, 2005.

Nominated for the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Awards in 2005, this autobiographical novel tells the story of 15-year-old Francis, whose father took his own life. It explores Francis’s struggles with guilt, anger, and profound sadness, and his search for hope, during the first year after his father’s suicide.

After a Suicide: Young People Speak Up
Susan Kuklin, Putnam Publishing Group, 1994.

Nine personal accounts of survivors, many of whom are teens. Each account focuses on a specific topic, such as losing a parent, losing a sibling, seeking therapy, or using support groups.

I Was Here
Gayle Forman, Speak, 2016.

Gayle Forman’s poignant young adult novel follows Cody’s search to understand why her friend Meg ended her life. The publisher describes the book as “a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.”

For men

Men & Grief: A Guide for Men Surviving the Death of a Loved One and a Resource for Caregivers and Mental Health Professionals
Carol Staudacher, New Harbinger Publications, 1991.

Separate chapters address bereavement experienced during boyhood, adolescence, and adulthood, as well as a chapter on the effect of alcohol abuse on grief. While the book does include some discussion of bereavement after suicide, the focus is on the male experience of bereavement more generally.

Men Don’t Cry… Women Do: Transcending Gender Stereotypes of Grief
Terry L. Martin and Kenneth J. Doka, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2000.

Part of Robert Neimeyer’s “Death, Dying, and Bereavement Series,” this book is best suited for mental health professionals and others interested in exploring the theoretical and clinical aspects of gender-typical grief. While not specific to suicide loss, the book addresses the impact of socialization and culture on how individuals experience loss.

Real Men Do Cry: A Quarterback’s Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression and Surviving Suicide Loss
Eric Hipple, with Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley, Quality of Life Publishing, 2008.

Former NFL quarterback for the Detroit Lions, Eric Hipple, candidly shares his experience of living through his fifteen-year-old son’s suicide, his own lifelong struggle with depression, and the difficult path that led him to ultimately seek treatment.

Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing
Thomas R. Golden, Golden Healing Publishing, 1996.

Written by a licensed clinical social worker, this book explores the stereotypically masculine experience of grief. In the author’s words, “[a] man reading these pages will find a book that honors the uniqueness of a man’s path toward healing. A woman reading this book will benefit not only from gaining a deeper understanding of the men in her life, she will [also] find herself in these pages.”

When a Man Faces Grief/A Man You Know Is Grieving: 12 Practical Ideas to Help You Heal from Loss
Thomas R. Golden and James Miller, Willowgreen Publishing, 1998.

This book focuses on grief in general rather than suicide grief in particular. The authors share their view of the “masculine side” of healing. The book’s format is unique: the first half provides guidance to the grieving man himself; turned upside down, the second half advises his family and friends on how best to help him. The twelve suggestions in each half of the book are practical and straightforward.

When Suicide Comes Home: A Father’s Diary and Comments
Paul Cox, Bolton Press 2002.

A father’s perspective on the first year following his son’s suicide, this book is written in a simple, straightforward style, making it easy reading for early grief. Though written from a father’s perspective, female readers (especially spouses) have said that the book helped them to better understand the male experience of grief.

For clinicians

Dead Reckoning: A Therapist Confronts His Own Grief
David C. Treadway, BasicBooks, 1996.

Now a successful family therapist, the author was just twenty when his mother, a longtime alcoholic, took her own life. Even as he counsels his clients on how to deal with death, loss, and grief, he finds himself increasingly unable to manage his own. Turning to his own therapist for help, Treadway brings the reader along on his journey of healing as he finally comes to terms with his mother’s death.

Grief after Suicide: Understanding the Consequences and Caring for the Survivors
John R. Jordan, Ph.D., and John McIntosh, Ph.D. (Eds.), Routledge, 2011.

Combining research literature, clinical theory, and extensive practical experience working with survivors of suicide loss, two of the field’s leading experts offer a comprehensive, professionally oriented exploration of bereavement after suicide. Topics include interventions to provide bereavement care for survivors and the development of research, clinical, and programmatic agendas for future efforts.

Suicide and Its Aftermath: Understanding and Counseling the Survivors
Edward Dunne, John McIntosh, and Karen Dunne-Maxim (Eds.), W.W. Norton, 1987.

This compilation of articles and essays captures many aspects of the experience of surviving a suicide loss. Although written by and for professional counselors, its readable style makes the book appropriate for the general public as well.

Therapeutic and Legal Issues for Therapists Who Have Survived a Client Suicide: Breaking the Silence
Kayla Miriyam Weiner, The Haworth Press, 2005.

This unique volume explores the firsthand experiences of “clinician-survivors” — mental health professionals who have lost clients and patients to suicide.

Poetry and novels

Complicated Grief: A Collection of Poems
Deborah Golden Alecson, Finishing Line Press, 2014.

In these straightforward, beautifully written poems, Alecson describes her anguish after losing her mother to suicide and the difficulty of moving past the initial stages of grief.  Please note that some of Alecson’s poems have an emotional rawness that may make them difficult reading for the recently bereaved.

Healing the Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide
Catherine Greenleaf, St. Dymphna Press, 2006.

Written by a longtime survivor of multiple suicide losses, this non-denominational book encourages survivors to explore their grief through a series of simple readings and daily affirmations.

Incomplete Knowledge
Jeffrey Harrison, Four Way Books, 2006.

In the second half of this book of poetry, the author writes eloquently about the loss of his brother to suicide, delving into isolated moments in the immediate aftermath and the extended process of grief. A particularly moving sequence is titled, “The Undertaking.”

I See You Everywhere
Julia Glass, Anchor, 2009.

National Book Award–winning novelist Julia Glass gracefully chronicles the complex relationship between two sisters, one steady and one restless. After one sister takes her life, the other is left to mourn the loss and find a way to go on. A spot-on portrayal of suicide loss from an author who is herself a suicide loss survivor.

Passing Reflections, Volume III: Surviving Suicide Loss through Mindfulness
Kristen Spexarth, Big Think Media, 2016 (revised and expanded edition).

In this powerful volume of poetry, the author reflects on the suicide of her eldest son, Colby. Organized by date, the poems record, in vivid language and imagery, Spexarth’s intense grief, and her eventual journey towards healing and reconnection.  The book also includes narrative sections offering guidance on how one might foster healing through mindfulness practice in the midst of trauma.

Understanding suicide and mental illness

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.

In this memoir, an international authority on bipolar disorder describes her own struggle since adolescence with the disorder, and how it has shaped her life.

Darkness Visible
William Styron, Random House, 1990.

A powerful and moving first-hand account of what depression feels like to the sufferer.

Demystifying Psychiatry: A Resource for Patients and Families
Charles Zorumski and Eugene Rubin, Oxford University Press, 2010.

Two psychiatrists explain modern-day psychiatry, including the mental illnesses most closely associated with suicide risk, in this straightforward primer intended for a lay audience.

Devastating Losses: How Parents Cope with the Death of a Child to Suicide or Drugs
William Feigelman, Ph.D., John Jordan, Ph.D., John McIntosh, Ph.D., Beverly Feigelman, LCSW, Springer Publishing, 2012.

This book provides useful avenues for future research on suicide loss and offers new insights into the grief process that follows the death of a child, both in the short term and years after a loss.  Please note that, given its academic tone, the book is better suited to clinicians and educators than to recently bereaved lay readers.

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide
Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.

Kay Redfield Jamison’s in-depth psychological and scientific exploration of suicide traces the network of reasons underlying suicide, including the factors that interact to cause suicide, and outlines the evolving treatments available through modern medicine.

No One Saw My Pain: Why Teens Kill Themselves
Andrew Slaby and Lili Frank Garfinkle, W.W. Norton, 1995.

This book looks at many examples of adolescent suicide and explores the complex factors that may contribute to it.

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
Andrew Solomon, Scribner, 2001.

Winner of the National Book Award, this book shares the author’s story of chronic depression, and places depression in a broader social context.

November of the Soul: The Enigma of Suicide
George Howe Colt, Scribner, 2006.

From National Book Award finalist George Howe Colt comes this comprehensive, 500+ page scholarly exploration of suicide. Based on in-depth reporting and case studies, and extensively footnoted, the book considers suicide from cultural, historical, biological, and psychological perspectives. This book is recommended for survivors who are further along in their grief. Newly bereaved survivors may find it overwhelming.

Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It
J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., M.D., John Wiley & Sons, 2002.

A comprehensive, user-friendly guide to depression, including the latest research in brain chemistry, psychology, and pharmacology.

Why People Die by Suicide
Thomas Joiner, Ph.D., Harvard University Press, 2005.
Drawing on extensive clinical and epidemiological evidence, as well as personal experience, the author, who lost his father to suicide, identifies three factors that mark those most at risk of considering, attempting, or dying by suicide.


A Long-Shadowed Grief: Suicide and Its Aftermath
Harold Ivan Smith, Cowley Publications 2006.

Written from a Christian perspective, this book by a former funeral director who survived his cousin’s suicide explores the aftermath of suicide through the lenses of spirituality and theology.

Finding Your Way after the Suicide of Someone You Love
David B. Biebel, D.Min., and Suzanne L. Foster, M.A., Zondervan, 2005.

Co-authored by a loss survivor and a minister, this book looks at the experience of suicide bereavement from a Christian perspective.

From the Ashes Flies the Phoenix: Creating a Powerful Life after a Suicide
Gretta Krane, Inspiring Enterprises, 2006.

The survivor of her husband’s suicide, Krane shares her journey with the hope that it will inspire others to find self-discovery, growth, and hope in the aftermath of suicide loss.

Healing the Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide
Catherine Greenleaf, St. Dymphna Press, 2006.

Written by a longtime survivor of multiple suicide losses, this non-denominational book encourages survivors to explore their grief through a series of simple readings and daily affirmations.

Take the Dimness of My Soul Away: Healing after a Loved One’s Suicide
William A. Ritter, Morehouse Publishing, 2004.

Reverend Ritter shares a moving collection of his sermons and notes following his son’s death by suicide. Throughout this God-centered journey, Ritter’s poignant words explore how spiritual healing is possible after the loss of a loved one to suicide.