Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide

Front Cover
Picador, 2001 - Case studies - 432 pages
4 Reviews

Suicide is the third major killer of young people in the Western world, and in the closing decades of the twentieth century it reached epidemic proportions: around the world there has been a frightening surge in suicides committed by children, adolescents and young adults. Kay Redfield Jamison is herself a survivor of a nearly lethal suicide attempt which came after years of battling manic depression. Her survival marked the beginning of a life’s work to investigate mental illness and self-inflicted death, and she is now an internationally recognized authority on the depressive illnesses.

In Night Falls Fast Dr. Jamison dispels the silence and shame that surround the subject of suicide and provides a better understanding of the suicidal mind and a chance to recognize the person at risk. She brings to the book not only wide scientific knowledge and clinical experience but also great compassion. In tracing the network of reasons underlying the phenomenon, she gives us astonishing examples and a startling look at the journals, drawings and farewell notes of people who have chosen to kill themselves. She also provides vivid insight into the most recent findings from hospitals and laboratories across the world; the critical biological and psychological factors that interact to cause suicide; and the new strategies being evolved to combat them.

Night Falls Fast is a sensitive and penetrating analysis that helps us to comprehend the profound and disturbing sense of loss created in those left behind. It is the first major book on the subject in a quarter of a century and stands to become a classic account of one of the most devastating and destructive causes of death of our time.

‘An important, moving and informative book’ Guardian

‘For anyone in any way connected with a potential suicide this book is essential reading: that means all of us’ The Times

‘This is a lyrical, beautifully argued, deep and deeply troubling book’ Evening Standard

‘A profound and impassioned book which will stand as the authoritative study of suicide for many years’ William Styron

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - harrietbrown - LibraryThing

Kay Redfield Jamison writes about mental illness and the effect it has on people's lives with brilliance, understanding and compassion. You can't do better than to read her books on the topic of mental illness. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bness2 - LibraryThing

If you want to know the ins and outs of suicide, this is the book. Jamison reviews the history of suicide, what factors seem to predispose people to suicide, what to look for in people who are ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison was born on June 22, 1946. She received a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is considered one of the foremost experts on bipolar disorder, which she has had since her early adulthood. She is Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Honorary Professor of English at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She is the author of numerous books including An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness; Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide; and Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament.

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