For “how to” books on suicide, see Further reading. For books on Euthanasia, see the section on Euthanasia & assisted suicide. For more books on combating depression (a couple listed below), see

Title Author Description
Still Me Christopher Reeve I put this book first on the list as it is an inspirational read. It is the autobiography of the man who played Superman, and details how, even after he became a quadriplegic, he directed his first film, started the Christopher Reeve Foundation to fund spinal-cord-repair research, lobbied Congress, and crisscrossed the country on speaking engagements.
Christopher Reeve: Hope in Motion Matthew Reeve (Director) An intimate portrait focusing on Chris’ remarkable recovery of movement and his constant fight to regain mobility. This DVD contains two documentaries, Hope In Motion and Choosing Hope, filmed by his son Matthew Reeve.
Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness Jon Kabat-Zinn A practical, step-by-step meditation guide based on the author’s experience with thousands of people who have participated in a course called the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
The Depression Workbook Dr. Mary Ellen Copeland Based on extensive research, this text contains interactive exercises that provide guidance on essential coping skills and help readers make real changes in their lives.
Exercise beats depression Jim Johnson According to studies from randomized controlled trials, exercise has been shown to be as effective as Zoloft, cognitive therapy or psychotherapy. This book explains how much exercise is needed to feel less depressed, and guides the reader through a step-by-step program.
Dying With Dignity Derek Humphry This book puts the somewhat confusing ethics & legality of the right to die in perspective & serves as an important companion volume to Final Exit. Humphry, founder of the National Hemlock Society, helps readers work their way through the labyrinth of complex issues which comprise the subject. He also discusses the effect that major mercy killing cases have had – involving individuals like Roswell Gilbert, Dr. Peter Rosier, Nancy Cruzan, & Karen Ann Quinlan – & the lessons these cases have taught.
Jean’s Way


Derek Humphry The classic love story of a young couple divided by the death of the wife. Jean Humphry’s suffering is so great that she asks her husband, Derek, to help her die. He brings her lethal medications, which she takes in his presence. This 1978 book sold worldwide, a bestseller in Britain and Australia, presaged the rise of the euthanasia movement in the 1980s.
Let Me Die Before I Wake Derek Humphry A collection of moving, true stories about terminally ill people who chose to die on their own terms. Humphry, founder of the National Hemlock Society, provides valuable information on the proper use of lethal drugs to accomplish a death with dignity.
Last Wish Betty Rollin In this book TV journalist Rollin chronicles her mother’s two-and-a-half year illness with ovarian cancer, from the diagnosis to her decision to end her unrelenting pain and nausea through suicide. The details of Rollin’s role in helping to carry out her mother’s last wish by providing information, support, and the means necessary to act upon the decision are widely known through prepublication media coverage. As in her earlier book, First You Cry (1976), about her own breast cancer and mastectomy, Rollin’s crisp reportorial writing contrasts sharply with the painfully personal and highly controversial subject matter.
First You Cry Betty Rollin The inspiring, true story about how one woman transformed the most terrifying ordeal of her life into a new beginning. This unique memoir serves as a fascinating retrospective of the twenty-five years since Rollin’s first mastectomy and, given the continuing threat of breast cancer, tells a story that will inform all women as it touches them with its honesty and even, humour.
The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath Plath was an excellent poet but is known to many for this largely autobiographical novel. The Bell Jar tells the story of a gifted young woman’s mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in the early 1950s. The real Plath committed suicide in 1963 and left behind this scathingly sad, honest and perfectly-written book, which remains one of the best-told tales of a woman’s descent into insanity.
Letters Home Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath’s correspondence, addressed chiefly to her mother, from her time at Smith College in the early 1950s up to her suicide in London in February 1963. In addition to her capacity for domestic and writerly happiness, these letters also hint at her potential for deep despair.
Mishima: A Biography John Nathan At forty-five, Yukio Mishima was the outstanding Japanese writer of his generation, celebrated both at home and abroad for The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea. In 1970 he startled the world by stepping out onto a balcony in Tokyo before an assembly of troops and plunging a sword into his abdomen; a disciple then beheaded him, completing the ritual of hara-kiri. John Nathan’s riveting biography traces the life of this tortured, nearly superhuman personality.
The Oxford Book of Death D J Enright The inescapable reality of death has given rise to much of literature’s most profound and moving work. D J Enright’s wonderfully eclectic selection presents the words of poet and novelist, scientist and philosopher, mystic and sceptic. And alongside these “professional” writers, he allows the voices of ordinary people to be heard; for this is a subject on which there are no real experts and wisdom lies in many unexpected places.
On Life After Death Elisabeth Kubler-Ross The classic collection of essays on death, dying, and the afterlife, with frank and compassionate advice for those dealing with terminal illness or the death of a loved one, and a compelling message of hope to the living, so that they may grow stronger from tragedy and live life to the fullest.
Prescription Medicide: the Goodness of Planned Death Jack Kevorkian Kevorkian gained notoriety when he performed the first publicly acknowledged “physician-assisted suicide” by helping Janet Adkins, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease, take her own life. The method of death was the Mercitron, the “suicide machine” Kevorkian invented, which enables a person to self-administer a lethal injection. In this self-dramatizing, often strident manifesto he argues that “medicide”, his term for doctor-assisted suicide, is an ethical option that should be extended not only to the infirm or terminally ill, but also to inmates on death row. Condemned prisoners, he maintains, should, if they choose, be executed via general anaesthesia, with the option of donating organs or having their intact bodies used for medical experimentation.
The Savage God: A Study of Suicide A Alvarez The aims of this fascinating, compassionate book are broadly cultural and literary, though the narrative is rooted in personal experience. “To write a book about suicide . . . to transform the subject into something beautiful – this is the forbidding task that Alvarez set for himself”.
Suicide and Attempted Suicide Erwin Stengel The book provides an interesting discussion concerning all aspects of suicide. Of course outdated, however a lot of the information still applies.
The Woman Said Yes Jessamyn West In a memoir filled with compassion and deep resolve, West celebrates the lives of three women – her strong Quaker mother, her beloved and courageous sister, and herself – and gives personal insight into her own battle to survive tuberculosis.
Suicide: A Study in Sociology Emile Durkheim Using the case study example of suicide rates, Durkheim undertakes to show that social structure has a profound and powerful influence on almost everything that individuals do. While the translation is sometimes awkward, Durkheim’s work is impressive in its methods, ambitions, and execution.
Suicide: The Gamble with Death Gene & David Lester Gene and David Lester take a realistic look at the alarming suicide rate in the USA and investigate some of the reasons why so many people become suicide victims. Based on case studies taken from centers for suicide research and prevention and on the findings of noted psychologists, this book reveals how such factors as age, sex, race, and alcohol and drug use affect suicide attempts and actual completions.
Double Exit: When Aging Couples Commit Suicide Together Ann Wickett Description not available.