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.
Kay Redfield Jamison is Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as well as Honorary Professor of English at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She is the author of An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, Manic-Depressive Illness (with F. Goodwin) and Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide. She is the recipient of numerous national and international scientific awards, was distinguished lecturer at Harvard University in 2002 and the Litchfield lecturer at the University of Oxford in 2003. She is a John P. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow.
'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