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  • Published: 2 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9781785043437
  • Imprint: Vermilion
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $40.00

When It Is Darkest

Why People Die by Suicide and What We Can Do to Prevent It




The first evidence-based mass market book self-help book on understanding and preventing suicide.

'Read this incredible book. I wept and I learnt' - Prof Tanya Byron

'This book comes from the heart' - Roman Kemp

'Compassionate, personal and thought-provoking' - Prof Steve Peters


When you are faced with the unthinkable, this is the book you can turn to.

Suicide is baffling and devastating in equal measures, and it can affect any one of us: one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds. Yet despite the scale of the devastation, for family members and friends, suicide is still poorly understood.

Drawing on decades of work in the field of suicide prevention and research, and having been bereaved by suicide twice, Professor O'Connor is here to help. This book will untangle the complex reasons behind suicide and dispel any unhelpful myths. For those trying to help someone vulnerable, it will provide indispensable advice on communication, stressing the importance of listening to fears and anxieties without judgment. And for those who are struggling to get through the tragedy of suicide, it will help you find strength in the darkest of places.

  • Published: 2 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9781785043437
  • Imprint: Vermilion
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $40.00

About the author

Rory O’Connor

Rory O’Connor is a Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Glasgow. He is the world leader on suicide research and prevention and has been working in this area for 25 years. He has published extensively in the field of suicide and self-harm and has contributed to five BBC documentaries on suicide and has a Twitter account @suicideresearch.

Praise for When It Is Darkest

An essential read. Honest and unflinching, but always thoughtful and compassionate, Rory O'Connor brings light to a subject that has for too long been in the shadows.

Dr Niall Boyce, Editor, Lancet Psychiatry

Prof O'Connor gives us a rare and truly affecting gift ... If you want to truly get to the heart of 'the big S question', read this incredible book. I wept and I learnt.

Prof Tanya Byron

I read [it] in a single sitting. What makes it so compelling is its unique combination of research, clinical, and deeply personal perspectives on one of the great societal challenges of our time. Rory's enthusiasm to make things better and his utter dedication to suicide prevention shines through.

Nav Kapur, Professor of Psychiatry and Population Health, University of Manchester

Rory is wise, unbelievably knowledgeable and an incredible force for good in such a complex area. He has changed my view so much on the way we should approach suicide and mental health healthcare, and he has also made me reconsider my own mental health and that of the people I love.

Dr Xand van Tulleken

In this heartfelt book, Rory sensitively helps us to understand the pain that drives suicide, as well as providing invaluable practical insights for those bereaved by suicide or supporting those who struggle to stay alive. Compassionate, personal and thought-provoking.

Prof Steve Peters, bestselling author of The Chimp Paradox

I was so impressed by the work that Rory does. If you want to really understand why people end their lives, please read this book. If you want to support a friend or someone in your family who is suicidal or who has lost a loved one to suicide, this is the book for you; it is full of helpful tips and brilliant advice. This book comes from the heart.

Roman Kemp

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