How Not to Kill Yourself attempts to give people with a suicidal mindset a reason not to do it—at least not today. Overall, I think it achieves that goal.
Though obvious recommendations, like call a friend or just wait one more day, are discussed, many new ideas are also included. There are sophisticated philosophical reasons described that I haven’t heard of before. For example, how sure are you that killing yourself will stop the pain you are feeling? What if death is not sweet oblivion but instead a Christian’s burning Hellscape or a Buddhist’s endlessly worse reincarnation? In fact, what if your suicidal thoughts are left over from a self-inflicted death from a previous life? Some really deep thoughts populate this book that may haunt you for years.
While this book’s title implies it is only for the person with suicidal thoughts, it is also an excellent resource for those impacted by the suicides or attempted suicides of others. It explains some useful ways to approach a suicidal person that are empathetic without being judgmental.
Generally, a suicidal person does not want to read an entire book about it beforehand. The crisis is now! However, the author has provided a relatively short but excellent appendix (II) where real experts provide concrete advice. It should definitely be read first if suicide is imminent. The author also provides a list of ten questions that have worked for him to avoid suicide in his own life. In addition, there is another appendix (I) that contains phone numbers and webpages for help (along with helpful comments about which will result in an ambulance, in case you don’t want that kind of help).
How Not to Kill Yourself is such a valuable resource. Sure you can Google suicide but many of the results are sponsored ads for in-patient treatment, or worse, a graphic description of how best to kill yourself. This book is a thinking person’s answer to suicidal ideation, and let’s face it, suicides tend to be done by overthinkers. It’s not to be missed. 5 stars!
Thanks to Pantheon and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.