The psychology of suicide © Owen Gent

What psychology can tell us about suicide – Jesse Bering

Psychologist and science writer Jesse Bering on the factors that lead someone to take their own life, and how we might be able to help those who are at risk.

In this Science Focus Podcast, we discuss a topic that’s talked about all too little. Suicide is one of our major public health problems. According to a 2014 report from the World Health Organisation, someone ends their own life every 40 seconds, and suicide kills more people around the world than all wars and natural disasters combined. In the UK, it’s the leading cause of death in men under the age of 45.

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Jesse Bering is a psychologist and science writer who knows first-hand what it’s like to feel suicidal. In his new book A Very Human Ending (£16.99, Doubleday), he uses his personal experiences to explore the inner workings of the suicidal mind, looking at the factors that lead someone to take their own life, and how we might be able to help those who are at risk. He speaks to BBC Focus staff writer James Lloyd.

Please note that this podcast deals with topics that some people might find distressing.

If you have been affected by the themes discussed in this podcast, you can find support and information at samaritans.org. Samaritans is a safe place for anyone to talk about difficult feelings, 24 hours a day. Those in the UK and Ireland can phone free on 116 123.

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