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Cry of Pain: Understanding Suicide and the Suicidal Mind

Mark Williams

4 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, Cultural studies, Social issues & processes, Coping with death & bereavement, Popular psychology

Why do people commit suicide? Is it a cry for help or a cry of pain? In this thought-provoking book Mark Williams offers new perspectives on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

Suicide presents a real and often tragic puzzle for the family and friends of someone who has committed or attempted suicide. 'Why did they do it?' 'How could they do this?' 'Why did they not see there was help available?'

For therapists and clinicians who want to help those who are vulnerable and their families, there are also puzzles that often seem unsolvable. What is it that causes someone to end his or her own life, or to harm themselves: is it down to a person's temperament, the biology of their genes, or to social conditions? What provides the best clue to a suicidal person's thoughts and behaviour? Each type of explanation, seen in isolation, has its drawbacks, so we need to see how they may fit together to give a more complete picture.

Cry of Pain examines the evidence from a social, psychological and biological perspective to see if there are common features that might shed light on suicide. Informative and sympathetically written, it is essential reading for therapists and mental health professionals as well as those struggling with suicidal feelings, their families and friends.

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Praise for Cry of Pain: Understanding Suicide and the Suicidal Mind

  • Cry of Pain is a wonderful book that provides a highly readable, original and compassionate account of an issue that we sometimes find it difficult to talk about. It bridges the gaps between a number of perspectives: the lay and the professional; the personal and the societal; the psychiatric and the social. It comes up with what is essentially a unified theory of suicidal behaviour. This book will be of interest to those in health and other caring roles, as well people who suffer suicidal ideas, and their families. Professor Williams makes the statistics and research on suicidal behaviour highly accessible but this is no dry textbook - it contains very helpful messages about the causes of suicide and, ultimately, very hopeful messages about its prevention - Professor Nav Kapur, Professor of Psychiatry and Population Health, Centre for Suicide Prevention, University of Manchester, UK

  • At the beginning of this volume Mark Williams says 'this book aims to help people come to a deeper understanding of the suicidal mind'. Readers will conclude that he has achieved unqualified success in this ambition. The understanding he provides ranges, for example, from social to biological explanations, from psychiatric to genetic influences, and from historical attitudes and laws to current dilemmas, including euthanasia, assisted suicide and suicide bombers. Overriding the wide-ranging explanations for suicide, the author gradually explains the psychological theories of suicidal behaviour for which he and his colleagues are renowned. This leads on quite naturally to therapeutic and prevention initiatives.

  • Readers of this book, be they clinicians, researchers or lay persons, will put it down with a greatly enriched understanding of the many factors which may lead a person to thinking or acting on suicidal thoughts. The author deserves the utmost praise from those of us working in this difficult field for providing this highly accessible and engaging account of the tragedy of suicide whilst, at the same time, leaving readers with a sense of optimism about the opportunities to prevent suicide and to help those at risk. - Keith Hawton, Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Centre for Suicide Research, University of Oxford

  • Anyone who has read the work of Professor Mark Williams or attended his presentations will expect a book that is clearly written and accessible, sympathetic and compassionate. This book undoubtedly lives up to those expectations.

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Mark Williams

Professor Mark Williams is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University. He co-developed mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), is co-author of the international bestseller The Mindful Way Through Depression and author of Cry of Pain: Understanding suicide and the suicidal mind.

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