Turning Points: An Extraordinary Journey into the Suicidal Mind


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In this remarkable book, Professor Diego De Leo, distinguished Italian psychiatrist and world leading researcher into suicide prevention, takes us on a journey to the edge of reason and through into the light of salvation. We hear the voices of desperate traumatised people pushed to the limit of suicide who, via a stroke of fate, had their lives spared. We also hear from others left behind after suicide. Their personal stories told in the form of letters to Diego reveal much about the human spirit – its ability to find a way back from the darkest of places where everything seems lost. As Diego himself explains this is not a manual on psychopathology but instead a very human look at the deep complexities of suicidal behaviour and the struggle for psychological science to understand this worst of human tragedies. While sometimes taken in a coldly rational way, the decision to commit suicide is one built out of years of living. As such, Diego allows the reader to follow each of the 12 life stories in rich personal detail, adding his own interpretations and comments as a roadmap to guide the reader on the many messages these stories reveal.


  • Prologue
  • Studying Suicidal Behaviours
  • Sharks and Dolphins
  • A Job in the Army
  • Proxies
  • The Box of Biscuits
  • My Beautiful Grapes
  • A Busy Husband
  • The Missed Concert
  • Country Living
  • Afternoons on the Verandah
  • A Familiar Smell of Garlic
  • The Dream of a Life

Author Bio:

Diego de Leo is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention at Griffith University, Brisbane, where he also directs the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Suicide Prevention. He is a graduate of the University of Padua School of Medicine (Italy), where he specialised in psychiatry. He obtained his PhD in Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Leiden (the Netherlands) and was awarded a Doctor of Science for his work on suicide and psychogeriatrics. Winner of several international awards for research and professional practice, Professor de Leo is Past President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and cofounder and Past President of the International Academy for Suicide Research. Prof. De Leo has been the initiator of the World Suicide Prevention Day. Widely published, he is Editor-in-Chief of the journal CRISIS. Turning Points is his first book for a general audience.


One of the most important books you will read in your life. – Dawn O’Neil CEO Lifeline Australia

Essential reading for anyone who is interested in understanding the wonderful resilience of the human spirit, even in the most seemingly dire of circumstances.- Prof. Brian Mishara, International Association for Suicide Prevention

I highly recommend this book for families, parents, young people and health practitioners. – Leonie Young, CEO, beyondblue

A must for researchers, practitioners, and those with lived experience. – Associate Professor Michael Dudley, Suicide Prevention Australia

A great resource for students and others wanting to understand more about helping people stay alive. – Barbara Hocking, Executive Director, SANE Australia