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Reasons to Stay Alive

Matt Haig

Lisa Gardner, customer services information assistant

Reason you chose this book

Haig is an exceptional author, 'Last Family in England' and 'Dead Father's Club' are brilliant modern retellings of Shakespeare's Henry IV and Hamlet. 'Reasons to Stay Alive' is very different from his other work though, a lot more personal, but a book I think every adult should read.


At a time when there is still so much stigma around mental health, depression, and anxiety, Haig has managed to write an account of these issues in a wholly accessible way. The book begins with the first time Haig was crippled by his depression, and trapped by his anxiety. Bed bound, and feeling guilty for feeling as he did, Haig explores the stigma surrounding these issues, and recounts his research, experience, and understanding of depression. He looks at treatment, weighs up the realities of starting medication, and explores reasons to stay alive. For anyone who wants to understand depression, suicide, or anxiety better, this book is essential. If you work in mental health or come into contact with people who are depressed, you should read this book. I don’t believe there is any other writer that can quite capture how these conditions truly feel in quite the way Haig does. It can be a lonely road, but Haig gets it, and there's comfort in that.

December's page turners

Read all of December's book reviews.