The Listener: Jesse Bering on why suicide is a distinctly human behaviour

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Taboo-breaking writer and academic Jesse Bering takes his personal struggle with suicidal feelings as the starting point for a timely examination of the complex problem of self-harm

Chapter one of Jesse Bering’s A Very Human EndingHow Suicide Haunts Our Species finds the author in a very dark and, he argues, very human place. The scene is pleasant enough: the woods behind Bering’s former home in upstate New York. He is walking the dogs and considering an oak tree, “built by a century of sun and dampness and frost”. It seems to beckon. “It was the perfect place, I thought, to hang myself.”