Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK – causing more deaths in this group than car accidents, and even more than cancer. This means that the most likely thing to kill Dr. Alexander Van Tulleken is himself. And he wants to know why.

In Dying for Help, Dr. Van Tulleken reveals why people develop suicidal thoughts, and what can be done to help them. The film speaks with suicide attempt survivors, parents, and doctors and researchers working in suicide prevention, and explores the interventions which aim to save people’s lives.

For decades, researchers have tried to accurately predict who will die by suicide. Dying for Help shows how a powerful new technique, using algorithms, can predict a suicide death with up to 90% accuracy up to 2 years before it happens. The film explores physical solutions such as safety nets on bridges which can give emergency services time to intervene. It also tells the story of a group of doctors in Detroit whose prevention program in patients at the Henry Ford Health System reduced suicides to zero.

If you are in a crisis, call 1-833-456-4566, available 24/7, or visit Crisis Services Canada for text or chat options.

Credits (Click to expand)

Presented by

Alexander Van Tulleken

Horizon wishes to thank

Ordnance Survey






Patrick Acum

Nick Bennett


Colin Lang

Sean Demers

Mike McCue

Richard Munns

Dubbing Mixer

Gerrit Swanepoel


Paul Frith


Boyd Nagle

Archive Researcher

Freddie Nottidge

Production Team Assistant

Nastassja Wallis

Production Co-ordinator

Emma Hyland

Production Executive

Laura Davey

Production Manager

Raewyn Dickson

Assistant Producer

Annie Mackinder

Film Editors

Ian Garvin

Tony Quinn

Series Producers

Rob Liddell

Zoe Heron

Produced & Directed by

Natalie Hewit



BBC Studios

The Science Unit