On a September day in Ibiza, the air scented with sea and pine, Matt Haig – then 24 – walked to a cliff edge planning to kill himself. He stopped one step away.
Reasons to Stay Alive, his account of this unravelling, the strange hell of depression and anxiety and his journey back from the edge, would become a bestseller 16 years later. Already a novelist by the time he wrote it, Haig saw the book as a “side project”, though it was anything but. Within weeks, he was getting 1,000 emails a day from grateful readers. Strangers stopped him on the street to thank him. Celebrity admirers included Steven Fry, Jo Brand and Ruby Wax – and Haig was catapulted into the role of mental health campaigner.