Faced with suicide | KPBS Public Media

Premieres Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + Saturday, September 17 at 6 a.m. and noon on KPBS 2 / On demand with the PBS video app

Editor’s note: This story contains graphic descriptions that some readers may find disturbing.

If you are thinking about suicide or if you or someone you know is in an emotional crisis, call or text 988 anytime for free, confidential crisis support.

Every year, tens of thousands of Americans take their own lives – there were more than 45,000 suicide deaths in 2020 alone – and many more have suicidal thoughts. “Facing Suicide” a new documentary and impact campaign from Twin Cities PBS, explores the stories of Americans impacted by suicide and goes to the front lines of medical and scientific research to meet those working to help those at risk. Timely and informative, the project aims to elevate and de-stigmatize the topic of suicide, empowering audiences and communities with prevention strategies.

Narrated by Josh Charles, the film shares the deeply personal stories of those directly affected by suicide as well as insights from experts and researchers who are making a difference.

Understanding Suicide: Seeing the Signs

“Suicide affects virtually every demographic group in the United States, and rates have risen dramatically since the late 1990s,” said Michael Rosenfeld, project manager and executive producer. “But experts have learned a lot about suicide in recent years, offering insights that suggest new prevention strategies. We explore the latest discoveries in our film, woven with inspiring stories of hope and recovery.

Understanding suicide: how to react

“Facing Suicide” The documentary will introduce viewers to a diverse group of Americans who have been affected by suicide, including:

Courtesy of Twin Cities PBS/Lynn Millspaugh

A traditional dancer from the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana participates in a powwow. The Reserve has seen a record number of suicide deaths in recent years.
  • High school basketball champions on a Native American reservation in Montana, who responded to the suicide crisis in their community with a prevention campaign that went viral
  • The wife of a Midwestern farmer who is determined that she and her children live a full and hopeful life after the death of her husband
  • A black woman in Charlotte, North Carolina, who overcame her own mental health issues to become a suicide prevention advocate
Fonda Bryant sits with her aunt, who helped her when she was thinking about suicide.  Fonda is a survivor of depression and suicide and an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention.

Fonda Bryant sits with her aunt, who helped her when she was thinking about suicide. Fonda is a survivor of depression and suicide and an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention.

Understanding Suicide: Reasons for Hope

The film also features leading scientists, practitioners and innovative thinkers whose discoveries in neuroscience, genetics, psychology and other fields reveal the true nature of the problem as well as promising solutions.

Understanding suicide: causes and prevention

A complementary digital series, works to create a space of understanding, hope and action for young people whose lives have been touched by suicide. Hosted by Shani Tran, a licensed professional clinical counselor who has worked with clients struggling with self-harm and suicidal ideation across all communities and demographics, each episode features young adults who have attempted or considered suicide, describing how they found the support and hope they needed to recover. Through their reflections, they reveal the power of friends and peers to recognize warning signs, reach out and help:

How can I ask for help if I am thinking of suicide?

GET FREE 24/7 CONFIDENTIAL SUPPORT.  If you are thinking about suicide or if you or someone you know is in an emotional crisis, call or text 988 anytime for free, confidential crisis support.

GET FREE 24/7 CONFIDENTIAL SUPPORT. If you are thinking about suicide or if you or someone you know is in an emotional crisis, call or text 988 anytime for free, confidential crisis support.

National awareness partners for the “Facing Suicide” project:

Four of the nation’s leading suicide prevention organizations: the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the Jed Foundation (JED), and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE).

Dr. J. John Mann, MD, is director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and studies functional brain imaging, neurochemistry and molecular genetics to find the causes of depression and suicide.

Courtesy of Twin Cities PBS/Lynn Millspaugh

Dr. J. John Mann, MD, is director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and studies functional brain imaging, neurochemistry and molecular genetics to find the causes of depression and suicide.

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Credits:

Produced for Twin Cities PBS and PBS by Barrat Media, 1904 Media and JWM Productions. Major funding was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. Additional funding was provided by Eleanor “Ellie” Crosby; Keith and Mary Bednarowski; Peravid Foundation Agency; David and Karen Olson Family Foundation; and public viewers.

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