A Reason to Live

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Cynthia Salzman Mondell and Allen Mondell
Media Projects, Inc.
52 minutes adult version, 32 minutes high school/college version. DVD $199 for universities and corporations, $99 for high schools and community groups, $49 for public libraries.

The film title appears on wrinkled paper torn from a notepad. The statistics are white on black: Suicide is the third-leading cause of death in adolescence. Sixty percent of suicides are the result of depression. Suicide can be prevented.

Fade to black. The sound of a downpour. The scene opens on a lone car in a parking lot, engulfed in driving rain. Zoom in to the shaded profile of a young man in the driver’s seat, identifying himself on the phone as Charlie. He says he is planning to kill himself with the gun on his passenger’s seat. Through her headset, Billie responds, “Will you let me help you?”

Cut to Anna alone on the phone in the dark, telling a man in a headset that she’s having “really bad thoughts about ending it all.”

Handwriting scurries across the screen: “What does depression feel like?” Facing the camera, Lacy describes manic-depressive mood swings. The scene switches to Lacy’s parents, Jim and Jennifer. Her father says they always knew she’d have a tough time. Lacy’s attempted suicide wasn’t unimaginable.

In quick succession, eight more young people describe their low feelings, and parents share their reactions. Intercut with these interviews, Charlie and Anna continue speaking with their suicide hotline counselors. Their problems: Charlie’s girlfriend left him. Anna’s boyfriend placed photos of their lovemaking on the Internet.

By the end, Anna will see a therapist. Charlie drives home.

This sensitive, carefully-constructed film leaves an unforgettable impression. From bleak moments to rays of hope, it tells the truth. Purchasers receive both versions of the DVD, a Resource and Discussion Guide, hotline phone numbers and information for teens, young adults, families and gatekeepers. (214) 826-3863, http://www.mediaprojects.org.