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As suicides rise, young survivors make case for hope in MTV film

Film subject Emma is one of the young

Film subject Emma is one of the young people featured in MTV's "Each and Every Day," about young people and suicide.  Credit: MTV via AP

"Each and Every Day" represents studies in courage, both in life and in the MTV documentary about young people and suicide.

In frank and revelatory conversations, nine survivors recount what took them to the brink and how they got help for themselves and continue reaffirming their right to live.

With suicides by young people already on the rise in recent years and the relentless pandemic piling on pressure, a film giving voice to those who attempted or considered suicide takes on more urgency. It airs commercial-free at 9 p.m. Tuesday on MTV.

One young person, a college student named Hannah, didn't hesitate when she was invited to be part of the project from director Alexandra Shiva and executive producer Sheila Nevins. (The last names of the participants were omitted from the documentary.)

"It was an immediate ‘yes,’ " Hannah said in an interview. "I need to do this, I need to take this opportunity to tell my story. Hopefully, kids and people out there who watch will listen to my story. Hopefully, they see that I overcame so many obstacles and they can, too."

She emphasized what others in the film say: It's critical to realize that you can't go it alone.

"I was struggling really badly and I didn't reach out for help, and not reaching out for help almost killed me," said Hannah. "I really want them to see what not to do."

Family and friends also have a crucial role, Shiva said.

"If you think someone is thinking about suicide, ask them. Talking about it isn't going to put someone more at risk," she said.

According to a September 2020 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate nationally among people age 10 to 24 increased 57.4% from 2007 to 2018, from 6.8 per 100,000 in 2007 to 10.7 in 2018. By comparison, the report said, the rate had been statistically stable from 2000 to 2007.

The pandemic appears to be further undermining mental health in America, with young adults aged 18 to 24 among the groups most prone to thoughts of suicide, according to a survey released last August by the CDC.

"Each and Every Day" doesn't dwell on statistics or experts, instead giving the floor to the participants and their individual stories. There's also a group Zoom discussion that lets the young adults connect with each other and, indirectly, viewers.

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