“We Need to Talk About Suicide Out Loud”



Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 posterAccepting an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) at the 87th Academy Awards,  for their film, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, Ellen Goosenberg Kent (director) and Dana Perry (producer) highlight how important awareness and discussion about suicide are in helping counter associated stigma and loss.  After receiving the Oscar on Sunday night for their HBO documentary detailing the emotional strain faced by trained hotline responders as they work to provide support and intervention for troubled veterans calling the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 24- hour call center, Ms. Perry states, "We need to talk about suicide out loud to try to work against the stigma and silence around suicide because the best prevention for suicide is awareness and discussion and not trying to sweep it under the rug."

Directors Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Jon Alpert, Matthew O’Neill were awarded the 2013 Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media for their 2010 documentary film War-Torn: 1861-2010, a critical analysis of post-traumatic stress from the Civil War to Iraq and Afghanistan.  War-torn and Crisis Hotline both explore the impact that post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues, including suicide have on those serving in the military and veterans.  The Erik H. Erikson Institute for Education and Research at the Austen Riggs Center awards the Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media to honor and encourage sophisticated, accessible work on mental illness and recovery, and to stimulate conversation about the broad range of mental health issues, including how to dispel stigma and promote well-being. Curated by award-winning author Joshua Wolf Shenk, the Erikson Prize has been awarded to outstanding journalists, documentarians, and authors for the past five years.

Jane G. Tillman, PhD., the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director of the Erikson Institute, remarks, “The topic of suicide, particularly in our soldiers and veterans, is a difficult topic to address.  Bringing the problems citizens, soldiers and mental health professionals face into public awareness and conversation may help us develop more effective strategies for suicide prevention and intervention. On behalf of the Erikson Institute, I congratulate Ellen Goosenberry Kent and her colleagues for winning an Academy Award for their latest documentary.”


Further exploration of suicide

A community event on suicide, stigma and mental illness, featuring Mariel Hemingway

Robin Williams’ Suicide Brings the Conversation Out into the Open

The Importance of Research in Understanding Suicide

Responding to Clinicians After Loss of a Patient to Suicide