S Word Stories

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In filmmaking there are hours — sometimes hundreds of hours — of footage that never makes it into the film. If Director Lisa Klein had it her way, the film would probably just be hundreds of hours long. But since she was overruled, we knew we had to share these stories in a new way.

When it comes to suicide, we just can’t afford to leave these critical conversations on the cutting room floor.

Welcome to the #SWordStories. We bring you ‘Stories’ and ‘Voices,’ personal essays and short videos speaking up about suicide from attempt survivors, experts, plus the ‘Latest News’ as we head out on the road to spread The S Word.  Please Note: Our #SWordStories series is moving to Tumblr. We are thrilled to join the Tumblr community. Follow us on Tumblr as we post new stories each week from the inspiring individuals we met while filming The S Word.

’13 Reasons Why Not’ is a collection of personal stories from people who have lived through suicidal thoughts. The name is coined from a controversial Netflix original series, 13 Reasons Why. The show tells the story of a high school girl who died by suicide after creating tapes explaining why she killed herself. Each tape mentions a different name, ascribing the blame of her suicide on 13 different individuals.

’13 Reasons Why Not’ DOES THE OPPOSITE – these are stories of people who have felt suicidal, and they have reached out to the people in their lives who are part of the reason they are alive.

Join the conversation and follow along with the #SWordStories on our Facebook, Twitter,  Instagram and Tumblr.

Warning: If you struggle with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, some of these stories could be potentially triggering. You can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Crisis Text Line by texting START to 741-741 for free and confidential support.

Western Michigan University Screening

By | 2018-02-12T11:19:41+00:00 February 12th, 2018|Latest News|

The Screening of The S Word and Q & A led by director Lisa Klein was part of Western Michigan University's Lee Honors College's Spring 2018 Lyceum Lecture Series: Mental Health Matters: College Student Mental Health in the 21st Century. We were so pleased to be part of the the ongoing discussion and Lisa was [...]

Indiefest San Francisco Screenings

By | 2018-02-08T15:59:26+00:00 February 9th, 2018|Latest News|

We had the pleasure of screening The S Word at Indiefest in San Francisco on February 3rd and February 7th.  Director Lisa Klein and Kelechi Ubozoh, who is featured in the film, led the Q&A's. Thank you to the Roxi Theater and the SF Indiefest for two great shows! SF Indiefest is a year-round, non-profit [...]

ESPN Radio Interview

By | 2018-02-08T13:41:07+00:00 February 8th, 2018|Latest News|

LaFern Cusack is an award-winning on-air talent and producer, generating awareness and social change through digital and multi-platform content. She is best known for producing and hosting 'The Experience with LaFern Cusack' on ESPN LA Radio as well as creating galvanizing business and social influencers. LaFern recently interviewed director Lisa Klein about The S Word [...]

Brookings Institution Screening

By | 2018-02-15T12:58:50+00:00 February 7th, 2018|Latest News|

The S Word was screened at The Brookings Institution in Washington DC to a packed house on Monday, February 5th.  It was an amazing night for all of us and we thank everyone at  Brookings  for making this such a wonderful event. Brookings also displayed the photography exhibit by Dese 'Rae Stage (Live Through This) [...]

California PTA Conference

By | 2018-01-25T11:03:26+00:00 January 25th, 2018|Latest News|

Director Lisa Klein and Community Outreach Director Patrica Harris DiLeva were pleased to attend the California PTA Legislation Conference in Sacramento on January  22nd to present information and have a conversation about The S Word. CAPTA connects families, schools and communities and is part of the foundation of the public-education system and a trusted messenger to [...]

USC Screening

By | 2018-02-05T11:07:38+00:00 January 19th, 2018|Latest News|

We had an amazing night at the University of Southern California screening presented by the School of Cinematic Arts on January 16th. Director Lisa Klein and producer Doug Blush are USC Film School alumni and it was with great pleasure that they screened The S Word in the Ray Stark Theater.  A thoughtful discussion led [...]

Psych Central Podcast Interview

By | 2018-01-10T09:30:33+00:00 January 10th, 2018|Latest News|

You can listen to The S Word director Lisa Klein this Thursday at 6:30 a.m. PST on the award-winning podcast, The Psych Central Show - with hosts with Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales.  The link below will be live on Thursday, January 11 for the interview: Listen to Psych Central Podcast. Hosted by Gabe [...]

The S Word Stories on Tumblr

By | 2018-01-10T09:30:58+00:00 December 13th, 2017|Latest News|

We’re pleased to announce The S Word Stories and Voices series of posts have moved to the Tumblr community. We invite you to follow us on Tumblr as we post new stories each week from the inspiring individuals we met while filming The S Word. You can still keep up with the Latest News on The S Word [...]

Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas TEDx Talk

By | 2017-12-07T15:51:05+00:00 December 7th, 2017|Latest News|

Our good friend and suicide prevention advocate, Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, recently did a talk  for TEDx Crestmoor Park Women called Stopping Suicide with Story. Take a look:   Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas knows first hand the challenges and stigma we face with suicide prevention and mental health. At the heart of all social movements [...]

Exeter Hospital Screening

By | 2017-11-20T15:09:54+00:00 November 20th, 2017|Latest News|

The S Word was screened by the Exeter Health Resources Suicide Prevention Initiative in partnership with Regional Public Health Networks, NAMI New Hampshire, Youth Suicide Prevention Assembly and NH Suicide Prevention Council. Joining director Lisa Klein for the panel discussion were Dese'Rae Stage and Craig Miller who are both featured in the film.  Thank you [...]

Kevin’s Song Conference Screening

By | 2017-12-19T13:54:15+00:00 November 16th, 2017|Latest News|

We were so pleased to be part of the Kevin's Song conference this year in Plymouth, Michigan. The S Word was screened before a full house and followed by a wonderful panel discussion. Sally Spencer Thomas, Jen Losey James, Katie Hardy, Karen Marshall, Amelia Lehto, and Lisa Klein at the conference. Sally [...]

Jewish Family Service Detroit Screening

By | 2017-11-17T13:35:35+00:00 November 14th, 2017|Latest News|

We had a full house at the Maple Theater for the screening presented by The Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit, followed by a panel discussion.  Proceeds from the screening benefited A Single Soul, a program at Jewish Family Service, that provides a range of suicide prevention, education and training. A big thank you to [...]

Los Angeles Post-Screening Q&A Video

By | 2017-11-01T13:07:47+00:00 November 1st, 2017|Latest News|

The hometown premiere of THE S WORD was part of the ArcLight Documentary Series held on Sunday, October 22nd in Santa Monica. The panel for the Q & A featured director Lisa Klein, producer Doug Blush and cast members Kelechi Ubozoh, Craig Miller and Jean Toh.  Marjan Safania, President of the International Documentary Association and [...]

Loss to Profound with Val

By | 2017-10-26T17:45:40+00:00 October 26th, 2017|Latest News|

Lisa was interviewed on October 24th by radio and TV host Val Uchendu for his show Loss to Profound with Val on the Universal Broadcasting Network.  Val's show airs live every Tuesday at 11:00 am. "The show's new segment, "Becoming Profound," is about turning your loss, an unfavorable event/incident into Positive to Inspire others or provide [...]

Being There to Respond

By | 2017-10-25T07:13:12+00:00 October 25th, 2017|Seeking Help, Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, "Being There to Respond,” mental health advocates DeQuincy Lezine, Dese’Rae L. Stage and Leah Harris help us learn how to be there to respond to individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Arclight Doc Series – Los Angeles Premiere

By | 2017-12-19T14:04:34+00:00 October 24th, 2017|Latest News|

On Sunday, October 22, THE S WORD made its hometown debut with a sold-out screening and Q&A session, as part of the ArcLight Theatre's prestigious Documentary Series. THE S WORD crew was joined by cast members Kelechi Ubozoh, Craig Miller, Jean Toh and Ann Taylor plus  friends and supporters at a post-screening celebration. Many thanks [...]

The S Word in Sacramento

By | 2017-10-24T11:35:35+00:00 October 23rd, 2017|Latest News|

It was a full day in Sacramento, topped off by a phenomenal screening attended by 500+ at the historic Sacramento Crest Theater! First up, Lisa presented clips of the film and conducted a Q&A for employees at the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). Next, Lisa, Joseph Robinson (Program Manager, Each Mind Matters) Stan Collins [...]

Being a Parent with Suicidal Thoughts

By | 2017-10-09T14:47:00+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Attempt Survivors, Hope|

I am a more compassionate parent to my son because I live with suicidal thoughts. And it took me until this moment to realize that. Since trying to end my life over 15 years ago, I have seen a lot of doctors, tried a lot of different therapies, and a lot of diagnoses have been [...]

Johnson County Suicide Prevention Screening

By | 2017-10-06T12:25:28+00:00 October 6th, 2017|Latest News|

We had an amazing time in Olathe, Kansas and want to thank everyone at the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition for hosting us and putting together the panel of local police and mental health professionals that accompanied Lisa for a great discussion. Earlier that morning, Lisa did a live interview with Charlie Keegan at KSHB-TV.  [...]

University of Utah Screening

By | 2017-09-26T12:34:41+00:00 September 26th, 2017|Latest News|

A very big thank you to the University of Utah for a wonderful screening. The Q & A that followed was especially emotional for director Lisa Klein when 9-year old Eli Najarian raised his hand and said the following: "Thank you for making this movie and helping me and future generations. "  Needless to say, [...]

Iowa City Screening

By | 2017-09-22T11:28:57+00:00 September 22nd, 2017|Latest News|

The Iowa Crisis Center screened The S Word in Iowa City at The Englert Theatre.  Beau Pinkham, the Director of Crisis Intervention Services, led a panel discussion with director Lisa Klein, Keri Neblett, an assistant professor in the UI’s School of Social Work and board member for the Iowa Chapter of the American Foundation for [...]

Hotel Room Drapes

By | 2017-09-20T10:15:35+00:00 September 20th, 2017|Attempt Survivors, Stories|

The dark hotel room lurked around me; the cold blue and gray carpet oozing the dank sani-odor of disinfectants and air freshener. Hotel rooms are the Rorschachs of the soul, commoditized dwelling units designed as homes away from homes but always failing. What you see in a hotel room is what you bring to the [...]

Port Townsend Film Festival Screenings

By | 2017-12-19T13:57:35+00:00 September 19th, 2017|Latest News|

A big thank you to the Port Townsend Film Festival for an amazing weekend! The S Word was screened twice followed by a Q&A with director Lisa Klein and producer Doug Blush.  We appreciate all the wonderful people who came out to support the film and this incredible film festival!

Oakland County Michigan Screening

By | 2017-09-29T14:43:42+00:00 September 14th, 2017|Latest News|

Oakland County, Michigan Youth Suicide Prevention hosted a screening of The S Word followed by a meaningful panel discussion. Thank you, Royal Oak Theater, for giving Lisa Klein a big hometown welcome!  Visit the Oakland Community Health Network for information about their programs. We also appreciate Maddie Forshee writing about our homecoming for CandGNews.  You [...]

Suicide Awareness and Prevention Conference

By | 2017-09-14T15:15:27+00:00 September 10th, 2017|Latest News|

The S Word was screened at the 2nd Annual Suicide Awareness and Prevention Conference: Shattering the Silence, held at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale, CA in recognition of  Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day.  Having courageous conversations about depression and suicide was the topic for the Q&A with director Lisa Klein via Skype from Detroit. Organized [...]

Screening for The Trevor Project

By | 2017-09-14T15:12:46+00:00 August 29th, 2017|Latest News|

The S Word was screened at the Trevor Foundation followed by a wonderful and heartfelt discussion lead by director Lisa Klein and Kelechi Ubozoh who is  featured in the film.  Thank you to the Trevor Project for all that you do! The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning [...]

SAMHSA Voice Awards

By | 2017-09-12T09:58:12+00:00 August 19th, 2017|Latest News|

The S Word is the proud recipient of a 2017 Voice Award.  Director Lisa Klein accepted the award and was joined on stage by Producer Doug Blush along with Kelechi Ubozoh and Ann Taylor who are both featured in film. The Voice Awards program honors consumer/peer/family leaders in recovery from mental health conditions and/or addictions. These [...]

Story Telling and Suicide Prevention

By | 2017-09-12T09:56:52+00:00 August 10th, 2017|Interviews, Latest News|

Director Lisa Klein was the guest on a recent Sally Spencer-Thomas podcast about why storytelling is so critical in effective suicide prevention. Intimate, vulnerable, inspiring stories let us know we are not alone. Stories of recovery allow us to see a road map before us that leads us out of our despair. To listen to [...]


By | 2017-08-10T09:00:56+00:00 July 5th, 2017|Attempt Survivors, Lived Experience, Stories|

I tried to kill myself in the summer of 2006. I was 23. I spent a month deeply entrenched in an exhaustive cycle of breaking up and getting back together with Emma*, the girl I'd loved for three years. She was cheating on me, but neither of us could sever ties with the other.

Ceiling in the Floor

By | 2017-05-01T14:34:09+00:00 May 2nd, 2017|Loss Survivor, Stories, Surviving Suicide|

When I was asked to speak at Brandon Toh’s memorial service, I had no idea of the journey it would take me on. The speech that I wrote ended up inspiring a full-length production called "Ceiling in the Floor, ” a theater/music/dance piece that tells the story of our friendship and features his incredible music. [...]

Suicide From the Other Side

By | 2017-04-18T09:35:05+00:00 April 18th, 2017|Loss Survivor, Stories, Understanding Suicide|

My flip phone says 3 missed calls 2 from home 1 from him I assume her phone died so she used his to call me and I quickly relive the night before up in the wee morning hours listening to her tears telling her it'll be okay get to yoga center yourself you only want to be with someone who [...]

The Suicide Layer Cake

By | 2017-04-07T16:28:47+00:00 April 11th, 2017|Attempt Survivors, Lived Experience, Stories|

Layer One - Lies The blackness arose from the lies. The layers of blackness slowly turned to grays and browns. Each color representing some new form of deflection, self-preservation, or justification to make sure I never had to face the pain directly. Those layers let in peaks of light and, at very rare times, happiness. [...]


By | 2017-03-01T16:46:12+00:00 March 1st, 2017|Lived Experience, Loss Survivor, Stories|

Read Director Lisa Klein's recently published piece on Mental Health on The Mighty. Looking back at loss and lessons learned along the way, “How could he have done that to us? It was so selfish.” I wondered this as well, until I started talking with and listening to people with lived experience – people who [...]

Crisis Hotlines

By | 2017-08-21T13:39:30+00:00 February 17th, 2017|Crisis Hotline, Experts, Seeking Help, Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, "Crisis Hotlines," Director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Dr. John Draper, Founder of Trans Lifeline, Greta Martela, and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's Shari Sinwelski tell us how hotlines have transformed suicide prevention, and continue to save lives every single day.

Teens, College & Suicide Prevention

By | 2017-08-21T13:40:02+00:00 February 17th, 2017|Attempt Survivors, College, Experts, Teens, Understanding Suicide, Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, "Teens, College & Suicide Prevention," suicide prevention advocate and attempt survivor, Misha Kessler, psychologist and CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, Dr. Kita Curry, and college suicide prevention advocacy group, Active Minds, discuss the impact mental health support on college campuses can make for students.

Seeking Help & Suicide Prevention

By | 2017-05-03T12:31:16+00:00 February 17th, 2017|Attempt Survivors, Experts, Seeking Help, Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, "Seeking Help & Suicide Prevention,” psychologist and CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, Dr. Kita Curry, suicide attempt survivor, Samantha Nadler, and leading suicidologist, Dr. Thomas Joiner, tell us why we can't do it all ourselves, and why asking for help doesn't make you "less than," it makes you human.

These Things I Do, That Others May Live

By | 2017-02-17T14:45:41+00:00 February 15th, 2017|Attempt Survivors, Experts, Lived Experience, Stories, Veterans|

From the very start of my training as a clinical psychologist, I was interested in suicide prevention and have wanted to work with individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts. As an early career psychologist, I worked with and provided treatment to hundreds of suicidal individuals. When I deployed to Iraq in 2009, however, my relationship with [...]

Did Somebody Lose Their Marbles?

By | 2017-02-17T16:46:03+00:00 February 8th, 2017|Attempt Survivors, Lived Experience, Stories, Surviving Suicide|

After shooting the film “The Crucible,” during which I had a manic episode, I returned to Los Angeles and had to find a new agent. I told him at my interview I had bipolar disorder. He said, “Oh, honey, I’ve had actors wander off sets for weeks on a binge. You are the least of [...]

Mentally Prepared: Fixing Mental Health Policies at Harvard

By | 2017-02-15T14:31:20+00:00 January 31st, 2017|College, Lived Experience, Stories|

My name is Nikki Daurio and I’m currently a sophomore at Harvard University. Last year, I developed depression and suicidal ideation so I decided to seek help. I noticed several flaws within the Mental Health Services on campus and encountered several paradoxes in the public health system. Following that, I decided to dig deeper and [...]

Finding Life After Death: The Day I Died Didn’t Take Away My Pain

By | 2017-02-10T09:31:46+00:00 January 26th, 2017|Stories, Suicide Prevention, Surviving Suicide|

Writing this is hard because even though I’ve spoken about my personal struggles in public and on video those are distant memories. Almost 18 years since my last attempt and 17 years since my last mental health break and hospitalization. I wonder will I lose business opportunities because this attempt is so fresh? How will [...]

I Don’t Deserve to Be Called a Survivor

By | 2017-02-10T09:31:52+00:00 January 17th, 2017|Stories, Suicide Prevention, Surviving Suicide|

I don’t deserve to be called a survivor. I’m just some guy. I never thought my story was worth telling. I never even thought I’d be alive right now. In October 2009, I had just returned home from serving in the army due to being discharged after a mental breakdown. The whole reason I had [...]

Editor and Camera Operator

By | 2017-02-10T09:32:02+00:00 January 3rd, 2017|Stories, Suicide Prevention, Surviving Suicide|

Suicide. A real curveball. It was a topic I hadn’t thought too hard about until I was asked to shoot video for a suicide documentary — one that has since been titled “The S Word.” I remember my initial coffee meeting with Lisa Klein, the director of the film. She asked me if I would [...]

The “S-Word” Can Also Be the “T-Word”

By | 2017-02-10T09:32:09+00:00 December 20th, 2016|Stories, Suicide Prevention, Surviving Suicide|

I have had the privilege of knowing and working alongside many people who have survived the loss of a loved one to suicide, and others who have survived their own period of suicidal crisis. I have learned so much from these inspirational individuals. Perhaps the most important thing I have learned is that, “the ‘S’ [...]

After Robin Williams

By | 2017-02-10T09:32:43+00:00 December 14th, 2016|Stories, Suicide Prevention, Surviving Suicide|

“Excerpts from Rabbi Stacy’s Yom Kippur sermon at Congregation Rodef Sholom in Northern California. Rabbi Stacy delivered this a couple of months after the death of Robin Williams, but the message is still relevant today. This is a piece that pushes through any religious leanings, and strikes the core feelings that surround preconceived notions of mental illness [...]

You — Yes, You — Can Save a Life

By | 2017-02-10T09:32:49+00:00 December 6th, 2016|Bipolar, Stories, Suicide Prevention, Surviving Suicide|

A few summers ago I was struggling financially, and as a result, I developed a severe ulcer. Then I found out I had cancer on my nose and would need reconstructive surgery. But the worst was yet to come: the man I loved left me—without a word, without any warning. This combination of events was [...]

Closure Blooms

By | 2017-02-10T09:32:54+00:00 November 28th, 2016|Bipolar, Stories, Suicide Prevention, Surviving Suicide|

I tried to kill myself at Yale University when I was a student there 51 years ago. Returning to the 50th Reunion of the class of 1966, the class I didn’t graduate with, I sought closure to what has always been a painful experience.  A friend from those undergraduate years invited me to come. I [...]

National Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

By | 2017-02-10T09:32:58+00:00 November 18th, 2016|Stories, Suicide Prevention, Surviving Suicide|

Any time there is a forum for people to talk about their shared experiences – that’s a good thing. Sometimes we just want to be around people who get it – it’s comforting. Having a day set aside to honor or memorialize people who have died by suicide or loved somebody who has, is a [...]

My Story, Rewritten

By | 2017-02-10T09:33:03+00:00 November 15th, 2016|Bipolar, Mental Health, Stories, Surviving Suicide|

Dark Days: I experienced many dark days from the ages of 4 to 40. I experienced various types of abuse and trauma during those years, and I began having symptoms of mental illness as early as 7. The symptoms weren’t always consistent, and my behavior was misconstrued as, “she is just being a bad girl,” [...]

And we’re LIVE!

By | 2017-02-10T09:33:09+00:00 November 7th, 2016|Stories, Suicide Prevention, Surviving Suicide|

"And we're LIVE!" For two years, I start just about every weekly Suicide Prevention Social Media Chat (#SPSM) livestream with those words. Those words weren't intentional. It's just how things turned out. If you want to do a regular social media event about a topic that everyone says no one wants to talk about, I [...]

The Iron Men of October

By | 2017-02-10T09:33:14+00:00 October 25th, 2016|Stories, Suicide Prevention, Surviving Suicide|

It is currently October 2016 and, as such, it has been nearly half a century since the formal study of understanding (and preventing) suicide was borne out into its own existence. In these past 50 years there have been many important discoveries and advances, but one thing has NOT changed, suicide remains a leading cause [...]


By | 2017-02-10T09:33:20+00:00 September 28th, 2016|Mental Health, Stories, Suicide Prevention|

I’ve lost 5 friends to it. I joined 1 of the 6 children’s response teams in the country and was floored at how inhumane I felt the “standardized” response we (society) continue to deploy. There is no intermediate response, so I wanted to empower everyone with the same skill that professionals have so they can [...]

This is the Day that Changed Me

By | 2017-02-10T09:33:31+00:00 September 23rd, 2016|Stories, Surviving Suicide|

It is 8 am.  I shower.  Dress in black.  Get in the car.  Smoke.   I’m shaky.  A little nervous.  I tell myself I’m not.  Deep breathes.  Focus on driving.  Getting closer.  Maybe 20 minutes.  I’m just a person.  I am nobody.  Am I safe?  Do I trust my doctor?  Do  I trust these people?  Do [...]

The Alchemy of Healing

By | 2017-02-10T09:33:42+00:00 September 9th, 2016|Mental Health, Stories, Surviving Suicide|

For the last fifteen years, I’ve been “out” as a suicide attempt survivor. I’ve shared publicly what it felt like to be unable to live in my own skin, and what it was like to be a patient receiving treatment after suicide attempts. I’ve shared countless times about how the systems that were supposed to [...]

Craig Miller: My Story

By | 2017-02-10T09:33:51+00:00 September 2nd, 2016|Stories, Surviving Suicide|

“Why?” As a suicide attempt survivor I can’t tell you how many times I have sat with people and tried to give them an answer to that question. When doctors would ask I would become frustrated, because they should be the ones with the answers. When family would ask I would feel guilty, because anything [...]

Understanding The S Word

By | 2017-06-30T14:31:31+00:00 August 26th, 2016|Stories, Surviving Suicide|

I’ve been here before. When the sadness is so thick it can choke me, and I have terrifying thoughts swirling in my mind trying to seduce me with an escape plan from my pain- it can be horrifying, especially because I am a suicide attempt survivor. Being a part of “The S Word” documentary has [...]

Changing the Conversation around Suicide

By | 2017-02-10T09:34:02+00:00 May 10th, 2016|Mental Health, Stories, Surviving Suicide|

My name is Lisa Klein and I am currently directing a documentary called The S Word. Try telling someone you’re making a film about suicide and see what their reaction is. A long, uncomfortable silence. A concerned look. Clearing of the throat. Then I launch into my spiel – “It’s not going to be a [...]

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