S Word Stories

/S Word Stories

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.

’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.

Live Through This in People Magazine

By |2019-10-30T15:17:25-08:00October 30th, 2019|Latest News|

Our very own Dese'Rae Stage and her Live Through This project were recently featured in People Magazine. The full-length piece includes background information on Des and the organization, as well as some of her portraits of attempt survivors, accompanied by their stories. Hopefully readers will walk away with a better understanding of suicide after hearing [...]

Screening in Pittsburgh

By |2019-09-13T09:56:35-08:00September 13th, 2019|Latest News|

Lisa took The S Word to Pittsburgh, PA recently for a screening organized by UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. The standing-room-only audience participated in a spirited post-screening conversation that emphasized peer to peer support. One special highlight of the evening was an impromptu performance by panelist Jamie Kunning, who performed a heartfelt rendition on the ukulele [...]

Social Media

By |2019-09-03T07:42:56-08:00September 3rd, 2019|Voices|

Keris Myrick, Wilma Townsend, Amelia Lehto and Dr. Bill Schmitz discuss how social media fits into the suicide prevention dialogue.

There’s Help

By |2019-08-06T11:03:34-08:00August 6th, 2019|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, Kelechi Ubozoh, attorney Skip Simpson and Leah Harris share their thoughts on the value of hope in otherwise dire circumstances.

We’ve Been Too Patient

By |2019-07-29T14:02:27-08:00July 29th, 2019|Latest News|

Kelechi Ubozoh, who is featured in The S Word, and L. D. Green are the co-editors of a new book titled We’ve Been Too Patient: Voices from Radical Mental Health--Stories and Research Challenging the Biomedical Model.  A collection of 25 unflinching stories and essays from the front lines of the radical mental health movement. While [...]

Reel Mind Film Series

By |2019-05-29T16:56:15-08:00May 29th, 2019|Latest News|

Our very own Kelechi Ubozoh traveled to Rochester, NY to be a part of the 11th Annual Reel Mind Theater and Film Series. This month-long festival features films, performances and discussions that address the social stigma of mental illness and behavioral disorders, while providing a message of hope that recovery is possible. THE S WORD [...]


By |2019-05-21T11:11:43-08:00May 21st, 2019|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, Andrew Solomon, Dr. Kita Curry and Katie Hardy discuss the influence of the media on suicide prevention.

Support Networks

By |2019-04-30T15:36:11-08:00April 30th, 2019|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, Kelechi Ubozoh, Janet Bivens, Leah Harris and Dr. John Draper discuss how anyone can be there for someone when they are struggling - not just mental health professionals.

The S Word Goes to Lithuania

By |2019-04-24T16:12:22-08:00April 24th, 2019|Latest News|

Craig Miller and I brought THE S WORD to Lithuania through the American Film Showcase, a film diplomacy program organized by the U.S. Department of State and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. The trip was beyond any and all expectations I may have had going in. Lithuania is a country with [...]

Talk to Someone

By |2019-04-09T09:41:29-08:00April 9th, 2019|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, Kelechi Ubozoh, Dr. Craig J. Bryan and Wilma Townsend discuss the life-saving significance of talking to someone about your struggles.

Asking For Help

By |2019-02-25T16:20:44-08:00February 26th, 2019|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, Dese'Rae Stage, Kelechi Ubozoh, Dr. John Draper and Shari Sinwelski discuss the often life-saving importance of asking for help.


By |2019-02-12T11:49:49-08:00February 12th, 2019|Stories|

Everyone has their one “go-to” person. You know, the person you call when you’re happy, sad, angry, bored, scared and everything else in-between. The person who listens when you need it, talks when you don’t want to and believes in you when you have a hard time believing in yourself. For my entire life, this [...]

Our Stories

By |2019-02-06T07:43:03-08:00February 6th, 2019|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Our Stories,” psychologist Dr. Bill Schmitz and attempt survivor and mental health advocates Craig Miller and Leah Harris talk about how life can change and we can come back from the bottom, with a focus on connection and societal change.


By |2019-01-16T16:48:48-08:00January 15th, 2019|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Empathy,” CEO of Didi Hirsch, Dr. Kita Curry and attempt survivors Kelechi Ubozoh, Kelly Davis, Misha Kessler and Leah Harris discuss the importance of empathy and understanding versus judging and shaming when talking to people about suicide.

O Magazine Interviews

By |2018-12-18T16:24:25-08:00December 18th, 2018|Latest News|

The December issue of O Magazine published an article titled "Inside America's Suicide Crisis,"  featuring Dese'Rae Stage, Kelechi Ubozoh and Ann Taylor of The S Word. Take a look at the article: "After surviving a suicide attempt at age 23, Dese’Rae Stage felt profound loneliness.“I was too ashamed to talk about it,” she says. “In [...]

Self-Compassion and Teen Suicide: A Mother’s Quest to Break Barriers

By |2018-12-12T07:54:32-08:00December 11th, 2018|Stories|

My son Benji reminds me of Lovejoy, the glowing green comet that visited earth a few years ago for the first time in 11,500 years. Both are beautiful and rare, other-worldly phenomena transiting my life. Benji died by suicide on May 7, 2015, at age 15. I still struggle sometimes to believe this isn’t just [...]

Transformation Twitter Chat

By |2018-12-10T17:43:17-08:00December 10th, 2018|Latest News|

The S Word director Lisa Klein will participate in #ElevateTheConvo on December 13 at 5:00 PM PST/8:00 pm EST.  #ElevateTheConvo is a much needed conversation about resilience, recovery and transformation after a suicide crisis. Join us on Twitter with the hashtag #ElevateTheConvo. Discussion will be moderated by Sally Spencer-Thomas (@sspencerthomas).

Youth Suicide

By |2018-12-04T20:02:31-08:00December 4th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Youth Suicide,” college students and Active Minds representatives Sarah Abelson and Erica Cooke, Director of Counseling (Bridgewater University) Randy Hook, attempt survivors Kelly Davis, Leah Harris and Misha Kessler, and actress and loss survivor Mariette Hartley muse over what individuals would miss if they took their own lives.

Media Exploitation

By |2018-11-13T09:03:28-08:00November 14th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Media Exploitation,” attempt survivors Craig Miller, Dese’Rae Stage, Leah Harris and Kelechi Ubozoh discuss potential harms of the “if it bleeds, it leads” style of journalism that is often used when describing a suicide or suicide attempt.

Screenings in Ohio

By |2018-10-30T09:24:01-08:00October 30th, 2018|Latest News|

The S Word was back in Ohio recently, with Lisa presenting the film at the Performing Arts Center at Kent State University, hosted by NAMI of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties. Earlier in the day, Lisa met with students at Dover High School, visiting several classes and participating in meaningful discussions with the kids. Local community [...]


By |2018-10-22T09:50:32-08:00October 24th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Loss,” loss/attempt survivor and suicide prevention advocate Iden Campbell, artist David Best, and loss survivors Shauna and Jean Toh contemplate loss and how to turn pain into purpose.

Screening in Jakarta, Indonesia

By |2018-10-21T12:26:16-08:00October 21st, 2018|Latest News|

On Tuesday, October 16 THE S WORD participated in our first screening for the American Film Showcase. The film was shown at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, followed by a Q & A with Lisa participating via Skype. AFS brings award-winning contemporary American films to audiences around the world, offering a view of American [...]

St. Joseph’s Health-St. Mary

By |2018-10-05T10:27:24-08:00October 5th, 2018|Latest News|

On Thursday, September 27, THE S WORD traveled to Victorville, CA for a screening hosted by St. Joseph's Health, St. Mary and student organizations from Valley Victor College where the event was held. The afternoon began with a resource fair, followed by a welcome from Dr. Gloria Peak, Director of St. Joseph's/St. Mary. The post-screening [...]


By |2018-10-02T09:19:23-08:00October 3rd, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Connectedness,” Kelechi Ubozoh and Leah Harris (attempt survivors and mental health advocates) and psychologist Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas discuss how to talk about the importance of relating to connecting with our community. We are our brothers and sisters' keepers.

KGO-TV San Francisco Interview

By |2018-09-28T08:50:38-08:00September 28th, 2018|Latest News|

Director Lisa Klein and Kelechi Ubozoh were featured in a great piece from KGO-TV in San Francisco recently that focused on suicide prevention. Lisa and Kelechi were in the Bay Area for a screening of the film in Martinez, hosted by Contra Costa County Health Services. It was a packed house for the film which [...]

Gwynn’s Song: Leaving Unmasked Faces

By |2018-09-20T10:02:07-08:00September 26th, 2018|Stories|

My name’s Gwynn Lanning and I’m a musician, composer, Suicide prevention advocate, and LGBTQ rights activist. I’ve been composing music for ten years and view it as both a profession and a kind of personal/communal therapy. Over the years, I’ve played at LGBTQ community events, senior citizens homes, and local shops. My goal as a [...]

Talk About It

By |2018-11-17T10:33:40-08:00September 12th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Talk About It,” best-selling author Andrew Solomon and psychologists Dr. Thomas Joiner and Dr. Kita Curry posit that talking about suicide reduces the fear surrounding getting help and moving forward.

Chautauqua Institution Film Festival

By |2018-08-24T10:42:08-08:00August 24th, 2018|Latest News|

The S Word was honored to have been a part of the Chautauqua Institution's week of programming entitled Documentary Film as Facilitator: Storytelling, Influence and Civil Discourse." This theme was explored through Chautauqua’s renowned lecture series, that featured talks by famed documentarian Ken Burns and Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday. The S Word screened [...]

The Suicide Zone

By |2018-08-21T09:54:10-08:00August 22nd, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “The Suicide Zone,” psychologists Dr. April Foreman, Dr. Bill Schmitz and Dr. John Draper discuss a variety of ways in which people can move past the suicide zone and toward a life worth living.

The Medical Model

By |2018-07-31T09:29:51-08:00August 1st, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “The Medical Model,” lead suicidologist Dr. Thomas Joiner, attempt survivor and mental health advocate Iden Campbell and attorney Skip Simpson discuss what the medical profession can learn from people with lived experience.

Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Screening

By |2018-07-17T15:14:45-08:00July 16th, 2018|Latest News|

Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane hosted a free community screening of The S Word followed by a panel discussion on July 11th.  We want to thank everyone involved for putting this wonderful event together and give a special shout out to the women of the California HOPE organization. Lisa first met Supervisor Zane when she [...]

Collective Responsibility

By |2018-07-09T10:51:55-08:00July 11th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation “Collective Responsibility,” attempt survivor and mental health advocate Leah Harris, best-selling author Andrew Solomon and psychologist Dr. April Foreman talk about what we can do as a community to help others through a suicidal crisis.

Dese’Rae and Kelechi on CNN and CBS This Morning

By |2018-06-26T11:27:32-08:00June 26th, 2018|Latest News|

The sad news of several recent high-profile deaths by suicide has sparked a much-needed national conversation. The S Word's Dese'Rae Stage and Kelechi Ubozoh participated in two recent network television programs on the subject. Dese'Rae was a part of "Finding Hope: Battling America's Suicide Crisis," a CNN Town Hall hosted by Anderson Cooper. To view [...]

Surviving Loss

By |2018-06-19T15:02:59-08:00June 20th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Surviving Loss,” loss survivors Katie Hardy, Amelia Lehto, Shirlee Zane and Jean, John and Shauna Toh consider the seemingly interminable questions that arise from the suicide of a loved one.


By |2018-05-30T07:20:12-08:00May 30th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation “Unmasking,” attempt survivors Kelechi Ubozoh, Leah Harris and Iden Campbell and psychologist Dr. April Foreman discuss the power of taking off the mask and ending the silence surrounding suicide - opening a much-needed conversation that could save lives.

Directing Change Awards

By |2018-05-29T13:28:20-08:00May 29th, 2018|Latest News|

More than 1,000 guests attended the red-carpet awards ceremony and top films screening in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 22nd to celebrate the achievement of young filmmakers across the state. Lisa was honored to receive a Directing Change award for Outstanding Film with Messaging around Suicide Prevention. Lisa was also thrilled to hand out [...]

Stanislaus County Community Screenings

By |2018-05-21T15:50:38-08:00May 21st, 2018|Latest News|

We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the Stanislaus County Suicide Prevention Advisory Board for all their efforts in presenting four free community screenings of The S Word in downtown Modesto, Ceres, Patterson and West Modesto. Every screening featured Spanish subtitles and the Q & A panel discussion with Lisa in Ceres [...]

Wyoming Governor’s Conference

By |2018-05-15T09:54:56-08:00May 15th, 2018|Latest News|

Lisa had the honor of presenting The S Word at the the Third Annual Governor’s Conference in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Q & A afterward reflected an engaged and deeply thoughtful audience reaction. Thank you Richard Barrett for inviting us and for the warm reception. And, as you can see, Lisa got to meet the governor. [...]

Self Care

By |2018-06-04T15:07:17-08:00May 10th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Self Care,” attempt survivor and mental health advocate Leah Harris, loss survivor and mental health advocate Mariette Hartley and artist David Best share their stories of self care and connecting with others and how those simple things can save lives and revive the human spirit.

Detroit Free Press Feature on The S Word

By |2018-04-17T11:01:16-08:00April 17th, 2018|Latest News|

In advance of our two screenings at the FREEP Film Festival, Ellen Piligian, wrote a wonderful article about Lisa and The S Word for The Detroit Free Press: Lisa Klein knows the silence of suicide all too well. “The S Word,” her documentary screening Saturday and Sunday at Freep Film Festival, examines suicide through stories [...]


By |2018-06-04T15:10:41-08:00April 11th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Hope,” attempt survivor and suicide prevention advocate Eduardo Vega, attempt survivor and speaker Craig Miller, and psychologist Dr. Bill Schmitz talk about how essential hope is in the battle against suicide and suicidal ideation.

Port Townsend High School

By |2018-04-05T12:06:45-08:00April 4th, 2018|Latest News|

Lisa and Kelechi recently visited Port Townsend High School in Port Townsend, WA to show THE S WORD and visit with students. After a screening attended by more than 200 kids, students were split into small discussion groups, each led by a teacher or counselor. Lisa and Kelechi circulated throughout, participating in frank, heartfelt conversations. [...]

Means Restriction

By |2018-06-04T14:43:34-08:00March 29th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Means Restriction,” suicidologist Dr. Thomas Joiner, attempt survivor and mental health advocate Leah Harris, and psychologist Dr. April Foreman discuss the importance of restricting the lethal means that could lead to someone dying by suicide.

Cloverdale Screenings

By |2018-03-23T14:06:56-08:00March 23rd, 2018|Latest News|

THE S WORD recently descended on the town of Cloverdale, CA in beautiful Sonoma County. The day began with a screening of the new one-hour, school-friendly version at Cloverdale High School, followed by a group discussion with director Lisa Klein. The students were blown away by the film, which elicited comments such as “I think [...]

Mayo Clinic Screening

By |2018-03-19T19:59:38-08:00March 19th, 2018|Latest News|

We were honored to screen The S Word at the Mayo Clinic, presented by the Center for Humanities in Medicine. A panel discussion followed the film featuring director Lisa Klein, Natalia Chimbo-Andrade, Community Bridges, INC in Arizona, Emily LaFlamme, Program Coordinator, Be Connected and  Allison Schmitt, eight-time Olympic medalist in swimming.   Dr. Bright, Vice Chair [...]

University of Arkansas Screening

By |2018-03-08T12:13:28-08:00March 8th, 2018|Latest News|

The Pat Walker Health Center Counseling and Psychological Services sponsored a screening of The S Word followed by a Q & A with director Lisa Klein and Dese'Rae Stage who is featured in the film. Thank you to the University of Arkansas for an amazing night! Dese'Rae and Lisa with University of Arkansas grad students [...]


By |2018-06-04T14:39:16-08:00March 7th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation “Intent,” attempt survivors Craig Miller and Kelechi Ubozoh and loss survivors Shauna, Jean and John Toh discuss how intent comes into play when dealing with suicidality.

Article by Lisa for Lifeline Crisis Center

By |2018-02-28T13:54:21-08:00February 28th, 2018|Latest News|

Lisa recently wrote the following article about The S Word which appeared on Medium: As I tour the country with our documentary, THE S WORD, it’s been interesting to gauge the reactions, from waiters to Lyft drivers to random people who ask what I’m doing in FILL IN THE BLANK city. When I tell them [...]

The Medical Model

By |2018-06-04T14:36:03-08:00February 15th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “The Medical Model” Psychologists Dr. Sally Spencer Thomas, Dr. Thomas Joiner and mental health advocate Leah Harris discuss how suicide prevention goes well beyond the medical model alone.

Western Michigan University Screening

By |2018-02-12T11:19:41-08:00February 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 |2018-02-08T15:59:26-08:00February 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 |2018-02-08T13:41:07-08:00February 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 |2018-02-15T12:58:50-08:00February 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) [...]

Lived Experience

By |2018-06-04T14:32:43-08:00January 25th, 2018|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Lived Experience,” attempt survivors Leah Harris and Kelechi Ubozoh and lead suicidologist Dr. Thomas Joiner discuss how sharing our stories and understanding that it’s okay not to be okay can help us focus on life.

California PTA Conference

By |2018-01-25T11:03:26-08:00January 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 |2018-02-05T11:07:38-08:00January 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 [...]

Sharing Stories: How I Learned to Stop Fearing Attempt Survivors

By |2018-06-04T13:14:41-08:00January 19th, 2018|Loss Survivor, Stories|

It was about a year after my son Noah’s suicide, at a conference for survivors of suicide loss, when I first heard someone describe what led to their own suicide attempt. My hackles bristled so fiercely I couldn’t hear the details. I resisted being dragged inside that bleak and scary place, as if despair were [...]

Psych Central Podcast Interview

By |2018-01-10T09:30:33-08:00January 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 [...]

Seeking Help

By |2018-06-04T13:10:37-08:00January 5th, 2018|Seeking Help, Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “Seeking Help,” Kita Curry (Didi Hirsch CEO), Leah Harris, Misha Kessler and Kelly Davis (attempt survivors) and Mariette Hartley (loss survivor), share their insights regarding the importance of asking for help when feeling suicidal

How to Respond

By |2018-06-04T13:07:25-08:00December 13th, 2017|Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, “How to Respond,” psychologists Eduardo Vega and Craig Bryan and mental health advocate Leah Harris, enlighten us about how to respond to someone who is suicidal.

Coping with Suicide Loss

By |2018-06-04T12:57:44-08:00December 8th, 2017|Understanding Suicide, Voices|

In this 3-part conversation, "Coping With Suicide Loss,” mental health advocates Samantha Nadler, Jean Toh, Shauna Toh and Mariette Hartley share the depth of their losses and how they continue to cope, showing us how it's not about what you alone could have done -- it's about what you're doing now.

Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas TEDx Talk

By |2017-12-07T15:51:05-08:00December 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 [...]