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Thread: Help with questions for a Doco on Teenage Suicide?

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Help with questions for a Doco on Teenage Suicide?

    I'm doing a 15-30min Documentary on Teenage Suicide and I would like some help with some questions that I could use in an interview. Here's my list at the moment (broad questions):


    What makes them feel that way?
    Why do they feel that's their only option?
    What effect does it have on those around them?
    Interview - experiences with kids about that issue
    Warning Signs

    END WITH
    How can people help this?
    What services are available to combat suicide?


    So, if anyone else has any other questions I can ask please post. I'm interviewing a psychologist on Tuesday so I need to be as prepared as possible.
    Thanks for reading (and hopefully posting )
    Check out my short films/comedies/parodies!
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    great subject for a documentary and one I am thinking of having a go at if i can get my shit together and stop making daft stuff.

    Sounds to me like you need to do some more research and get an 'angle' so you can construct a narrative and argument.

    For a shortish project your interviews often are a large part of your research so perhaps in the absence of a very clear plan you can let the interview be a bit more casual. In my expirience 'experts' just need the touch papaer lit and you will get heaps of good info - tape is cheap.

    Dont rely too much on the 'experts' - what will make this engaging and challenging is first hand experiential accounts from sufferers.

    I know its been done to death but I am sure there is mileage in contrasting sufferers expiriences and aspirations as regards treatement and recovery and how thier aspirations are met or more likely not met by the health care system. I am thinking of that angle, or perhaps a treatment on how people manage thier own challenges using thier own coping strategies and stuff. Non sufferers odd attitudes is another interesting perspective too.

    As a long time sufferer I would be very interested to see how it shapes up so be sure to post the project as it matures.

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    If you aint got it get this.... (pic)

    It is a totally essentail read for all documentary film makers.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Thanks for taking the time to reply. If taken the stuff you've said down for me to possibly work into the documentary and I'll definetely have a look into that book as that could help me a lot as well. I'll keep you posted as I move further into the project and hopefully when I'm done you'll be able to watch it and see if all this trouble was worth it

    Thanks again.
    Jack
    Check out my short films/comedies/parodies!
    http://au.youtube.com/user/JacktheLanky

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark W View Post
    Non sufferers odd attitudes is another interesting perspective too.
    That's the one I'd want to see developed, that I can see as a 'hook'.

    Here's my perspective.
    I figure all of us suffer from depression, it's about degrees. Whether that be a biological thing, or a consequence of psychological influences, is not the issue. The biggy for me is that I detect many people who don't suffer outwardly from it use avoidance as a defence, a tool where bliss is ignorance, even meeting such things with a 'Darwin got it right concept', which might sound appalling on the surface, but look beneath it and there's more to be found. COntroversial I know, but think out of the box.

    A very good friend of mine is in this area, a product of an oppressive father who removed any iota of self esteem this guy might have had. And through my relationship with him some things come to light you might not think of as a non sufferer.

    An example.
    My friend is into a sport, one where it can be a solitary activity, which is good for him as competitive situations are a source of concern. It would, and has been, natrual for his circle of friends to say. ''let's pop up to see 'Fred' and take him out of it for a weekend' So a few of us pile up to his place, and go and visit the nearby sites to join him in this activity.
    Now what we see as a chance to 'cheer him up' is actually a route to a bout of depression for him. The problem being that when we are gone, and his life returns to what it was, he'll most likely be worse off than before we visited him, as the occasion exposes him to people who are managing things, some with lesser quality lives than his, and this all sets off his brain into full on negativity about his situation.

    Now that might seem simple enough, but how many people who are non sufferers ever considered such a thing. I didn't, I thought at first that I was being a nice boy and helping the guy out, when in fact maintenance of his stability is the best way to act as a friend. Unpredictability is not nice for him, if the days ahead are forseeable then he steps up a bit, if there is an unknown, such as the visiting of friends and what they might bring, then it's something of a challenge for him. Of course we know him and he knows us, so it's cool, but it's surprising how fatiguing being in the presence of a chap like this can be, and many folk come and go through not being able to absorb this bit about being stable and shy away when they can't provide answers to his concerns. I'm not suggesting I can, but I can at least understand what drives these issues.

    So, for me, if you make a program 'about depression and suicidal tendancies' I'll not feel compelled to watch it. Whereas if the main angle was how 'ordinary' people contribute unwittingly to their demise, then you may have my attention.

    Just my view. BTW I've been depressed enough to consider suicide fleetingly, but that was due to a physical illness, which when overcome saw the depression go with it. Whilst I'm not suggesting that qualifies me in any way, I would say that people might be surprised to know that it doesn't take all that much for an instinct for survival to disapear, and that the concept of ending your life can be the lesser of two evils.

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    I think the first thing you need to do is illustrate the myriad of disperate reasons for a young person taking their life and then you need to pull together the common themes.

    Having spent some time working as a secretary in adolescent mental health, it is my firm belief that the DSM and ICD (diagnostic manuals) fail to list a major mental illness that we all suffer from: Adolescence. I'm not a shrink and therefore my opinion "does not count" however, I have in my past been diagnosed with several psychiatric disorders and spent much of my late teens and early 20s in therapy. From my experience, the difference between good and poor mental health is simply insight - experience - exactly what you lack at this stage in life. I would also suggest that "my opinion not counting" might well be an avenue worth exploring....

    The importance of identity and subculture (and I say this as a 26 year old who still wears too much eyeliner with a wardrobe as extensive in colour choice as the Model T) are especially important to young people. It would be nieve not to touch on alternative culture but equally to base your film there would misrepresent the issue; youth suicide occurs in people from a mixture of backgrounds.


    I would hypothesize that percieved alienation, lack of (percieved) future worth and society's massive (percieved) expectations to be major issues.

    I don't know who your target audience is but I would suggest that interviews with victims' parents, their friends, mental and social care professionals, teachers and those who have either tried and failed or come exceptionally close. To do this, you need to understand the difference between a failed suicide attempt and an act of attention-seeking self harm - perhaps something to discuss with the professionals.

    HTH

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    DSM - adolescence. LOL. ANd you can also add ' mid life crisis ' .

    I am reading this thread closely as research for my own nascent film on depression. Some great stuff so far.

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    1. At what part of their lives did they feel everything turn towards this trend?
    or
    When did feel like they lost the innocence in their life?
    2. Have they tried before?
    3. Do they feel like they are coming out of it - and if so how?
    4. In coming out of it - do they feel like a new thought structure or structure of beliefs overwrote the old way of thinking. Have their religious beliefs changed.

    Once again, you got balls. If you ask some really thoughtful questions you will have a great story.

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    Yes Mark, I was also thinking this would all just go right with depression - all of this would work very well with a docu on that. It's a serious issue - especially in America and Europe. Taking drugs and pills is no substitute for being fully aware of who you are and blah blah blah. It's hard to get to those issues when you're, say, worried about the economy... oh yea, the economy... now I'm depressed

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    Thanks for those questions ProductionNow. Thanks everyone for all your help so far, I really appreciate it.

    UPDATE
    I have interviewed a psychologist and got some good facts and film. I have been in contact with a mother whose teenage daughter committed suicide 5 years ago and I believe this will be my most valuabe contact so far. A before and after explanation of the process backed up with some good questions could be very effective.

    I've been in close contact with a director in Melbourne and owner of a production company who is helping me every step of the way and get really get this doco off the ground and into the public.

    I'm still looking for good questions and perspectives so if you have anything please post. It can only make the final outcome better.

    Thanks,
    Jack
    Check out my short films/comedies/parodies!
    http://au.youtube.com/user/JacktheLanky

    Rate, Comment Or Subscribe! Any feedback is appreciated

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