A Reason To Live

  • Film
  • Discussion Guide
  • Reviews


This film is intended to help eliminate the stigma and shame associated with depression and suicide. It clarifies warning signs that friends, parents, teachers and others need to identify about depression in young people ages 15-24. This film explores psychological, cultural, biological and social factors that contribute to depression and suicide so that the viewer can more clearly understand the thoughts and feelings of people who are depressed and suicidal.  With this understanding, people can more effectively recognize the danger signs, get help, and save lives. Finally, the film presents realistic and effective steps to treat depression and to prevent suicide. 2-DVD set includes classroom and adult versions of the film, with additional special features.

Recent Screenings and Awards

• LONE STAR EMMY for best documentary
*KMBH- TV in the Rio Grande Valley
*KERA- TV in North Texas
•Texas Counseling Association screened A Reason to Liv
•TCA State Convention – Dallas, Texas

•Dallas Video Festival at the Angelika Theater, Dallas, Texas

Did You Realize . . .

  • Each year in the U.S., approximately two million adolescents attempt suicide.
  • Every year, more than 4000 young people, ages 15-24, take their own lives.The rate of suicide among this age group has almost tripled in the last 15  years.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents and the second leading cause of death among college-age young people.
  • 1 out of 3 adolescents who self-identify as GLBT will attempt suicide.
  • They are 3-4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts.
  • More than 300 million young people are at risk for suicide, yet only 36% receive treatment.
  • Nearly 50% of 26,000 college students surveyed at the University of Texas at Austin said they had seriously considered suicide but NEVER told ANYONE and NEVER sought HELP.

Target Audiences

  • Young Adults 15-24 & their Families
  • Youth Agencies
  • Public & Private Schools
  • Community Colleges & Universities
  • Coaches & Mentors
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • GLBT Organizations
  • Social Workers
  • Foster Care Professionals
  • Rehabilitation Professionals & Caregivers
  • Medical Care Professionals
  • Hospitals & Medical Offices
  • Law Enforcement & Correctional Facilities
  • Civic Organizations
  • Spiritual & Religious Groups
  • Elected Officials & Government Agencies

Discussion Guide

Life as a teenager has changed dramatically over the years. Young people are facing challenges that many of us did not have to face until we reached adulthood. There has been a tremendous increase in exposure to violence, drugs, and discontent throughout the last decades.

As a result, children have had to grow up much faster than ever before. Without guidance and help, youth may not know where to turn or may choose to go down the wrong path. In response to these concerns, Media Projects, Inc. and CONTACT Crisis Line have developed this curriculum in order to help adults and teens deal with these difficult times.

This film touches on many triggers and stressors that affect young adults every day. It is our hope that this documentary and study guide will become a national resource for depression and suicide for young adults.

It is important when showing this film that the appropriate set up and discussion are organized for both the students and teachers. We advise all professionals and teachers to view this film and study guide prior to showing it in a classroom setting. We have added a student release for parents to sign if any school would like to use this added resource.

The documentary is split into chapters, which are aligned with additional questions, and discussion formats for small group and classroom settings. The film is approximately 33 minutes in length.

If time constraints exist, or if the chapters in the film are used for individual lessons, you will find additional questions and resources in this study guide. Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions or suggestions for your audience.

Thank you for purchasing this important and educational resource.

Click here to download the Discussion Guide for A Reason to Live.


What people are saying about A Reason to Live:

“We first saw A Reason To Live when viewing endless documentaries for a film series on Mental Health and Illness. When the film committee viewed this documentary it was the first that we immediately and unanimously agreed upon. We were moved by the diversity of voices of the youth who have all experienced depression that led them to attempt suicide: young women and men of different races, ethnicities, sexual orientation, family backgrounds and life experiences. Despite the heartbreaking topic, this captivating and  beautifully done film leaves the audience not with a sense of despair but rather hope, as well as providing valuable resources for support. A Reason To Live is an important film for anyone who is living with or knows a troubled teenager or young adult.”

-Ann Sterin, Social Action Committee Congregation Shomrei Torah, Santa Rosa, California

“This poignant documentary adds a personal perspective to a major public health problem, highlighting that while there is a need for suicide prevention and intervention, current treatments for depression are promising & offer hope.” – Dr. Betsy Kennard, University of Texas – Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

“This sensitive, carefully-constructed film leaves an unforgettable impression. From bleak moments to rays of hope: it tells the truth.” – YOUTH TODAY Magazine

“This documentary is a class act … a compassionate educational tool that is destined to have a positive impact. This film is highly recommended.” – Educational Media Reviews Online

“Realistic and reassuring, this is a useful resource for teens, parents, and educators.” – Booklist, American Library Association

“Suicide is a silent killer of young adults, and A Reason to Live gives a voice and hope to the deadly silence. As an educator, this film has become an invaluable tool that has only begun to change and touch the lives of many young adults. At a recent training with the film, a teenage girl said, ‘I identified with so many things in the film and, now, I know that I am not alone.’ Hope saves lives, and A Reason to Live is our new hope!” – Missy Wall, Director, Teen CONTACT Program, CONTACT Crisis Line Dallas, TX

“An innovative, provocative approach to teen suicide and the families left behind. Allan and Cynthia Salzman Mondell have captured the essence of teen suicide and mental illness — anger, fear, desperation, and the unsettling (for us) peace that descends upon them once the final decision is made. The parents and the surviving teens are extremely brave and forthright in this dramatic and intense documentary about teen suicide and a society that doesn’t know how to prevent it.” – John Dornheim-NAMI Texas, Green Oaks Behavioral Health Care Services

“… (The film) is long overdue. It is a great resource for colleges and universities to open the dialogue with students.” – Dr. Linda Holloway, Chair-Dept. of Rehabilitation, Social Work & Addictions-University of North Texas