Speaking the word “suicide” is not the problem. It’s the silence that often surrounds it.

That’s the theme of the award-winning documentary The S Word, which will be screened at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the Maple Theater, 4135 W. Maple Road in Bloomfield Township, in partnership with Jewish Family Service. A panel discussion of local experts, including the filmmaker, will follow the film. Tickets are $18; club seating is $23.

The documentary puts a human face on this often feared and misunderstood topic, delving into the hearts and minds of suicide attempt survivors, along with their families and loved ones. The S Word is the latest film from the team behind the award-winning documentary Of Two Minds and is the recipient of the 2017 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association Voice Award. Detroit-born Filmmaker Lisa Klein lost both her brother and father to suicide, compelling her to create this film and encourage conversation on this critical topic.

The S Word has the potential to do more for suicide prevention in one year than I have in my career … we can all learn from this film,” says Dr. Bill Schmitz, past-president of the American Association of Suicidology.

Local photographer Monni Must is underwriting this screening of the film. She lost her daughter, Miya, to suicide nearly 10 years ago.

“When Miya died, suicide wasn’t really talked about,” she said. “It actually felt like it was a shameful occurrence, like there was something wrong with the person.

“With mental illness, depression, social media … it’s become so much more prevalent, and suicide has become an option for people, which is so strange to me,” she continued.

According to Must, The S Word puts the issue of suicide out there, helping to explain to people what it’s all about. “And that people with mental illness are no different from any of us.”

Proceeds from the screening will benefit a Single Soul Suicide Prevention Initiative, a program of Jewish Family Service, founded by Temple Beth El Rabbi Emeritus Daniel Syme, who lost a brother to suicide more than 40 years ago.
“I am totally enthusiastic about any film that brings the subject of suicide and its prevention to the largest possible audience,” Syme said.

Must added that the film sends a message to those struggling that help is out there and asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of.

“I’m not ashamed,” Must said. “I’ve lived my life not covering things up. If I can take my horrific grief and turn it into a lesson for other people, then maybe they won’t have to experience what I experienced.”

Perry Ohren, CEO of Jewish Family Service, said, “JFS’ A Single Soul Suicide Prevention Initiative is all about educating our community and saving lives. We are honored to help screen The S Word, which will help us do this.”

To purchase tickets to the screening, visit www.themapletheater.com. For information about A Single Soul, visit www.jfsdetroit.org or call (248) 592-2313. For more on the film, visit http://theswordmovie.com.

 Jackie Headapohl Managing Editor