Taking a Stand Against Suicide


The neighborhood magazine, the Lake Highlands Advocate, periodically publishes stuff about what students at my high school are doing. A few months ago, they published a short piece about the premiere of Beyond the Bridge, and this month’s issue has a slightly longer story about the film and my role in it.

They titled it, “17-year-old Former Knife Juggler Takes a Stand Against Suicide“, and to illustrate their story about “taking a stand” they published a photo of my feet in my graffiti-covered trainers. Get it? My grandmother didn’t at first.

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Advocate photographer Danny Fulgencio took a photo of my graffiti-covered trainers to illustrate the Lake Highlands Advocate article. He’s a really cool photographer — he got some great shots of me juggling knives the very first day I tried, and he’s a really nice person besides. Note: I do not own the copyright for this image, so don’t re-use it without paying Danny for his work.

They also published a photo of me at my acting coach Nancy Chartier’s studio, but didn’t mention her at all, which kind of disappointed me. Anyway, here’s a link to the story if you’re interested.

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This is another photo from the article, taken by the amazing Danny Fulgencio. I’m in the waiting room at Nancy Chartier’s Film Acting Studio on Central Expressway. She’s an amazing teacher, and I wouldn’t get the parts I do without all of her help. Note: I do not own the copyright for this image, so don’t re-use it without paying Danny for his work.

Ever since I finished this movie, it seems like I run into people who have been affected by depression or suicide. And the news if filled with stories about celebrities who kill themselves while everyone says, “I don’t know why they did it — they had everything.”  It just shows what the movie talks about: you don’t know how someone else is feeling unless you take the time to ask, and really pay attention to what they are saying.

Here are a few of the things I learned about suicide and depression while making this film.

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More teens and young adults, ages 12-24, die from suicide every year than from ALL diseases combined.

If you haven’t seen Beyond the Bridge yet, please watch it at least once. My uncle says he wouldn’t watch it a second time because he knows too many people like one of the characters in the movie and it makes him sad. He says it’s the most depressing movie he’s ever seen. I don’t think it’s depressing, but it is shocking and surprising because it shows a lot of the hidden feelings of despair that make suicide one of the leading causes of death for teenagers and young adults between 12 and 24. More of us kill ourselves than die from ALL diseases like cancer, heart disease, and birth defects combined.

If you are struggling with depression, or are thinking about suicide, PLEASE reach out for help. I’ll listen to anyone who wants to talk, and there are trained volunteers all over the world who will do the same. There’s no shame in looking for help. Honest.

Beyond the Bridge is less than an hour long, and includes interviews with people who have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as an amazing young boy (just 10 years old) who describes what it’s like after your father commits suicide. It’s a pretty gritty film — not rated, but probably not suitable for the under 14-crowd since it deals with drug use, homophobia and (of course) suicide.

I hope by sharing it here at least someone will see it who might not see it otherwise, and that they’ll think twice, or reach out for help, before acting on negative thoughts.

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