'Each and Every Day' addresses suicide among U.S. youth
Alexandra Shiva's fifth project for MTV delves into the lives of nine young people to offer a glimpse into the fragile landscape of mental health.
On Friday, May 14, MTV Documentary Films premiered Each and Every Day on MTV Latin America, an original project by filmmaker Alexandra Shiva and producer Linsey Megrue. Their goal was to reach out to young people who have attempted suicide or are going through depression to share their reflections on the youth-centered channel.
Everyone has someone close to themselves who has gone through depression. The disease was a pandemic before the pandemic, a quintessential symbol of the way in which capitalist rhythms can tear to shreds even the strongest people.
But it wasn't always easy to keep up with the symptoms and to avoid the enabling prejudices when it came to dealing with the symptoms of those affected. Extreme sleepiness or heaviness are rare symptoms that some had trouble empathizing with. The problem of the disease was compounded by an innumerable network of prejudices.
More than a year after the onset of the global COVID crisis, the problem has only grown, hidden by more pressing problems. So while it has become a gigantic monster for all cultures that has been fueled by lack of planning for remote learning, physical and social isolation, lost opportunities, racism, job losses and a declining economy.
The sector that has taken the worst hit has been the youth who have seen their future blackened while their families have become poorer and more isolated than the rest in the various confinements that have occurred. The fiery social networks have not been able to replace group contact.
It is therefore not surprising that the starting point of the documentary is that in August 2020 the CDC (Center for Disease Control in the United States) reported that a quarter of young adults had seriously contemplated suicide during the pandemic.
From there, the project covers the testimonies of nine young people of different races and socioeconomic profiles to deepen the conversation about what hurts them so much today. It delves into stories of depression, anxiety and other illnesses that affect young people with positive messages of hope and recovery.
"In making this film, I saw firsthand how young people are dealing with their mental health challenges, including talking openly about suicide," said the filmmaker. "It inspires me and gives me hope that young people are not walking away from this issue, because talking about it saves lives."
Alejandra Shiva is a renowned social fiction director with four projects behind her as director and producer. In 2015 she released How to Dance in Ohio, which earned her numerous awards at Sundance.