Documentary Addresses Teen Suicide, Depression
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers ages 12 to 18, according to healthresearch.org. A new documentary by Davenport-based Mickle Communications examines how to address teen suicide and depression.
The documentary "If You Only Knew: The Journey Through Teen Depression and Suicide" features three families of teenagers who committed suicide, two suicide survivors and experts on the topic.
Mike Mickle, owner of Mickle Communications and the film's executive producer, says it's important to make sure the loss experienced by the families in the film doesn't happen to anyone else.
"Don't ever think it can't happen to your family, because it can; it happened to theirs," Mickle said. "I think that living in a bubble and thinking, 'Oh, my kids are fine,' is not the answer anymore."
One topic the documentary tackles is how to talk to teens about depression and suicidal thoughts.
"If our child tells us something that bothers us, we want to jump in and say, 'No, don't think that way, because we can do this,'" Mickle says. "But sometimes they don't want you to do that. They want your ears to be open and they want to be able to talk to you, share their emotions — and then, after they've done all that, then it's the time to sit down and say, 'How can I help you?'"
Mickle says teenagers face different or heightened pressures than their parents did in sports, school and social media.
After he finished the film, Mickle started the non-profit Happy Healthy Families Foundation to launch outreach programs in the Quad Cities.
The documentary will air Thursday at 8 p.m. on WQPT Quad Cities PBS as part of a full night of programming devoted to the topic.
Watch the trailer for "If You Only Knew."