As teenagers’ suicide rates continue to rise across the country, Each and Every Day, a documentary diving into the stories of nine young adults’ journeys with their mental health and suicide, aired on MTV. In partnership with the Jed Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to prevents suicide for teens and young adults in the United States, Each and Every Day shows how every person’s experience with suicide and mental health is completely unique. Although talking about suicide is often draining, this film approaches it in a way that opens an important dialogue.
Our society and the media often portray the idea that only certain people, specifically people with unfulfilling lives, struggle with their mental health. Each and Every Day is a compilation of nine individuals’ stories with their unique mental health journeys. Each person had a different experience specific to their varying lives. This film shows that no matter someone’s race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, age, religion, city, and family dynamic, you can still face mental health challenges and suicidality.
While interviewing each of the individuals about their experiences with suicide, it’s clear that each of their attempts and journeys to recovery has been different. Multiple of the interviewees have created and joined different programs that spread messages surrounding mental health and suicide prevention, as well as supporting other teenagers who are facing mental health challenges.
For example, interviewee Emma now works on a peer to peer crisis line, while Hannah developed the “notOK app” which she describes as being “a digital panic button that sends an alert that says, ‘hey, it’s me and I’m not okay.’”
The “notOK app” sends a message that notifies whoever the users choose as their trusted contacts that they aren’t okay and are needing help.
Filmed during the pandemic, Each and Every Day uses a series of different tools to move the film along. These tools include: at-home interviews of each of the nine individuals, a zoom call between the nine individuals, pictures of the interviewees from throughout their lives, and text bubbles showing anonymous conversations between different teens all around the country. Using all of these techniques in combination with each other made it so that I never felt as though the movie focused too heavily on one thing. There’s a balance between how much time the viewer spends watching someone talk and how long they spend looking at photo montages from the interviewees’ lives. Due to the approach that was taken for this film, even while talking about super dark moments in their lives, the interviewees seemed to almost always leave the content on a hopeful note for the viewer.
I found this documentary to be super impactful. Given that mental health and suicide specifically are such stigmatized topics, seeing a group of people be so transparent and honest about what their experiences with suicide have been, was really touching. The timing of this film was perfect since so many young people are having to confront their mental health due to the prolonged isolation the pandemic has brought us. Each and Every Day is a good reminder that anyone can, and most people do, struggle with their mental health and that the process looks different for everyone.
Whether you are a young person who has gone through a similar experience to the individuals interviewed in the film, an adult who hasn’t had any major mental health challenges, or somewhere in between, I highly recommend watching this raw, uplifting documentary.