Twin Cities PBS (TPT) is pleased to announce The Race to Solve Suicide (working title) Station Grant Program. The grants will empower stations to work with local and national partners to share evidence-based suicide prevention approaches and resources with their communities, and will amplify the messages of The Race to Solve Suicide documentary, which will premiere nationally on PBS in 2022.
Suicide has been with us throughout human history, yet it remains one of the most confounding of all human behaviors. What drives people to take their own lives? What can we do to help those we love?
Tens of thousands of Americans are asking these questions about tragedies in their own families and communities. In the United States, suicide takes more than 45,000 lives annually, or one every 11 minutes. Suicide kills more people in their prime than car accidents or homicides. It is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34, and the third for middle aged white men.
Now, with suicide rates at the highest in nearly 80 years, a nationwide effort is underway to understand suicide and find ways to prevent it. Scientists, researchers, and public health experts are looking beyond immediate causes to get at the roots of the crisis. They are creating tools and therapies to detect suicidal thoughts, alleviate suffering before harm occurs, and help patients move past suicidal ideation.
With this crisis in the headlines almost daily, Twin Cities PBS is embarking on an ambitious national initiative to educate the public media audience about suicide and help local stations address the issue in their own communities.
At the center of the effort is The Race to Solve Suicide (working title), a 90-minute feature documentary for national broadcast. It will take us to the frontiers of science, medicine, and policy, to show us what we know about suicide—and what that knowledge tells us about helping those at risk. Immersive, deeply personal and above all, hopeful, the film will take stock of where we are in the struggle against suicide, and provide information that can help save lives.
The Race to Solve Suicide will empower public media stations to collaborate with leading suicide awareness/prevention groups and community-based partner organizations to produce screenings, engagement projects and/or media that will:
- Inform: Share the latest research around suicide to define and destigmatize the topic
- Illuminate: Show how this research informs suicide prevention practices
- Activate: Better enable families, institutions and communities to offer help and hope around suicide
The Station Grant Program is the centerpiece of the initiative’s engagement plan. Competitive proposals will highlight and employ the documentary and other project resources; reflect PBS’ commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility; and specify the concrete strategies and partnerships the station plans to implement.
Grants are available at two different levels:
- Up to $20,000 for community engagement programming and/or production activities
- Up to $7,000 for a hybrid (IRL + virtual) screening and panel, held at the station or in the community
Stations will have opportunities to connect with our national partners in their communities:
National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance): The National Action Alliance is a coalition of more than 250 national partners from the public and private sectors working to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, released jointly in 2012 by the Alliance and the US Surgeon General.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): AFSP is the nation’s largest nonprofit suicide prevention and support organization, providing those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death. With chapters in all 50 states, AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.
The Jed Foundation (JED): JED is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting emotional health and preventing suicide for teens and young adults. JED’s signature outreach program, JED Campus, impacts more than three million students on 300 college campuses across the country.
In addition to these partnerships, TPT will offer webinar trainings and create an online community for station grantees to share best practices and impact-gathering tools. TPT will also create, curate and share engagement resources to support grantees’ local projects including storytelling toolkits, an original digital series, a collection of articles, and social media and promotional assets.
The Race to Solve Suicide is supported in part by CPB and PBS.
If you or someone you know are in crisis, or experiencing thoughts of suicide, text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741), or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.