In late June 2013, during a live Webinar titled, “Turning Strategy Into Action,” which focused on the newly released Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, Dr. Jeremy Reed, Executive Director of SPRC..org, commented that…”the view of those who are attempt survivors must be at the community table.” Dr. Richard McKeon, the Director of SAMHSA’s Suicide Prevention Branch, shared, “For many years, suicide prevention has not been informed by those who have been there – attempt survivors.” Two days later, Craig Miller, author (This is How it Feels) and suicide attempt survivor, shared his journey from darkness to hope with a church full of people who later shared that it was the first time they heard someone publicly share “how they felt.”
After reaching home, Craig sent me a text to express his appreciation to be allowed to share his story of hope. I asked him if he'd be willing to do a documentary that would spotlight the voices of suicide attempt survivors. His response was, "Yes!"
That night, A Voice at the Table was born - June 29, 2013.
After consulting with Kim Murphy, Executive Director of the Taunton Community Access Media, Inc., a local cable entity with whom I've worked for several years producing programs on violence prevention, underage drinking & drug abuse, as well as suicide education, we added Zak Swain, a gifted photographer, cameraman & technician employed by TCAM, to be our Director of Photography. Tracey Medeiros,an attempt survivor whom I have mentored for years, was added a week later, then Cara Anna, and finally, Dese'Rae Stage.
Production would take 9 months and 3 weeks, hundreds of hours of tapings of our "heroes" and others, and way too many hours of editing..
From left to right:
Annemarie Matulis, Zak Swain, Tracey Medeiros, Craig Miller...
calming our nerves before the public debut of "A Voice at the Table" on May 18th, 2014, at the Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Taunton MA.
The first screening of the film was on April 17th, 2014 in a workshop following the 2nd day's Keynote Speaker - Craig Miller. The event was the annual MA state conference for suicide prevention held in Framingham MA. Approximately 100 people viewed the film, all of them invested in suicide prevention & education in one way or another. More than 700 attended the 2-day conference.
The second screening was held May 12th, at the regular meeting of the MCSP (MA Coalition for Suicide Prevention) general membership in Wellesley MA.
From April 18 to May 18th, a number of national experts and people deeply involved in suicide education & prevention including loss survivors and attempt survivors were offered the opportunity to screen the film privately while still in its "rough cut" stage.
On May 19th, 2014 the documentary went "live" through various Facebook pages, Cara Anna's Blog on AAS (American Association of Suicidology), and now, on this site.