A disturbing fact: Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among young people in Canada.

Another fact:  Although much information exists on suicide prevention and intervention, there is little research and few resources which examine the impact of a suicide death on bereaved youth, from the perspective of the youth themselves.

At the BC Council for Families, we wanted to provide an opportunity for young people to use their voices and share their wisdom, to help youth workers, crisis counsellors, and other practitioners to understand how best to provide support to bereaved youth following a suicide.  In collaboration with the University of Victoria’s School of Child and Youth Care, we created Left 2 Live, a documentary video which explores the unique grieving and healing process of young people.

Raw, powerful, and heartfelt, Left 2 Live follows the stories of five BC young people who tragically lost loved ones to suicide.  Through interview and discussion, the film traces their pathways through grief, to recovery and acceptance of loss.

Originally developed as a tool for practitioners working with youth, the film and its accompanying Facilitator’s Guide may also benefit families recovering from suicide loss.  “The young survivors in the film have shared their personal stories in a way that anyone touched by suicide and wishing to deepen their understanding of suicide bereavement — whether they are practitioners working with youth or families bereaved by suicide — can learn from this video and find comfort in knowing they are not alone in their experience,” commented Linda Finlayson, author of the Facilitator’s Guide.

The film is available online for individual viewing, and copies of the DVD suitable for presentation to larger groups are available for order through the BC Council for Families’ bookstore.

A free community screening of the documentary is planned for the spring of 2011. Watch upcoming issues of HealthyFamilies for further details.

Below are a few clips from the documentary:


by Marilee Peters
Director of Communications, BC Council for Families