The Choice of a Lifetime: Returning From the Brink of Suicide

Transforming Suicidal Despair Into The Will To Live
Year Released
Film Length(s)
53 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


Six people, ages 21 to 73, share the circumstances that led them to the brink of suicide, what stopped them, and the different ways each found to transform and heal their lives.

Featured review

First class documentary filmmaking that serves as an excellent teaching tool for any level of student in psychology and the human services. It is powerful, poignant, technically excellent and brings questions about meaning, healing, and helping into clear focus.
The Humanist Psychologist
Prof. Tobin Hart


A suicide attempt is made every minute in the United States – every 17 minutes, an attempt is fatal. This documentary tells the stories of six people, ages 21 to 73, who returned from the brink of suicide and transformed their despair into a journey of healing. We meet a retired white physician who longs to join his beloved wife after she dies of cancer; a young white woman who is afraid to tell her homophobic family that she is a lesbian; a Mexican American man drawn to the "collective suicide" of inner city gang violence; a white career woman and mother addicted to risky behavior; a Native American man whose family refused to believe he had been a victim of incest; and an African American woman who turned to drugs and alcohol after being raped as a teenager and later abused by the husband she hoped would save her. In candid and intimate interviews, each explains what led them to the brink of suicide, what stopped them, and the different methods each found to recover and sustain meaning and value in existence including support groups, therapy, spirituality, and artistic expression.


Strongly recommended to anyone concerned with this urgent national problem.
Video Librarian
Video Librarian
This excellent documentary...provides valuable insight into the will to live. Recommended for university courses, counseling personnel, community groups, and general audiences from high school and up.
Library Journal
Library Journal
Deeply moving...excellent production values...recommended strongly for health sciences collections.
MC Journal
The Journal of Academic Media Librarianship
An inspiring look at lives brought back from the brink.
A compelling guide to uncharted territories. Provides new understanding of the fragility and the strength of the human psyche.
Irving Saraf and Allie Light

Awards and Screenings

PBS Broadcast
Silver Apple, National Educational Media Network
Outstanding Documentary Award, Western Psychological Association Convention
Elda Hartley Film Award, Institute of Noetic Sciences
American Association of Suicidology Conference
American Sociological Association Annual Meeting
National Council of Social Studies Conference
Suicide: Prevention and Early Intervention Conference
Spirit in Healing Conference

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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