Director relapses during HBO film


How do family members face grief after a suicide? In the HBO documentary “32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide,” director Hope Litoff explores the experience in the first person.

Litoff revists her sister Ruth’s life six years after her death, opening up a storage unit that contained years of Ruth’s photography, journals and hundreds of prescription pills. In an interview with Salon’s Alyona Minkovski for “Salon Talks,” Litoff discussed putting her own fragility on camera. A recovering alcoholic, she relapsed during the making of the film.

“There was no way to predict my reaction to the process, but I felt like that was an important part to record and share with people because so much of the loneliness and suffering that comes from being left behind from suicide, comes from feeling like no one else feels the way you feel,” Litoff said.

The idea that her own vulnerability could potentially help others going through similar situations was important to Litoff. She has received an overwhelming response from viewers who wrote letters sharing their experiences.

To hear more about “32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide” and the difficulty of understanding how to help people with mental illness, watch the full interview above.

And tune into SalonTV's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage," daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon, Facebook and Periscope.

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