Connect with us

Australia

HBO documentary exposes the agony of suicide victims

A new HBO documentary portrays filmmaker Hope Litoff's struggle to cope with her sister's ..

Published

on

  • A new HBO documentary portrays filmmaker Hope Litoff's struggle to cope with her sister's suicide
  • Litoff found her sister dead in her carefully arranged apartment
  • She was faced with the excruciating task of sorting through her late sister's pills, artwork in the aftermath of her suicide
  • 32 Pills documents the consequences of a suicide and the mental health toll that grief takes on survivors like Hope
  • The filmmaker aims to promote awareness and improve mental health support
  • 32 Pills: My Sister's Suicide is the latest in a surge of suicide-related media

By Natalie Rahhal For Dailymail.com

Published: 12:14 EST, 8 December 2017 | Updated: 15:29 EST, 8 December 2017

Filmmaker Hope Litoff was the one to find her sister Ruth dead in her apartment, which she had arranged for her suicide 'like a beautiful stage set,' complete with individualized gifts and notes for loved ones.

Hope found herself creating her own chilling sets, arranging Ruth's belongings, or collections of the pills – pills like the ones that Ruth used to take her own life.

Ruth had documented her battle with mental health in her artwork, journals and collections, and the painful process of sifting through it all became Hope's own work of art: a documentary called, 32 Pills: My Sister's suicide, which premiered on HBO last night.

As annually climbing suicide rates drive mental health experts to call for reform and awareness, the topic of suicide increasingly making its way into mainstream media, with fictionalized portrayals like Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why sparking conversations and controversy nationwide.

In a scene from her new documentary, 32 Pills: My Sister's Suicide, Hope Litoff painstakingly organizes the many pill bottles her sister, Ruth, left behind after committing suicide 

In a scene from her new documentary, 32 Pills: My Sister's Suicide, Hope Litoff painstakingly organizes the many pill bottles her sister, Ruth, left behind after committing suicide

As Hope says in the trailer for 32 Pills, Ruth’s battle with mental health began when she was 16, and continued throughout her life as she made multiple attempts at suicide before her death in 2008, at age 42.

Of those who complete suicide, 40 percent have made previous attempts, according to statistics from Mental Health America.

Ruth, an artist and photographer, documented her own troubled thoughts in journals and self-portraiture, which feature prominently in Hope's film.

Throughout her sister’s life, Hope grappled with attempts to understand how the sister she admired as her ‘hero’ could want to end her own life, she says in the trailer.

‘I thought we would have a lifetime to work it out,’ she says.

Hope (right) struggled throughout her sister's life to understand Ruth's (left) struggles with mental illness. Photos of the two sisters feature prominently in Hope's film, which grapples with the aftermath of Ruth's suicideHope (right) struggled throughout her sister's life to understand Ruth's (left) struggles with mental illness. Photos of the two sisters feature prominently in Hope's film, which grapples with the aftermath of Ruth's suicide

Hope (right) struggled throughout her sister's life to understand Ruth's (left) struggles with mental illness. Photos of the two sisters feature prominently in Hope's film, which grapples with the aftermath of Ruth's suicide

Instead, Hope found herself turning to support groups and the contents of Ruth’s storage unit to try to understand her sister’s decision, and ultimately documenting that process in 32 Pills.

On the film’s website, Hope gives a telling statistic: ‘For every suicide there are at least six survivors – people just like me desperately struggling to answer the unanswerable question, "why?"'

Hope's film documents the internal life of a person with mental illness, and the ways that her sister’s struggle and suicide led to the filmmaker’s own mental health and addiction crises.

While 13 Reasons Why was widely criticized for glamorizing suicide and prompting a 19 percent surge in online searches related to it, the documentation of not only Ruth’s mental illness, but the difficulties Hope faced afterwards could provide a more sobering perspective.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

But the staggering death toll – 44,193 a year – doesn’t even begin to capture the repeated attempts made over the courses of the lives of many, such as Ruth Litoff.

A bereaved Hope sits among Ruth's artwork in a scene from 32 Pills, which explores suicide through the things left behind by a victim A bereaved Hope sits among Ruth's artwork in a scene from 32 Pills, which explores suicide through the things left behind by a victim 

A bereaved Hope sits among Ruth's artwork in a scene from 32 Pills, which explores suicide through the things left behind by a victim

Ruth Litoff (pictured) was an artist and photographer, and used self-portraiture as a means to document and try to come to terms with her identity before her suicide in 2008 Ruth Litoff (pictured) was an artist and photographer, and used self-portraiture as a means to document and try to come to terms with her identity before her suicide in 2008 

Ruth Litoff (pictured) was an artist and photographer, and used self-portraiture as a means to document and try to come to terms with her identity before her suicide in 2008

Often, survivors find themselves falling into their own depressions as they grieve loved ones lost to suicide.

Hope turned back to alcohol to cope, after years of sobriety, and at one point in the film, takes some of the pills she found among her sister's things.

She writes that eventually she found support in ‘a bereavement group for survivors,’ but ‘this is a lifeline that many don’t have.’

In tandem with her film, she has developed a set of impact goals to raise awareness, lift stigma and encourage the growth of support networks for both those considering suicide and survivors like herself.

Nearly 13 percent of Americans with a mental illness do not have insurance, leaving people like Ruth and Hope without support.

One study found that 'the state rate of federal aid for mental health was the strongest indicator' for suicide rates of any mental health care access measure, suggesting that federal funding could directly impact suicide rates, which vary drastically from state to state.

Hope writes on the film's site that one of her goals for the 32 Pills's impact is to create a 'national screenings campaign anchored, promoted, hosted and facilitated by local, participating groups.'

Original Article

The post HBO documentary exposes the agony of suicide victims appeared first on News Wire Now.

Continue Reading

Australia

Australia: Scott Morrison saga casts scrutiny on Queen’s representative

Published

on

In the past fortnight, Australia has been gripped by revelations that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to several additional ministries.

The move has been labelled a “power grab” by his successor as prime minister, and Mr Morrison has been scolded by many – even his own colleagues.

But the scandal has also dragged Australia’s governor-general into the fray – sparking one of the biggest controversies involving the Queen’s representative in Australia in 50 years.

So does Governor-General David Hurley have questions to answer, or is he just collateral damage?

‘Just paperwork’

Governors-general have fulfilled the practical duties as Australia’s head of state since the country’s 1901 federation.

Candidates for the role were initially chosen by the monarch but are now recommended by the Australian government.

The job is largely ceremonial – a governor-general in almost every circumstance must act on the advice of the government of the day. But conventions allow them the right to “encourage” and “warn” politicians.

Key duties include signing bills into law, issuing writs for elections, and swearing in ministers.

Mr Hurley has run into trouble on the latter. At Mr Morrison’s request, he swore the prime minister in as joint minister for health in March 2020, in case the existing minister became incapacitated by Covid.

Over the next 14 months, he also signed off Mr Morrison as an additional minister in the finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios.

Mr Morrison already had ministerial powers, so Mr Hurley was basically just giving him authority over extra departments.

It’s a request the governor-general “would not have any kind of power to override or reject”, constitutional law professor Anne Twomey tells the BBC.

“This wasn’t even a meeting between the prime minister and the governor-general, it was just paperwork.”

But Mr Morrison’s appointments were not publicly announced, disclosed to the parliament, or even communicated to most of the ministers he was job-sharing with.

Australia’s solicitor-general found Mr Morrison’s actions were not illegal but had “fundamentally undermined” responsible government.

But the governor-general had done the right thing, the solicitor-general said in his advice this week.

It would have been “a clear breach” for him to refuse the prime minister, regardless of whether he knew the appointments would be kept secret, Stephen Donaghue said.

Critics push for investigation

Ultimately, Mr Hurley had to sign off on Mr Morrison’s requests, but critics say he could have counselled him against it and he could have publicised it himself.

But representatives for the governor-general say these types of appointments – giving ministers the right to administer other departments – are not unusual.

And it falls to the government of the day to decide if they should be announced to the public. They often opt not to.

Mr Hurley himself announcing the appointments would be unprecedented. He had “no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated”, his spokesperson said.

Emeritus professor Jenny Hocking finds the suggestion Mr Hurley didn’t know the ministries had been kept secret “ridiculous”.

“The last of these bizarre, duplicated ministry appointments… were made more than a year after the first, so clearly by then the governor-general did know that they weren’t being made public,” she says.

“I don’t agree for a moment that the governor-general has a lot of things on his plate and might not have noticed.”

The historian says it’s one of the biggest controversies surrounding a governor-general since John Kerr caused a constitutional crisis by sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.

Prof Hocking famously fought for transparency around that matter – waging a lengthy and costly legal battle that culminated in the release of Mr Kerr’s correspondence with the Queen.

And she says the same transparency is needed here.

The Australian public need to know whether Mr Hurley counselled the prime minister against the moves, and why he didn’t disclose them

The government has already announced an inquiry into Mr Morrison’s actions, but she wants it to look at the governor-general and his office too.

“If the inquiry is to find out what happened in order to fix what happened, it would be extremely problematic to leave out a key part of that equation.”

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr Morrison’s predecessor – has also voiced support for an inquiry.

“Something has gone seriously wrong at Government House,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It is the passive compliance along the chain… that did undermine our constitution and our democracy… that troubles me the most. This is how tyranny gets under way.”

PM defends governor-general

Prof Twomey says the criticism of Mr Hurley is unfair – there’s was no “conspiracy” on his part to keep things secret.

“I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to expect that he could have guessed that the prime minister was keeping things secret from his own ministers, for example.

“Nobody really thought that was a possibility until about two weeks ago.”

Even if he had taken the unprecedented step to publicise the appointments or to reject Mr Morrison’s request, he’d have been criticised, she says.

“There’d be even more people saying ‘how outrageous!'” she says. “The role of governor-general is awkward because people are going to attack you either way.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also defended Mr Hurley, saying he was just doing his job.

“I have no intention of undertaking any criticism of [him].”

A role fit for purpose?

Prof Hocking says it’s a timely moment to look at the role of the governor-general more broadly.

She points out it’s possible the Queen may have been informed about Mr Morrison’s extra ministries when Australia’s parliament and people were not.

“It does raise questions about whether this is fit for purpose, as we have for decades been a fully independent nation, but we still have… ‘the relics of colonialism’ alive and well.”

Momentum for a fresh referendum on an Australian republic has been growing and advocates have seized on the controversy.

“The idea that the Queen and her representative can be relied upon to uphold our system of government has been debunked once and for all,” the Australian Republic Movement’s Sandy Biar says.

“It’s time we had an Australian head of state, chosen by Australians and accountable to them to safeguard and uphold Australia’s constitution.”

But Prof Twomey says republicans are “clutching at straws” – under their proposals, the head of state would also have been bound to follow the prime minister’s advice.

“It wouldn’t result in any changes that would have made one iota of difference.”

 

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-62683210

Continue Reading

Australia

Australia election: PM Morrison’s security team in car crash in Tasmania

Published

on

A car carrying the Australian prime minister’s security team has crashed in Tasmania during an election campaign visit.

Four police officers were taken to hospital with “non-life threatening injuries” after the car and another vehicle collided, authorities said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not in the car, but the accident prompted him to cancel the rest of his campaign events on Thursday.

The other driver involved was not hurt.

Tasmania Police said initial investigations suggested the second car had “collided with the rear of the police vehicle, while attempting to merge”. It caused the unmarked security vehicle to roll off the road.

The two Tasmania Police officers and two Australian Federal Police officers were conscious when taken to hospital for medical assessment, the prime minister’s office said.

“Family members of the officers have been contacted and are being kept informed of their condition,” a statement said.

“The PM is always extremely grateful for the protection provided by his security team and extends his best wishes for their recovery and to their families.”

Australians go to the polls on 21 May. Mr Morrison – prime minister since 2018 – is hoping to win his conservative coalition’s fourth term in office.

Polls suggest the opposition Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, is favoured to win. However, Mr Morrison defied similar polling to claim victory at the last election in 2019.

Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives – the minimum needed to retain power.

Political observers say the cost of living, climate change, trust in political leaders, and national security will be among key issues in the campaign.

In recent weeks, the prime minister has faced accusations of being a bully and once sabotaging a rival’s career by suggesting the man’s Lebanese heritage made him less electable. Mr Morrison has denied the allegations.

Mr Albanese stumbled into his own controversy this week when he failed to recall the nation’s unemployment or interest rates.

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61103987

Continue Reading

Australia

Sydney airport warns delays could last weeks on third day of travel chaos

Published

on

Long queues at Sydney airport’s domestic terminals have continued for a third day, with some passengers missing international connections, as the airport warns delays resulting from a surge in travellers and a shortfall in security staff could continue for weeks.

Chaotic scenes were reported in the departure halls as early as 4.30am on Saturday, with some frustrated travellers, many of whom heeded the pleas of airport chiefs to arrive at least two hours before their domestic flight was due to take off, claiming only one security line was operating.

While the queues that formed early on Saturday are understood to have cleared later in the morning, the airport apologised to affected travellers.

“Traffic numbers are picking up and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport. We appreciate your patience,” Sydney airport said on its Twitter account.

A wave of families travelling as the term two school holidays begin this weekend, combined with close contact rules that are understood to be taking out about 20% of security shifts in any given day, are driving the problem.

Certis, the company that Sydney airport contracts for its security operations, is desperately trying to recruit personnel, while the airport has reallocated back office, IT and retail workers to the departure hall to comb queues so they can prioritise passengers at risk of missing their flight.

“We are working around the clock to resolve these issues and have teams in the terminals bringing passengers forward in order of priority,” a Sydney airport spokesperson said.

He added that the airport is “anticipating it will [be] busy right through the school holiday period and peak over the Easter and Anzac Day weekends, in some cases at 90% of pre-Covid passenger levels”.

“We’re deeply grateful to passengers for their ongoing patience and we’re sorry to everyone who has been inconvenienced,” the spokesperson said. “We would also like to thank passengers for getting to the airport early and treating staff and each other with kindness and respect.”

The Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was forced to clarify comments he made on Friday that passengers were “not match fit” and that those forgetting to remove laptops and aerosols from their bags at the security check contributing to the delays.

“Just to be clear, I’m not ‘blaming’ passengers,” Joyce said. “Of course it’s not their fault,” he said.

Qantas shed thousands of staff during the pandemic, and outsourced ground crews in a decision that was challenged in court.

On Saturday, Qantas also apologised to a Melbourne family left stranded in Sydney, after domestic flight delays caused them to miss an international trip.

Javiera Martinez, her partner Daniel Capurro and their three children were supposed to be flying to Chile on Friday to visit relatives they had not seen in three years.

But after their 8am Qantas flight from Melbourne was delayed by half an hour, baggage handling and airport transfer delays in Sydney meant they couldn’t make their 11.30am LATAM Airlines flight to Santiago.

Martinez said the airline’s procedures at the airport were chaotic.

“We think Qantas didn’t behave appropriately. I got berated by the person at the counter – they never apologised, they never assumed any responsibility at all,” she said. “It was a rude conversation. We have been mistreated badly I would say.”

The PCR tests they need to travel have now expired and they will have to take them again as they wait for seats on the next flight to Santiago from Sunday.

The airline has apologised and paid for a night’s accommodation in Sydney.

“We sincerely apologise that the family missed their connecting flight on another airline due to delays moving through Sydney airport on Friday,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

The family is among many affected by hold ups amid the busiest travel period in two years, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports warning passengers to arrive two hours before domestic flights.

source

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 , madridjournals.com