Season 1   |   Episode 15   |   April 20, 2016

When A Family Secret Involves Mental Illness and Suicide with Hope Litoff

“We can’t talk about the truth.” That’s the message documentary filmmaker Hope Litoff received when her parents lied to her about her older sister Ruth’s first suicide attempt at age 16, when Hope was 13. Ruth eventually killed herself at age 42 in 2008. Hope is tracing her family’s journey in a documentary called “Rules to Live By,” and she joins me in this week’s episode of Shared Secrets to discuss the shock waves suicide can send through families and communities.

In the episode, Hope discusses how a mentally ill family member can shape an entire family's dynamic. We also talk about the stigma still attached to suicide and mental illness, and the power of community to heal.