“The Son” and Mental Health
We are experiencing a youth mental health crisis of historic proportions that has been made worse by COVID-19. More than one-third of high school students experienced poor mental health during the pandemic, with nearly half feeling persistently sad or hopeless in the past year.
In 2019, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among people aged 10–24. In 2020, amid the disruption and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency department visits related to suspected suicide attempts increased by 31% for those aged 12–17 compared to the previous year. And in 2021, 1 in 5 high school students reported experiencing serious thoughts of suicide within the past year.
Half of all mental illness begins by age 14, but the average delay between onset of symptoms and treatment is 11 years, so getting help early is crucial. That’s why NAMI is joining with Sony Pictures Classics to raise awareness of issues raised in “The Son,” a new film written and directed by Florian Zeller and starring Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath and Anthony Hopkins, opening nationwide on Jan. 20, 2023.
“The Son” tells the story of a family torn apart by divorce and a boy who shows troubling signs of mental illness and an inability to cope. Millions of real families face similar situations every year, but too often they don’t recognize the warning signs.
NAMI is here to educate, advocate and help people get the support they need for themselves or a loved one.
CEO Daniel H. Gillison Jr. speaks at a Q&A panel event after the film’s screening in Los Angeles, Calif.
Learn more about “THE SON”
If you need someone to talk to, you are not alone. Here are a few places to start:
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Call or text 988, or visit 988lifeline.org
- If you or someone you know is experiencing a suicide, substance use or mental health crisis, contact this lifeline, available 24/7
- NAMI HelpLine: Call 800-950-6264 or text 62640. Visit nami.org/help or email [email protected]
- If you need help locating resources in your area, NAMI’s HelpLine is available from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET Monday-Friday
- NAMI Support Groups: Visit nami.org/SupportGroups
- Connect with peers and families who have been through similar experiences
- NAMI Web Guides
- What You Need to Know About Youth Suicide:
- Learn about high-risk groups, common risk factors and how to protect yourself or someone you’re worried about
- NAMI’s best-selling book “You Are Not Alone — The NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Illness"
- Read insights from experts and peers with lived experience
- Blogs from NAMI’s CEO, Daniel H. Gillison Jr.
NOTE: If you are concerned someone in your life is at risk for suicide, ask directly:
“Are you thinking about ending your life?”
“Have you thought about how you would do it or when? Do you have a plan?”
Research shows that asking someone about suicide does not make them more likely to have thoughts of suicide or act on those thoughts. In fact, the opposite is true: Asking someone could save their life.
We hope that this movie will encourage you to start conversations about mental health. Here are a few ways you can get involved:
- Spread awareness on social media with shareable graphics
- Share the stats
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% begin by age 24
- The average delay between symptom onset of a mental health condition and treatment is 11 years
- Every 11 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies by suicide
- In 2019, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among people aged 10-24
- According to the CDC, more than 1 in 3 high school students experienced poor mental health during the pandemic, and nearly half of students felt persistently sad or hopeless
- Research shows that asking someone directly whether they are thinking about ending their life could be life-saving
- Start a conversation in your community
- Keep learning
- Sign up for NAMI’s newsletter and follow NAMI on social media (Facebook.com/NAMI and @NAMIcommunicate on Twitter and Instagram).
- Check out free educational resources on NAMI’s website, listen to NAMI’s new podcast or read NAMI’s new book.
- Don’t assume you know how the people around you are doing. Get past the surface level by asking how they are really doing.
- Check out the discussion guide.