Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 is an HBO documentary short subject that follows suicide hotline responders as they deal with consoling suicidal veterans and talking them down from the brink. The film is directed by Ellen Goosenberg Kent and has been nominated for the Academy Award in the Best Documentary, Short Subject category.
The short film is what you would expect from a documentary about a crisis hotline center. The emotional weight of the job is made immediately apparent by the first phone call that is presented. The responders have to calmly converse with veterans who are holding razors and firearms, while simultaneously interacting with other responders who are corresponding with the police and EMTs. The film provides snapshots of these cases of depression and PTSD through the words of the responders in the center. Interviews with the responders show their heartfelt connections to the people they are trying to help.
This film is haunting. The quiet tension that pervades every call is chilling and hard to sit through. It’s a hard film to watch. The reality of each situation is so heavy. The mood of the film never lets up, seemingly to show how the pressures of the job never let up either. Emotionally powerful and simply presented, Crisis Hotline perfectly presents an inside look into the heroic job that is suicide prevention while also revealing the trauma that can come with being a veteran in America.
As always, thanks for reading.
Have you seen Crisis Hotline? If so, what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments.
–Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)