Now, more than ever, it's important to talk about mental health.
While MTV may be known for its reality shows like The Challenge, Jersey Shore and Teen Mom, the network is also well aware of America's reality. People are mentally struggling, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rates of suicide among young people jumped 56% in the last 10 years. And in August 2020, the CDC reported that a quarter of young adults have seriously contemplated suicide during the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Feb. 16, MTV will spotlight nine young adults who are all suicide attempt survivors or have struggled with suicidal ideation in the commercial-free documentary, Each and Every Day. According to filmmaker Alexandra Shiva, each participant has a story worth hearing.
"These individuals have so much to teach us about how to manage in isolation, how to manage in stress and anxiety and they had been working for so long in their own lives to try and temper anxiety and create coping skills so it was really interesting to hear from them," she exclusively shared with E! News. "Each and every person we spoke to just wanted to give back. There's a sense of, 'What did I need when I was going through the dark times for myself?' and 'How could I give hope to someone who could be going through that who doesn't have an outlet or hasn't seen themselves reflected back?' and I thought that was incredible."
With help from The Jed Foundation, Alexandra and executive producer Sheila Nevins told the stories of young people who span across race, ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds around the country. Some participants had difficult childhoods while others were very close to their families. Ultimately, having a diverse group of participants was a priority in hopes that viewers see themselves in and feel connected to the stories.
"I think there are as many kinds of mental health challenges as there are different kinds of people," Alexandra explained. "What brings one young person to a place of feeling hopeless and isolated can be completely different from another. Sometimes it's external. Sometimes it's around gender identity and sexuality. Sometimes it's around racism and inequality and that is creating mental health challenges."
The Peabody award-winning filmmaker added, "There are lots of ways where people come to having these difficulties and there are also many ways people come out of it. Journaling helped someone. Therapy and medication helped another. Fitness and faith helped another."
Alexandra envisions parents and teenagers watching the film together or separately. She also supports schools showing it to students in hopes of starting a dialogue around mental health.
"One of the messages is talk about this," she explained. "If you see someone who could be in trouble, ask them. If you think someone is thinking about suicide, ask them. The more we talk about it is a first step to recovery for everyone."
And when speaking to E! News days before the film premiered, Alexandra was happy to report all of the participants are "doing very well" and don't have regrets about sharing their stories.
In fact, their powerful, honest voices might just make a big difference for viewers at home.
"I hope that they are able to see how important talking about suicide and mental health and being open about these issues is and how much that is the step to saving lives," Alexandra explained. "This is a completely preventable situation. Suicide is preventable and when people talk about it, it's the first step to recovery."
Each and Every Day premieres Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 9 p.m. on MTV.