Suicide. It’s an issue that is becoming increasingly more prevalent in our world and one West Haven native is ad- dressing the issue, hoping his provocative series will bring attention to the growing problem.
Joe Massa, an actor and filmmaker, and the creator of the web series, “My Suicide Story,” has been helping survivors share their stories through the lens of his camera since July 2018.
The series, which aims to expose the suicidal ideologies faced by those who suffer from these distressing thoughts, features attempted suicide survivors who describe what they were going through at the time of their attempts – mentally, emotionally, and physically – and how they carried out their attempts.
He said the idea was not one on his radar until a conversation gave him the inspiration.
“This series actually came about by mistake when one of my best friends told me that he tried to take his own life,” Massa said. “I was shocked that I never knew this. We talked about it a little more in depth and agreed that it might be helpful to others to post his story online.”
The 2008 graduate of West Haven High determined he would begin work on the series, and it has borne out good results. Those who view the online series have been positive. It seems it has affected and challenged those who watch.
Viewers, Massa said, seem to be giving positive feedback as the “likes” on each video far outnumber the dislikes. Since the first video was upload- ed to YouTube, My Suicide Story has grown into a five- episode series amassing more than 8,000 collective views and is not finished yet.
When asked what he plans to do next, Massa stated that he intends to move to Los Angeles to further his career in film. He hopes the series will serve as a springboard into other projects that will catch the eye of others in the industry.
“I plan on moving to LA by the end of next year – there’s a lot going on out there in the entertainment industry and that’s where I feel I need to be. There are also several survivors in the LA area that have reached out to me and re- quested to share their stories, so heading out west seems to be the right move all around,” he said.
Growing up in the Savin Avenue-Brown Street neighborhood, the Massa clan is still living in the city, and his brother, Christian, has helped him in the production. Prior to going to WHHS, he was a student at Our Lady of Victory School.
My Suicide Story can be viewed on YouTube by visiting: https://www.youtube. com/mysuicidestory.
The series discusses a topic that just a generation or so ago was not discussed, and had a stigma attached to it, not only for those who survived attempts, but for their families.
The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts suicide as the 10th leading cause of death in the nation, claiming about 47,000 per year. It is the second leading cause of death for individuals between 10-34, and the fourth leading cause of death for those 35-54.
With the web series, this young filmmaker hopes to bring about series discussion, and the hope that those contemplating suicide will see they are not alone in the fears and anxieties that lead to the decision.