Today I am posting the latest episode of my YouTube interview series Talking About Suicide Loss With…, featuring Josh Reiter, who I met while representing the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention during the performances of A Light in Dark Places, a September play series about suicide, loss and hope.
In the three year span of 2011-2014, six of his classmates at W.T. Woodson High in Fairfax, VA died by suicide. Two of those students were discovered dead just a day apart. Though it’s not believed the suicides were connected, it was a time when suicide wasn’t being openly discussed in an environment that was filled with pressure to achieve.
Like in all suicides, no definitive answers have been found of “why” this happened, but the silence around the subject obviously had a part in it. After the first one or two, the phenomenon of suicide contagion to take hold. This contagion is defined on hhs.gov as “the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within one’s family, one’s peer group, or through media reports of suicide and can result in an increase in suicide and suicidal behaviors. Direct and indirect exposure to suicidal behavior has been shown to precede an increase in suicidal behavior in persons at risk for suicide, especially in adolescents and young adults.”
Luckily Josh found a way to get through high school and has used his experiences to reach out to those he knows are in pain. He is excited that working with A Light In Dark Places is giving him a bigger platform to help reduce the stigma and silence and save lives.
Now, Josh is a Los Angeles based actor, writer, director, and coach. He has worked across the country in regional theatre appearing with the Saratoga Shakespeare Company, the Know Theatre of Cincinnati, and the West Coast Jewish Theatre among others. Josh can be seen on Saved By The Bell and Warped! He can be heard on Netflix doing the English Dub for The Hockey Girls and Vampires. Josh is Mr. June in the 2020 Nice Jewish Guys calendar. He holds a BFA from CCM and is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA.