In my last few posts, you got to see My #doubtfireface Suicide Prevention Challenge. Also, my research on American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the #doubtfireface challenge this led me to Michael Scotti, Jr. creator of the viral video: Say “Helloooo” to #suicideprevention!
I reached out to him via e-mail and he I asked if I could ask him a few questions for my Mental Health Humor blog.
Chato Stewart: I’m a blogger and mental health advocate that uses humor as a tool to teach, comfort and help heal my-self and my peers. The loss of Robin Williams…huge! Michael – great thinking with the say “Hello” To Suicide Prevention #doubtfireface challenge! I would love to ask You a few questions to be published on my Psych Central blog with my video. I was at a restaurant with my wife and 4 kids and grabbed one of my girl’s dessert and did a “Doubtfire.”
Michael Scotti Jr.: Thanks so much for reaching out and for your Doubtfireface support. I agree. The loss of Robin Williams is a tragedy. He was not only an icon of comedy, but also served as one my biggest inspirations to have a sense of humor always and to follow my dreams of becoming a filmmaker. I would be happy to answer your questions.
Chato Stewart: Where and when did the idea “Doubtfire face” first come to you?
Michael Scotti Jr.: The movement began on August 11th, the night of Robin’s passing, as a way to honor him and pay tribute to his work in my home in Matawan, New Jersey. I was writing a Facebook post honoring him, and scrolled by a photo of him with his face in cream from Mrs. Doubtfire and it made me smile. Moments later, my sister walked in the door and I asked her to film me, for fun, recreating the short scene. I did it because that was my grieving process. I wanted a way to celebrate Robin’s life and honor him the best way I know how, through film. He was my idol.
The original video that started it all can be seen here.
Chato Stewart: What led you to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention site?
Michael Scotti Jr.: I posted it online with the hashtag “#doubtfireface” and tagged a few friends just to see where it might go. Almost immediately, my friends and family began to join me in making Doubtfire Face videos. I quickly realized the potential this could have in the awareness of suicide prevention. Less than 24 hours later, the Doubtfire Face For Suicide Prevention Facebook page, and hashtag “#sayhellotosuicideprevention” was created. The page’s goal is to provide a community for people who want to share their Doubtfire Face videos, honor Robin Williams, to help spread awareness and to act as a hub for suicide prevention resources.
Chato Stewart: The “Doubtfire Face For Suicide Prevention” is a personal campaign sponsored by you “Michael Scotti Jr.” for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention…What Does this mean?
Michael Scotti Jr.: Along with the Facebook page, and in lieu of all the attention the movement garnered, I created the official campaign on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention web site with our goal of $500,000. Although a financial goal is set, our true goal is to promote mental health awareness and spark the conversation on suicide prevention. We chose the AFSP because we believe in what they are doing. We believe that through their research studies and prevention programs they provide an outlet of opportunity to not only help us understand suicide and mental illness, but also how we can reach the masses most effectively.
Chato Stewart: Does AFSP support or fund the campaign?
Michael Scotti Jr.: The campaign is sponsored by myself. This means that we are not associated with the organization at all, they are just the charity we have chosen to direct our donations. They are not funding the campaign in any way but they are in full support, providing national social media coverage as well as specific chapter support by doing and supporting the challenge.
Chato Stewart: Your goal is $500,000, and right now your at 1% – that is great considering it’s a personal campaign. I’m sure others have donated directly to AFSP.
Michael Scotti Jr.: At this moment, we have raised almost $4300, and we are extremely proud of that. We have seen an outcry of support from those who have seen others suffer or are suffering themselves. We have heard countless personal stories of how suicide and mental illness have touched peoples lives. From the United States, to South Africa, to Whales, to Pakistan, we have seen videos from everywhere. We have also been covered on local radio and news outlets — Scene on Seven, Kidd Nation, Q92.9, The Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and Bustle. People are truly suffering everywhere and we like to think that we have created a universal place where people can go to relate to each other and find support through hearing others stories while also hopefully getting a good laugh. We like to think thats what Robin Williams would have wanted. Although the movement started out as a way to honor Robin William’s life, we like to think it turned into a way for others to celebrate life in general.
Chato Stewart: As “Doubtfire face” keeps going viral, what would you like to see happen? Obviously money being raised, but I’m sure you can envision more?
Michael Scotti Jr.: Moving forward, we would love to see some support from those who knew Robin personally and just to see even more people making Doubtfireface videos in order to keep the conversation going. We would love to encourage others to come together as communities to create their videos. Suicide Prevention Week is coming up, and we hope that the Doubtfire Face will be on the list of things people do to spread awareness and to honor the ones they have lost. There is no better time.
Michael Scotti Jr.: We cant speak officially yet, but we would like to see an official Doubtfireface for Suicide Prevention meet up or event in the near future where we can come together, make videos, celebrate Robin William’s and life together, and to allow people to realize that it is OK to talk about it. It may be tough and it may hurt, but society will never understand how many people are suffering silently unless we do. Even if that saves one life, we have done our job.
Chato Stewart: Congratulations on the success of the “Doubtfire face” movement, who would YOU now challenge?
Michael Scotti Jr.: Although I know we are already beyond successful in achieving our goals for the Doubtfire Face movement and I am beyond grateful for it, I would love to challenge Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Ellen DeGeneres
Chato Stewart: Well you heard it here first folks: Michael Scotti Jr creator of the #doubtfireface is challenging Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Ellen DeGeneres…and YOU to support the campaign. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me and share your great story!
Facebook: facebook.com/doubtfireface Twitter: twitter.com/doubtfireface Official AFSP Donation Page: afsp.donordrive.com/campaign/doubtfireface Read all the media Coverage so Far: Here is a master list of articles and media coverage we have compiled:Elite Daily: http://elitedaily.com/envision/doubtfire-faces-raise-suicide-awareness/707937/,Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/13/doubtfire-face_n_5675975.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment&ir=Entertainment
Michael Scotti Jr.: Thank you so much for your interest.
Daily Gazette: http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2014/aug/27/0827_viral/
Please Be Aware of Suicide Risk Factors in the Fight of Prevention:
The most frequently cited risk factors for suicide are: Mental disorders, in particular: Depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder, Alcohol or substance abuse or dependence, Schizophrenia, ,Borderline or antisocial personality disorder ,Conduct disorder (in youth) , Psychotic disorders; psychotic symptoms in the context of any disorder, Impulsivity and aggression, especially in the context of the above mental disorders, Previous suicide attempt, Anxiety disorders and Family history of attempted or completed suicide