The pioneering podcast that launched the successful network returns with a nuanced look at mental health and suicide, in partnership with the Jed Foundation
10/21/20 — Lemonada Media has released the first episode of Last Day Season 2, a narrative, reported series devoted to debunking myths, eradicating stigma, and finding solutions around mental health struggles and the rising suicide rate in America.
For Last Day’s second season, Lemonada is partnering with The Jed Foundation (JED), leaders in emotional-health advocacy and suicide prevention. As a respected non-profit, JED empowers teens and young adults with the skills and support to grow into healthy, thriving adults.
Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs created Last Day, and subsequently Lemonada, after each lost their brothers, Stefano and Harris (respectively), to overdoses; Donna and Phil Satow founded JED after they lost their son to suidice. Cordova Kramer and Wittels Wachs realized that building a community could pull them—and several others impacted by addiction—out of darkness.
“We are intentionally releasing Last Day now, in the middle of a lingering pandemic, political upheaval, and an uncertain economic environment—because suicide stems in large part from feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, and despair,” says Wittels Wachs, Lemonada’s Chief Creative Officer who also hosts the series. “We are focusing on a new conversation about suicide, one that’s more thoughtful and multi-dimensional than what we’re typically offered in media and headlines. The bottom line is that suicide prevention is a Rubik’s Cube. In order to crack the code, we have to have very real, and often uncomfortable, conversations about mental health.”
Last Day tells moving stories about people’s “last days.” While some may end tragically, others have become powerful testaments of survival. Wittels Wachs approaches this topic with compassion, wit, and quest for progress. According to JED’s Janis Whitlock, who’s also Director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behaviors, “Suicide prevention is doing everything we can to enable more people to have a life worth living.”
Season 2 is just that, featuring members of the LGBTQ+ community, veterans, Sandy Hook survivors, writer/cultural critic Ana Marie Cox, music-industry vet Mike Heyliger, WNBA player Chamique Holdsclaw, as well as families moving through grief and others who are stuck in the “manic investigative phase,” as Wittels Wachs calls it. The new season of Last Day addresses such hot-button issues as: upstream intervention, collaborative care, improving mental healthcare, the truth about trigger warnings, making grief-counseling more effective, reducing sexual assault in the military, managing financial stress, access to means, and elderly suicide.
“Lemonada was built on the support and encouragement of our Last Day listeners. Many approached us with an outpouring of appreciation, and that feeling is so deeply mutual,” Says Jessica Cordova Kramer, Lemonada’s Chief Executive Officer. “We feel privileged to bring backLast Day, to have so many brave survivors, friends, and family share their own powerful stores—all in the name of helping others. This is what Lemonada is about: finding glimmers of hope in the darkness around us. Because it is there.”
Also on Lemonada’s Roster:
- Our America with Julián Castro: A powerful look at how the American dream has been displaced by the American struggle—and how we can make a change. [Listen Now]
- In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt: This smart, entertaining take at life in a pandemic covers our day-to-day survival, testing/treatments/vaccines, and healthcare. [Listen Now]
- In Recovery: Dr. Nzinga Harrison is a physician who marries science with compassion while interacting with listeners confronting all types of addiction. [Listen Now]
- Tell Me What to Do with Jaime Primak Sullivan: The author/personality is hilariously voicey, emotional, and frequently TMI as she takes on any and all of your burning questions. [Listen Now]
- Good Kids: A compelling mix of perspectives on child-rearing (from parents and experts, authors and actors, to “good” kids themselves) come together in this all-hands-on-deck discussion about creating a better world. [Listen Now]
- The Untold Story: Policing: Hosted by actor Jay Ellis (Insecure, Mrs. America) and co-produced with Campaign Zero’s DeRay Mckesson, the limited-series takes a close look at police unions, people of color, and effecting impactful change. [Listen Now]
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