When seemingly happy, travel-infatuated veteran CJ Twomey violently ended his own life at age 20, his family was plunged into unrelenting grief and guilt. In a moment of desperate inspiration, his mother Hallie put out an open call on Facebook, looking only for a handful of travelers who might help fulfill her son’s wish to see the world by scattering some of his ashes in a place of beauty or special meaning. Her heartfelt request struck a chord, creating a global online community of tens of thousands congregating in solidarity and empathy and inspiring more than 1,000 “scatterers” who documented the delivery of CJ’s ashes to locations on every continent.
Scattering CJ, the award-winning documentary about Hallie Twomey’s healing mission, is coming to public television in September, during National Suicide Prevention Month. The film, which has sparked essential conversations about mental health and suicide prevention, is sponsored in part by Southeast Nassau Guidance Center, with locations in Seaford and Wantagh. SNG helped fund the creation of a screening guide and discussion questions that can accompany screenings and community events, the creation of a Spanish-subtitled version of the film and making the film ADA compliant through closed captions and Descriptive Video Track. Future plans include local community in-person events.
Scattering CJ will air locally on public television on Thursday, September 15 at 9 pm on NJ PBS (available on Fios on Long Island ch.23); Friday, September 16 at 7 pm on WLIW World (Cablevision ch. 132, Fios ch.473); and Sunday, September 18 at 8 am on WLIW/ch.21. Viewers can also stream the film at
https://www.pbs.org during National Suicide Prevention Month.
Executive Director, Milton Kalin and Agency Coordinator, Michael Sylvester of SNG are proud to partner with “Scattering CJ,” and with public television, in an effort to bring greater attention to the vital importance of suicidal risk-awareness and suicide prevention: “This particularly poignant film shines a light on these critical behavioral health problems. It also serves as a powerfully moving, touching, and dramatic tool in sparking much-needed conversations about suicidal vulnerabilities, suicide prevention, and the coping experiences of ‘survivors of suicide,’ the trauma-affected family members, partners, and significant others who are ‘left behind’ following a suicide.”
A Spark Media production, the Scattering CJ story, both uplifting and raw, examines how military recruit CJ’s memory is kept alive through the kindness of strangers willing to scatter his ashes in places of meaning and beauty throughout the world.
The public television airings of Scattering CJ follow a successful film festival run and an outreach campaign that has touched people from all walks of life, with special focus directed to the military community and youth—both groups at high risk for mental health issues and suicide. Activities to engage communities have included expert panel discussions, on-demand screenings, live performances, mental health first aid trainings, Capitol Hill forums and Facebook Live sessions. The American Association of Suicidology and other partners working in the areas of mental health and suicide prevention have championed this project and have been invaluable supporters.
Scattering CJ is sponsored by Southeast Nassau Guidance Center, The Charles E. Kubly Foundation, LivingWorks, and Ruderman Family Foundation.
View the trailer for the film at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4zeH6Ee-Xg.