Palo Alto sits in the heart of Silicon Valley, just a few miles away from tech giants such as Google and Facebook, and home to Stanford University. Some of the wealthiest and smartest people in the world call this Bay Area city home, but it’s also home to a sobering statistic. In recent years, there have been two high school suicide clusters. The first was between 2009-2010, when five current and former students took their own lives. Five years later, during the 2014/2015 school year, four more students died by suicide. In the following years, several recent graduates lost their lives to suicide. Countless others have received both inpatient and outpatient care for treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression.
With unprecedented access to six unique high schoolers, The Edge of Success serves as a platform for these diverse students to tell their side of the story. Through their junior and senior year journeys, we gain insight into what really goes on in the hallways of one of the best high schools in the nation as we seek to understand the factors that may have led their peers to tragically end lives that had just barely begun.
Beyond the student perspective, the documentary provides an inside-out look at a community grappling with tragedy, from the school district to the parents, mental health experts, educators, and local pediatricians. They see sleep-deprivation, stress, and anxiety in teenagers they interact with daily and are looking at new approaches to stem the tide of this burgeoning crisis. While Palo Alto has made headlines for their tragedies, The Edge of Success will explore the national implications of the city's crisis. Our film doesn’t expect to solve the problem, but it can be a start to an important conversation.