Documentary about New Zealand mental illness advocate Jazz Thornton to make world premiere this weekend

Warning: This article discusses suicide.

A feature documentary about suicide survivor and now global advocate Jazz Thornton will have its world premiere this weekend at the New Zealand International Film Festival.

It's called The Girl on the Bridge and there's nothing easy about the film. It's heart-wrenching, confronting, and painfully real. 

The film looks at suicide through the lens of a 22-year-old who is determined to force change. 

"It makes the young girl sitting in the psych ward know that she isn't the only one feeling with, because that is how I felt for nine years - that no one else was going through it," Thornton said. "I'm the only one because no one else was talking about it."

Having survived multiple suicide attempts and losing a good friend to the battle, Thornton's story and her candidness around it has the world's attention. 

But that comes at a cost - the mental health campaigner has a social media inbox flooded by people all over the globe who turn to her for help in their most desperate moments.  

"There is not a single thing in my life that is not to do with suicide," Thornton said.

The film shot over two years follows Thornton as she grapples with the reality she can't save them all.

"I am now able to put my phone down and not feel the guilt that I used to because I know that I physically can't save people," she said.

In a cruel reminder of just how necessary their work was, during filming director Leanne Pooley lost her brother to suicide and she has leant on Thornton for support. 

The pair were bolstered in their sense of purpose and in their trust in each other. 

An award-winning author, social media juggernaut, and charity founder -  the documentary shows Thornton as her most raw and authentic self.

With all the tears, triumphs, and tear out your hair out anger - that comes with the pressure of being a "counsellor to the world".

Where to find help and support: