“I’ve been praying since I was five years old. Nothing’s came, but that ain’t gonna stop me. This is what goes through my mind. God has to be busy with everyone else. Eventually, He will come into my life, and help me. I hope it happens. It’s gonna break my heart if it don’t.” –From the movie Rich Hill, which examined the plight and poverty of youth in Rural America.
I watched a very well done but depressing documentary this week called “Rich Hill” (on Netflix). It follows three teenage boys through their daily life in a small town in Missouri.
There is no voice-over commentary, only the subjects’ own words as the camera follows them, so the viewer is not led to any conclusions.
Between them they have histories of either abuse, parental neglect, or mental illness; all three live in poverty. But the most poignant thing it showed was how those circumstances not only influence but actually feed the other circumstances.
Anyone who thinks that poverty is purely a result of not trying hard enough needs to watch this. Anyone who thinks that free mental health care isn’t needed in this country needs to watch this.
One boy’s story evolves very slowly, though you suspect there is more than is told at first (and you’re right). It is gut-wrenching when it finally unfolds.
It’s an exceptionally well-told story of the many injustices that continue in this great country of opportunity…
According to a report in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, 66,595 youth in Rural America died from suicide between 1996 and 2010. That’s almost twice the number of suicides among youth in Urban America. Among the reasons cited for this high rate of suicide among rural Generation Z (born 1995 to present-day) are 1) Greater access to firearms than urban youth, and 2) Kids in Rural America lack access to mental health services.
Rich Hill is a U.S. Grand Jury Prize Winner, Sundance 2014. It is now available nationwide on-demand.
So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O’er wand’ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.
Margaret Clarkson, 1938