The Directing Change Program & Film Contest is part of Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement. The program offers young people the exciting opportunity to participate in the movement by creating 60-second films about suicide prevention and mental health that are used to support awareness, education and advocacy efforts on these topics. Learning objectives surrounding mental health and suicide prevention are integrated into the submission categories of the film contest, giving young people the opportunity to critically explore these topics. Program participants – whether they are making a film, acting as an adult advisor, or judging the films – are exposed to appropriate messaging about these topics, warning signs, how to appropriately respond to someone in distress, where to seek help, as well as how to stand up for others who are experiencing a mental health challenge. In addition, schools and organizations are offered free prevention programs and educational resources.
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Published Articles and News Coverage
Regional Directing Change films are promoted with the local media.
2017 media coverage
The East Valley Times in Shasta County highlighted Shasta High School students Zach Osterday, Owen Castagnoli and Eddie DeAvila, who received an “honorable mention” in the suicide prevention category for their film “The Missing Pieces”.
Del Mar Times highlighted Torrey Pines High School’s Yellow Ribbon Week March 13-17th, which included presentations and activities to educate students about the importance of taking care of their mental health. Coordinated by advisor Don Collins, Torrey Pines students’ Directing Change films were screened and discussed.
Torrey Pines High School students were also recognized on San Diego Channel 10 news for their 1st place regional winning film “Light at the End of the Tunnel”. Cristian Aragon, Jose Becerra, Nick Meraz and Jay Butler discussed the importance of making films to change the conversation about suicide prevention and mental health at their school. Watch the story here.
In 2016 films received 18 news media stories and the following publications:
San Diego Union-Tribune, Clovis Independent, California Healthline, Davis Enterprise, Orange County Register, Today.com, DKS Media Solutions’ website, Noelle Cope’s blog, Radar Online, Victorville Daily Press, Elk Grove Citizen, Redwoodvoice.com, Victor Valley News, The Laguna Beach Indy, ChicoER, CoyoteChronicle.net, plus an additional 208 online publications picked up Directing Change stories through PR Newswire.
KPBS Evening Edition and KPBS.org news highlighted the NAMI San Diego Directing Change film Screening on September 13, 2016.
- Watch Evening Edition News coverage (starts at 12:15) here
- Read the article and listen to the radio story here
Today.com featured Murrieta Valley High School student Ben Finnie recognized for his film “Leap of Faith’ Directing Change program and youth. The film makes a plea for those in need of help to take that step and reach out to someone. Read the article here.
- “There’s such a negative connotation of mental illness, but it’s not something a person can help and it doesn’t define who they are as people,” Walker said. “I think what’s most successful about the program is that it starts a conversation, and that’s how you get rid of the stigma.”
- “Over the past four years we have received countless stories from youth and teachers who have shared how the program has opened up conversations in the classroom, at home and among friends,” Jana Sczersputowski, founder and project director for Directing Change Program & Film Contest, told TODAY.
The CW6 San Diego interviewed Directing Change President Jana Sczersputowski and shared films submitted to the contest by local San Diego youth. Read the article and view the coverage here.
The Elk Grove Citizen highlighted student Ryan Santiago from Franklin High School for his first place regional winning film, “The Guides of Life” which also won a first place statewide prize in the Suicide Prevention category. Ryan’s animated film is about one friend experiencing thoughts of suicide and how his two close friends try to help him through it. It encourages people to reach out to someone during those times; to not be afraid to reach out for help.
- “It’s about one friend experiencing thoughts of suicide and how his two close friends try to help him through it. It encourages people to reach out to someone during those times; to not be afraid to reach out for help,” said Ryan, who used Toon Boom animation software to create his piece and plans to continue with filmmaking after graduation.”
UC Davis student Marielle Pastor won a second-place award for her film “This is Claire”, which creatively explores how college students can help fight stigma around mental health challenges. View the article here.
The Madera Tribune highlighted Madera South High School, Pioneer Technical Center and Minarets Charter High School students’ whose films received a second place prize and an honorable mention.
PR Newswire shared the outcome of the 2016 statewide award ceremony which recognized first-generation college students, Amanda Deda and Alejandra Vaca who envisioned the creation of a short film that would express some of the barriers they faced when accessing mental health services. The first place film “The Language of Healing” was submitted in the Through the Lens of Culture Mental Health Category.
- “They hope that this film will deliver a culturally relevant perspective to those facing similar experiences, and will encourage these individuals to seek support through the healing power of community.”
- “The newest category encouraged participants to choose suicide prevention or mental health as a focus, but with additional requirements including creating a film in a language different than English and/or with focus on how different cultures view these topics.”
The Fresno Bee recognized Clovis East students who won the second place prize in the Through the Lens of Culture category at the 2015 Directing Change Award ceremony for their film “Depression has No Culture”.
Torrey Pines High School students were featured in the San Diego Union Tribune for their first place regional winning film “This is Me”. View the San Diego Union Tribune article and a link to their winning film here.