Directing Change

Submission Categories

All submissions cannot exceed 60 seconds in length and must adhere to the submission format outlined in the contest rules. Submissions are accepted in two categories:

Enter to Win a “One on One” Skype session with Bradley Beucker, Director for Fox’s hit TV show Glee!
All entries into the “Ending the Silence of Mental Illness” will be entered to win a 30-Minute Skype session with Mr. Buecker. Bradley Buecker has been director and/or producer of multiple television shows including Glee and The New Normal.

Suicide Prevention

Education about suicide is the strongest tool towards prevention and saving lives. Suicide however, is a complex and sensitive subject which needs to be addressed with compassion and knowledge. This category has special content that must be included and specific content that must be avoided. See these documents, and the tips below, for more information.

This Public Service Announcement (PSA) will tie in to a statewide media campaign underway in California with the goal to increase the public’s knowledge about warnings signs for suicide, how to offer help and resources.

The “Must Haves”

For High School Students:
The PSA must include the Prop 63 logo, the CalMHSA logo and the Know the Signs logos at the end of the film. All logos are provided in the Submission Tool Box.

The PSA must include a title slide (not counted in the 60-second limit) that needs to include: The Film Title, the Submission Category, Student Advisor Name, School Name, County in which School is Located, and Student Name (s). A template is provided in the Submission Tool Box.

The PSA must include one or both of these resources: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and/or the website: www.suicideispreventable.org

For UC Students:
The PSA must include the Prop 63 logo, the CalMHSA logo at the end of the film. All logos are provided in the Submission Tool Box.

The PSA must include a title slide (not counted in the 60-second limit) that needs to include: The Film Title, the Submission Category, School Name, and Student Name (s). A template is provided in the Submission Tool Box.

The PSA must include one or both of these resources: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and the website: www.jedfoundation.org

For All Students:
The PSA should be sensitive to racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation and gender differences, with all individuals realistically and respectfully depicted.

The PSA should be positive and educational; communicating that suicide is preventable. See tips for producing your Suicide Prevention PSA for suggested messages.

The “Things to Avoid” order of items below changed.

The PSA should not be longer than 60 seconds.

Only the first 60 seconds of a video will be judged. Any videos which run longer than 60 seconds will not be judged upon their full content and will be at a disadvantage. The title slide does not count toward the 60-second limit.

The PSA should not include portrayals of suicide deaths or attempts (such as a person jumping off a building or bridge, or holding a gun to their head).

Why?

Portraying suicide attempts and means, even in dramatization, can increase chances of an attempt by someone who might be thinking about suicide and exposed to the film. Submissions that include this type of content will be disqualified.

The PSA should not portray suicide or a suicide attempt as something that happens all the time or is the result of a single cause. You can reference the Suicide Prevention Fact Sheet for data to use in your video.

Examples of content that should be avoided:

  • Use of statistics such as: “A person dies by suicide every 18 minutes” or “Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 18 to 24.”
  • Showing people who died by suicide as role models
  • “She was bullied to death.”
  • “He killed himself over a broken heart”
  •  “After the things he saw as a soldier in war, I’m not surprised he killed himself”
  • “He killed himself because he didn’t get into the college he wanted.”
  • “His life was perfect and no one will ever know why he took his own life.”

Tips for producing your Suicide Prevention PSA

The following tips are based upon the Official Contest Judging Form for this category.

Be Positive and Creative - Communicate a message that is positive and hopeful; creatively and accurately explore the complexity of this topic.

Many people have a tendency to think messages about suicide should be dark and subdued, using colors such as black, grey or red. Instead, remember this PSA contest is about suicide prevention and consider warm colors that communicate hope and life.

Educate and Encourage Action - The PSA should communicate a positive and educational message that is hopeful and focused on what others can do to prevent suicide such as recognizing the warning signs and reaching out to a friend.  Here are a few suggested messages:

  • Suicide can be prevented.
  • Most people show one or more warning signs, so it is important to know the signs and take them seriously.
  • It is okay to break a friend’s trust and share your concerns with an adult if you think your friend might be thinking about harming him or herself.
  • If a person talks about ending his or her life you should take him or her seriously and connect him or her to help.
  • Asking someone “Are you thinking about suicide?” will not put thoughts of suicide in his or her mind. In fact, asking this direct question is important.
  • You are not alone. Images and depictions of people struggling with thoughts of suicide often show them suffering alone in silence. The PSA should encourage people to reach out to a friend they are concerned about, or to tell an adult if they are concerned about someone.

Remember that the category is about suicide prevention, not bullying. We understand that bullying is a topic that impacts many young people and it is okay to include bullying in your film as a possibly contributing factor to why a young person might be feeling hopeless or trapped (which are warning signs for suicide). BUT….your film should not send the message that bullying is a direct cause of suicide, or that suicide is the unavoidable result of bullying. Most young people who suffer from bullying do not think about ending their life.

Avoid statistics that make it appear suicide is something that happens all the time. For example: “A person dies by suicide every 18 minutes” may seem like a compelling statistic to get the audience’s attention, but in fact presenting the data in this format makes suicide seem common and might encourage a young person already thinking about ending their life to believe, mistakenly, that suicide is a common and acceptable solution to the problems they are facing- which is not true! Instead, consider utilizing statistics that focus on positive or help-seeking behavior such as “In 2011, 105,142 calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline were made from California. The majority of these calls were answered by crisis centers in California.”

Use Appropriate Language When Addressing Suicide

Use: “died by suicide” or ” took their own life” not “committed suicide”

  • Note: Use of the word “commit” can imply crime/sin

Use: “completed or attempted suicide” not “successful” or “unsuccessful”

  • Note: There is no success, or lack of success, when dealing with suicide

Suicide Warning Signs for Youth

Warning signs are indications that someone may be at risk for suicide, either immediately or in the near future.

  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Hopelessness
  • Isolation, loneliness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Significant personality change
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Unusual neglect of personal appearance
  • Frequent complaints about physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, fatigue, etc.
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Increasing use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Putting his or her affairs in order (for example giving away favorite possessions, or throwing away important belongings, etc.)
  • Becoming suddenly cheerful after a period of depression (this could be a sign that a person has made a suicide plan)

The following is a list of emergency warning signs that require immediate action!

  • Threatening self-harm or suicide
  • Person is in act of self-harm or suicide
  • Person has a weapon or other lethal means
  • Seeking weapons or means to self-harm
  • Talking about death or suicide while acting agitated or anxious, or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

If you think someone might be at risk for suicide, you need to seek help from a trusted adult immediately, or call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

For question regarding the “Suicide Prevention” category, please send emails to stan@directingchange.org.

Ending the Silence of Mental Illness

Announcing NAMI California’s Recognition of All Ending the Silence on Mental Illness Submissions

NAMI California will be offering special appreciation of all submissions to the Ending the Silence on Mental Illness Category in this year’s contest. Teams will receive a personalized certificate crediting each individuals’ efforts in the contest and in reducing stigma in their schools. NAMI California will also recognize teams in their monthly newsletter, seen by over 5,300 mental health advocates across California! This is a great opportunity to get your name and efforts recognized by the leaders in the field.

 
Ending the Silence

Research shows that half of all mental illnesses start by age 14 and three-quarters start by age 24. But, an average of 6 to 8 years passes after the symptoms of mental illness begin, before young people get help.

Why does this happen? Why don’t we seek the help we need and the support we deserve when we begin to experience mental health challenges? Why do people live in a difficult circumstance for so long when there is help available? When we know that one in four people we know will experience a mental health challenge in their lifetime, including members of our family, our friends, and ourselves what’s stopping us from getting the help we need?

Research tells us that the largest barrier to reaching out for mental health needs is stigma.

Stigma is a way of thinking that says that certain people are less deserving of our respect. Stigma comes from negative and incorrect beliefs, or stereotypes, about groups of people. Fear of being left out or picked on because of who you are is stigma. The effects of stigma can make you feel sad, ashamed or alone. Stigma can be seen in the attitudes of those around us toward mental illness, but also in the way we judge our own challenges with this issue.

People with mental health challenges often experience stigma. They get called names by those around them who don’t understand what they are going through. These labels are based on stereotypes, not on facts, and they represent stigma – a fear and lack of knowledge that stops people from speaking up about their needs, that keeps them suffering in silence.

Besides the obvious problems of feeling isolated and alone that stigma can create, it can also delay the time in which someone gets help. This delay can lead to worsening of all the problems associated with stigma, further taunting, and increasing mental health challenges.

It’s our responsibility to strike down stigma wherever we find it. You can help break down stigma by learning more and sharing the truth about mental health through your public service announcement. You can help us end the silence.

Mental health is a complex and sensitive subject that needs to be addressed with compassion and knowledge. This category has special content that must be included and specific content that must be avoided. See these documents, and the tips below, for more information.

Official Contest Judging Form

This Public Service Announcement (PSA) will tie in to a statewide media campaign underway in California with the goal of delivering resources, information and support to someone in need before a mental health challenge becomes a crisis.

The “Must Haves”

For High School Students:
The PSA must include the Prop. 63 logo, the CalMHSA logo, and the Each Mind Matters logo at the end of the film. All logos are provided in the Submission Tool Box.

The PSA must include a title slide (not counted in the 60-second limit) that needs to include: The Film Title, the Submission Category, Student Advisor Name, School Name, County in which School is Located, and Student Name(s). A template is provided in the Submission Tool Box.

The PSA must include an invitation to join the conversation and find support at www.ReachOutHere.com.

For UC Students:
The PSA must include the Prop. 63 logo, the CalMHSA logo, the UC logo and the Each Mind Matters logo at the end of the film. All logos are provided in the Submission Tool Box.

The PSA must include a title slide (not counted in the 60-second limit) that needs to include: The Film Title, the Submission Category, School Name, and Student Name(s). A template is provided in the Submission Tool Box.

The PSA must include an invitation to join the conversation and find support at www.jedfoundation.org/.

For All Students:
The PSA should focus on people aged 14 – 24.

The PSA should be sensitive to racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation and gender differences, with all individuals realistically and respectfully depicted.

The PSA should have a positive message of support, acceptance, hope, and recovery related to mental health challenges. We are looking to you to tell a story that stands up to stigma. It should illustrate that a diagnosis of mental illness does not define a person and to debunk the myths that say mental illness is something to fear or to ignore.

The PSA should let people know that there is help out there for people living with a mental illness. That treatment and support work and that most people who experience a mental health challenge can recover, if treated early.

The PSA should encourage action, showing how young people can stand up for those living with a mental health challenge (or themselves) who are being harassed, bullied, excluded or in some other way discriminated against. This may include interactions in online communities.
The PSA should focus on ways we can overcome the stigma that keeps many from seeking treatment in the first place, rather than specific treatments for mental illness (for example, medication or therapy). Focus on demonstrating that it is ok to talk about your mental health challenges, and to support friends and loved ones with such challenges.

The PSA should be careful not to accidentally reinforce stereotypes of people living with a mental health challenge such as being dangerous, disabled or homeless, or being personally to blame for their condition.
The PSA should use person-first language, which refers to people who are living with mental health challenges as part of their full-life experience, not people who are defined by their mental health challenges:

Use:
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
She is experiencing a mental health challenge.
People living with mental health challenges…

Don’t Use:
I am bipolar.
She is mentally ill.
The mentally ill…

The “Things to Avoid”

The PSA should not be longer than 60 seconds.

Only the first 60 seconds of a video will be judged. Any videos that run longer than 60 seconds will not be judged upon their full content and will be at a disadvantage. The title slide does not count toward the 60-second limit.

The PSA should not include developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, etc.

Mental health challenges common to young people include: Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Eating Disorders, self-harm, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well as issues that may not have a diagnosis, but have challenging symptoms that deserve attention and care.

The PSA should not associate mental illness with violence or any other criminal behavior.

The PSA should not use terms like “crazy” and “psycho” without explicitly communicating to the audience that these terms are unacceptable. Our recommendation is to avoid labels of any kind in order to keep the message positive.

Tips for Producing Your Ending the Silence PSA

Remember to review the Official Contest Judging Criteria for this category.

Be Positive – Communicate a message that is positive and hopeful, with an emphasis on the power of friends and family to provide support and assistance in times of suffering.

Be Relatable – Your PSA doesn’t need to talk about the names of mental illnesses. Sometimes, you can be even more effective in talking about symptoms that everyone can relate to, like feeling hopeless, anxious or alone. Click here for a list of common mental illnesses and their symptoms.
Be Creative – The PSA should creatively explore the complexity of mental health challenges and society’s response. This is the chance for you as a filmmaker to show the judges your artistic ingenuity. Go for it!

Educate –Let your viewers know that, in order to end the silence and stand up to stigma, it is important to talk openly and honestly about mental health challenges. For your reference, here are some common myths about mental illness and the facts that debunk them. Feel free to use one or more of these in your PSA, but only if it supports the story you are telling.

MYTHS & FACTS

MythMental illness is something that only happens to “other people.”

Fact: One in four American adults suffers from a diagnosable mental health challenge in any given year.i

Approximately 9 million children in the U.S. have serious emotional problems, but only 1 in 5 of these children is receiving appropriate treatment.ii

Children and adults experience a variety of mental health issues, including feelings of depression and anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder and eating disorders.

Myth: Mental illness can’t be treated, you’re ill for life.

Fact: Not only is treatment available, but full recovery is possible. Today we are learning how to prevent mental illness and promote mental wellness.

With support and treatment, between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have a significant reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life.iii People who have been diagnosed with a mental illness are teachers, doctors, politicians, lawyers, artists, business owners and scientists. They are our family, friends and neighbors.

Myth: My son/daughter is acting out, but that’s just part of being a kid.

Fact: Research shows that half of all mental health challenges start by age 14 and three-quarters start by age 24.iv

But, an average of 6 to 8 years passes after the onset of mood disorder symptoms before young people get help. That gap expands to 9 to 23 years for anxiety disorder symptoms.v

Myth: People who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses are dangerous and should be avoided.

Fact: Mental illness accounts for, at most, 3 percent of all violence committed in the U.S.vi

People with serious mental health challenges are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. More than 25 percent of people with severe mental illness report being victims of a violent crime within a given year, a rate nearly 12 times higher than that of the general population.vii

Myth: I’m not a psychiatrist, I can’t make a difference for a person living with a mental health challenge.

Fact: Many people say that stigma and discrimination can be a bigger challenge to their quality of life than their mental health challenges are.

You can help to end stigma by openly accepting people who are diagnosed with a mental illness in your school and in your community.

You are in a unique position to give people who are living with mental health challenges what they, just like anyone else, truly deserve – friendship, support, or simply a respectful conversation – that helps them live a full and productive life.


iKessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, June 2005.
iiSAMHSA, Developing a Stigma Reduction Initiative resource kit, 2006.
ivNational Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
iiiKessler, Berglund, Demler, Jin, Walters, Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, General Psychiatry, July 2005.
vWang, P., Berglund, P., et al. Failure and delay in initial treatment contact after first onset of mental disorders in the National Co-morbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), General Psychiatry, June 2005.
viH. Harwood, A. Ameen, G. Denmead et al., The Economic Costs of Mental Illness, 1992, Rockville, Md.: NIMH, 2000.
viiLinda Teplin et al., Crime Victimization in Adults with Severe Mental Illness: Comparison with the National
Crime Victimization Survey, General Psychiatry, August 2005.
 

For questions regarding the “Ending the Silence of Mental Illness” category, please send emails to directingchange@namicalifornia.org.

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If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, are thinking about suicide or are concerned about a friend call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately: 1-800-273-8255This is a free 24-hour hotline.
The contest is part of statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students. These initiatives are funded by the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.
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