Orange County

Directing Change is an evaluated suicide prevention and mental health program with the mission to educate young people about critical health topics through art and promote social justice and health by changing conversations in schools and communities.
Monthly Art and Film Contest
  • Open to youth ages 12-25
  • Deadline: September 30, 2022
  • Free to participate
  • Amazon Gift Cards (up to $300)
  • All art forms accepted (visual art, film, written works, TikTok, original music and more)
  • September Prompt: Think about what your anchor is when you are going through a tough time. How does it remind you to stay hopeful? Then express it through art, writing, music or film.
  • TikTok Challenge: Create a TikTok about what you might add to your own Find Your Anchor box. All TikToks that follow the guidelines receive a $20 gift card and enter to win $100 grand prize!
  • Request a Find Your Anchor box for yourself or your classroom! Send an email with the subject “Directing Change” to

For more information, view the flyer.
Enter your work here

September Monthly Prompt:
Find Your Anchor

Submission Categories: Hope, Justice, or Monthly Prompt

Submit to Contest
Annual Film Contest
  • Open to Middle, High School and College Students (12-25)
  • Deadline: March 1, 2023
  • Free to participate
  • Cash prizes for youth (up to $1000)
  • Regional winners advance to statewide round of judging
  • Award Ceremony in May

Submission Categories

  • Suicide Prevention
  • Mental Health
  • Through the Lens of Culture
  • Walk in Our Shoes
  • Animated Short
  • Hope and Justice

“A Call to Macy”

Portola High School

Filmmakers: Grace Shao, Elena Kim, Cecilia Mou, and Shailee Sankhala

News and Awards

Mini Grant Applications for the 2022-23 School Year Now Open!

Schools can apply for mini grants to implement the Directing Change program in a classroom on campus or as part of a youth-led club.

Eligible Organizations: Middle schools, high schools, colleges, community organizations, and youth clubs. Participating youth should be in grades 6-12 or ages 12-25. Public, private, and charter schools and districts are all eligible to apply.

Mini Grant Funding: $1,500

Interested? Submit application by Friday, September 16, 2022:

Orange County Students Receive First Place in Statewide Film Contest

The Directing Change Program hosted the 10th annual Awards Ceremony virtually on May 17th, 2022 at 7 p.m. The live event streamed to hundreds of people as the organization announced the statewide winners of the 2022 contest and recognized amazing youth and their inspiring films. Youth filmmakers from across California were given awards for their short films to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention in several categories, including Mental Health Matters, Suicide Prevention, Through the Lens of Culture, Walk in Our Shoes, Animated Short, and Hope and Justice. Across California, 939 films were submitted by 2434 students. Two films from Orange County students took home first place awards:

  • Students Tahlia Pompel, Samantha Mar, Scarlett Martinez, and Caleb Lim from El Dorado High School were awarded the statewide first place prize in the Mental Health Matters category for their film “Alone.”
  • Student Scott Hayashida from Canyon High School was awarded the statewide first place prize in the Hope & Justice – Justice category for his film “Heritage Held High.”

To watch the recorded awards ceremony, please click here.

Orange County Students Recognized for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Achievement

The Directing Change Program & Film Contest announced the regional finalists in the 10th annual student contest encouraging young people to create short films and about suicide prevention and mental health.

  • First Place Suicide Prevention (Region 1): Portola High School “A Call to Macy
  • Second Place Suicide Prevention (Region 1): Santiago High School “Suicide Prevention
  • Third Place Suicide Prevention – TIED (Region 1): Woodbridge High School “One Call Away
  • Third Place Suicide Prevention – TIED (Region 1): La Quinta High School “Crowd Noises
  • First Place Mental Health Matters (Region 1): El Dorado High School “Alone
  • Second Place Mental Health Matters (Region 1): Rosary Academy “The Anxious Mind
  • First Place Hope & Justice – Justice: Canyon High School “Heritage Held High
  • Third Place Hope & Justice – Justice: NAMI “Stop Childhood Sexual Abuse
  • Fifth Place Animated Short – TIED: Samueli Academy “Know Who To Lend A Hand To

View more films