2017 Judges


A big thank you to our 2017 judges for their time and commitment to the Directing Change Program and Film Contest!

Statewide Judges

Angela Cohen
Angela Cohen wrote, produced, and starred in the poignant upcoming mental health film, Without Grace, opposite Ann Dowd (HBO’s The Leftovers) and John Doman (Blue Valentine, HBO’s The Wire) and is passionate opening up the conversation on mental health to remove the stigma and heal families who suffer silently. Learn more about the film on Twitter @WithoutGraceCBP

Carly Starr Brullo Niles
Love Machine Films has been involved with suicide prevention for 13 years. Always a voice for those in need, we want people to know that there is help.  We are very passionate of making this a subject of change.

Cary McQueen
Cary is the Executive Director of Art With Impact, which promotes mental wellness by creating space for young people to learn and connect by watching, discussing, creating, and exploring short films.

Chantelle James
Chantelle James is an actress and social justice filmmaker.

Cindy Baer
Cindy Baer is the critically acclaimed feature director and producer of the quirky comedy ODD BRODSKY, and the hard-hitting afterlife drama PURGATORY HOUSE which chronicles the afterlife journey of a lonely teen who has given up her live of addition and turmoil in search of a better place.  She is also founder of the nonprofit organization Patron of the Arts.     

Darrell Stuckey
Darrell Stuckey is a Pro-Bowl football player with the San Diego Chargers, and the founder of the “Living 4 One” Foundation established to help people discover that they were created to influence the world in a positive way

Deven MacNair
Deven is a professional stunt performer and actress who is known for her work on films such as 22 Jump Street, The Green Lantern, Disaster Movie, Planet of the Apes, and the Disney Channel show, JESSIE.

Gary Black
20 years Health Communication experience, including producing, writing, shooting, editing; Co-Founder of the APHA Global Public Health Film Festival, the world’s largest and longest running Film Festival dedicated to Public Health.

Hillary Smith
Hilary Smith is the author of four books for young adults, including the beloved Welcome to the Jungle: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bipolar But Were Too Freaked Out to Ask and its brand new second edition, Welcome to the Jungle: Facing Bipolar Without Freaking Out.

James Lecesne
James Lecesne is a writer, actor, producer and is a co-founder of “The Trevor Project”, a non-profit organization determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources.

Jenelle Boucher

Kate Lindboe

Kate Rotolo
Katie Rotolo is a Los Angeles based producer, activist and actor who’s heavily focused on creating socially conscious narratives. She’s also a big fan of lasagna.   

Leann Pugh
Leann Pugh is co-founder and CFO of the Dallas Pugh Foundation based in San Diego. The Pugh family created the foundation to prepare today’s youth and young adults for complicated decisions and life experiences.

Lester Robancho
Former indie filmmaker and current mental health advocate who believes in the medium of film and its ability to communicate ideas and experiences to audiences of all backgrounds.

Lia Bruce
Formerly a Hollywood creative executive and script editor, Lia has since moved to the University of San Diego to work with communications on a National Science Foundation grant. She holds suicide prevention and mental health awareness close to her heart and is happy to be back judging this contest.

Linda Bergonzi-King
Linda Bergonzi-King is the Chair of the APHA Global Public Health Film Festival. the largest U.S. film festival dedicated solely to public health issues. She holds an MPH from Yale University, has been a producer of health communication media for 25 years and is an avid supporter of youth-produced productions.

Lisa Klein/Doug Blush
Directors Lisa Klein and Doug Blush have returned as judges for the third time for the Directing Change Program. Lisa and Doug are Co-Directors of the documentary “Of Two Minds”. “Of Two Minds” is the recipient of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Voice Award and the Entertainment Industries Council Prism Award for Best Documentary.

Marie Gallo Dyak
Marie is the President/CEO of the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) and the Executive Producer of the PRISM Awards TV special recognizing entertainment portrayals of mental health and substance use disorders on-screen.

Mark Powers
For the past twenty years Mark has been the Vice President at the California Broadcasters Association, the industry trade group for the 1000+ radio and television broadcasters in the state.  Prior to that, he worked as a Chief of Staff for two members of the Legislature.  He has been an adjunct faculty member in Communication Studies/Journalism at Sacramento State University for the past 15 years.

Marquette Jones
Marquette Jones is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who has directed several PSAs for local charities and received recognition for her work in this field, including both a Telly Award and Aurora Award.

Matthew Long
Being a high school substitute teacher AND the co-writer of SCHIZO, a feature script about mental illness and schizophrenia, I feel serendipitously drawn to this project like a moth to flame! (great cause!)

Melissa Margain
 I am a U.S Army Disabled Combat Veteran who copes with the stresses of a Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder and someone who believes in positive platforms to connect those in need of support.

Meredith O’Connor
Meredith is a singer and rising teen pop star who recently toured the world speaking to youth about her own experience overcoming bullying and other obstacles. Meredith rose to fame when her first song “Celebrity” went viral on YouTube seeing over two million views within the first two months of its release. It became a radio favorite, bringing her a fan base which became a cult-like following once she had established her anti bullying platform. Her music encourages teens to be inclusive and tolerant of one another’s differences and her anti bullying songs and music videos such as “The Game” and “Just The Thing” have changed the lives of victims of bullying. This year Meredith has teamed up with Directing Change to tour California schools sharing her message and encouraging youth to participate in the program and film contest.

Metta World Peace
Metta World Peace is an All-Star professional basketball player with the Los Angeles Lakers and is a passionate advocate for mental health.

Michael Gilvary
Michael Gilvary is a writer, producer, editor and director and was recognized with the award for Outstanding Film with Messaging around Suicide Prevention from the Directing Change Program in 2015 for his film “According to Greta” which addresses the issues of youth suicide and survivoring a suicide loss.

Michelle  Taylor Greene
Michelle is a LA-based artist, mental health advocate, speaker, and the founder of Mental Health Yes!, a platform used to raise mental health awareness, eradicate stigma, inspire & empower others with mental illness, provide resources & support, and promote hope, wellness, & recovery. She is also working on her 1st documentary called “the black & blue project” which takes an intimate look into the lives of those affected by mental illness. (www.MentalHealthYes.com)

Nagin Cox
I have absolutely no expertise in this area other than being PRISM judge, a bachelors in Psychology from Cornell, and having volunteered in a Suicide Prevention Center staffing the hotline years ago.  But I work in a field where we need all the brainpower we can get across the planet so I very much agree with “each mind matters”.  Basically, I am lucky that you let me judge and I appreciate it.

Pam Luna
Dr. Pam Luna is an innovative career educator working in schools and communities in the USA and beyond. Dr. Luna  uses film to inform, educate and  inspire bold action and move people to a greater level of health and well-being. She is the Co-Chair of the American Public Health Association’s Global Public Health Film Festival and Senior trainer for RAND, Corp.

Pepper Carlson
Pepper Carlson, C.Ht. is certified hypnotherapist, coaching guide, author of The Karma Chronicles the first of a series.  She is also a well known commercial, music video and branded content Producer. 

Ruben Preuss
Producer/Director and mental health professional

Suamhirs M. Piraino-Guzman
As a former foster youth and a survivor of child sex trafficking, I struggled with depression, PTSD due to trauma and a lot more. I wanted to understand why I felt the way I did so I educated myself in the field, I graduated from the University of California San Diego, in Psychology. I’m now 26 years old and work with the White House to combat human trafficking in the US. 

Tom Kline
Tom has many years of experience in the Entertainment Business.

Trent Duncan
Trent Duncan is an award winning independent filmmaker and military veteran interested in the creative development of young filmmakers.

Regional Judges

Abraham Valencia
For the past 7 years Abraham has been spearheading outreach in Kings County. Being that they are a rural county, this has involved relying on media strategies to effectively engage their communities in their services. Abraham really enjoy videos as they have a way of reaching the heart. Together with a youth perspective, Directing Change films are changing many lives.

Agnes Murray
Agnes comes across many youth and parents who appear to be suffering from mental illness while attending Student Attendance Review Board hearings and juvenile court proceedings. She wants to help remove the stigma from mental illness so that everyone gets the help they need to become successful. She believes this film contest is a wonderful way to get students and adults talking about the symptoms of mental illness and ways we can all help.

Alan R. Stein
Alan has been a leader in BHC for more than 30 years in the private, governmental and nonprofit sectors.  BHC and the expansion of coverage and elimination of stigma are critical to a just society.

Alexander Trac
Alexander is a Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Program Planner for Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services and oversees several suicide and bullying prevention programs.

Alexandra Sietsma
Alex is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and co-director of the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Training Program at University of California, San Diego. She has passion for helping the San Diego community and those who suffer from mental illness.

Alexis Stokes
Alexis has a background in community journalism and is currently working with the Kern County MHSA team.

Alexis Munoz
As a San Diego native, Alexis is invested in promoting health and well-being of the people who live, breathe, play and pray in the community. She believes that health is holistic, and that the mind and body together help create healthy and thriving communities.

Alicia Rodriguez
Dr. Rodriguez is a mental health professional in Hawai’i. She has worked with a variety of communities in Los Angeles and in the Hawaiian Islands.

Alice Kellogg

Alice has been an AmeriCorps VIP placed at NAMI San Diego and program coordinator for Ending the Silence for two years. She is thrilled to be part of such an impactful program such as Directing Change.

Allison Haynes
Allison works for Riverside County Office of Education and is excited to see young adults as they direct change to prevent suicide, and reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness.

Allison Berk
Allison believes in the power of young people to positively impact the health and well-being of themselves and their community, including their ability to reduce mental health stigmas and advocate for equitable mental health services.

Amanda Lipp
Amanda Lipp, 25, is a filmmaker and consultant on federal to local mental health and education programs. She filmed her first documentary in Europe when she was a senior at the University of California, Davis, and continues to make promotional and autobiographical films to raise awareness and inspire.

Anne Robin
Anne has judged this contest in the past.  The creativity and thoughtfulness of the submissions are amazing.

Anne Fitzgerald
Most of Anne’s career has been in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health. She applauds the creative expression which allows teens to put forward information about their experiences and feelings.

Anabel Kuykendall
Anabel is with the Outreach & Education unit at HHSA/Aging & Independence Services. Anabel conducts trainings and provides valuable resources to the community and part of her responsibilities fall under Prevention & Early Intervention focusing on Mental Health awareness and stigma reduction campaign.

Andrea Schulz
Andrea is a returning judge from last year. She has a background in film and video production and also in providing mental health treatment and social work advocacy. Andrea has friends and loved ones with mental health issues and has personally benefitted from mental health therapy. Treatment works!

Annabelle Gardner
As the director of communications and development for Young Minds Advocacy, Annabelle is dedicated to changing attitudes towards mental illness and engaging young people and their allies in reforming the mental health system in California.

Armando Batisda
As part of the CalMHSA team and having worked indirectly with the Statewide PEI projects, Armando is excited to see the positive outcomes of this particular program for today’s youth and future.

Ashley Flores
As a program coordinator for a mental health based, peer run organization and a board member of the California Youth Empowerment Network, Ashley has been a passionate, proactive mental health advocate and continues to support stigma reduction efforts.

Aubrey Lara
Aubrey Lara has over 15 years experience working to empower youth through leadership and advocacy, including managing a video production studio staffed entirely by young adults.

Audrey Pusey
Audrey is a Student Affairs professional and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor who serves as a member on many university committees which focus on assisting students with an array of mental health concerns including addictive disorders, suicidal ideation and sexual assault.  She also chairs her campus Behavioral Intervention Team.

B.J. Rouse
Veteran judge, B.J. Rouse, an award winning independent filmmaker in Los Angeles, California, is a former recipient of both the Panavision and Kodak New Filmmaker grants and was selected as one of twelve in the 2006 Hanks-Miller Advanced Screenwriting Program housed at the University of Southern California (USC).

Barbara Anderson
As a health reporter for The Fresno Bee, Barbara has written stories about mental illness and the stigma surrounding it. This effort, to bring mental illness into the health mainstream, is to be commended.

Barbara L. Pomerantz
Barbara has been involved in public education for over 40 years, has provided support for hundreds of at-risk students and their families impacted by mental health and wellness issues, and helped facilitate the implementation of Mission Possible, a school-based family counseling program in the Natomas Unified School District.

Basant Virdee
Basant helps lead nationwide conversations on mental health through a text message enabled program called Text, Talk, Act, a project of Creating Community Solutions.

Becky Fein
Becky is a mental health advocate and Program Manager with Active Minds, Inc. Additionally, she is the Founding Director of the awareness-building documentary film project, Powerful Voices Project.

Becky Kramer
Becky has worked for over 25 years as a mental health professional working with youth and families.

Belinda Vea, PhD
Participating in the Directing Change film competition is always something Belinda looks forward to, and always find it so exciting to see the high-quality work students submit.

Blair Davis
Blair is a licensed psychologist specializing in college mental health and alcohol and other drug issues, with a background in media studies, writing and communications.

Brenda Scott
Brenda is a family member who has two family members who took their lives when she was in high school. She has been an advocate for mental health since she joined the NAMI organization and learned about the discrimination in our society regarding mental health which hinders those with the trauma experiences to seek the support they need to be able to become resilient and thrive in our communities.

Brian Bishop
Brian has taught video production to high school students and creates public service announcements and short videos for Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health.

Brittany Cellery
Brittany is a school psychologist at SUHSD. She is passionate about suicide prevention and mental health awareness as it has touched her life personally and professionally.

Brooke Borelli
Brooke Borelli is passionate about suicide prevention and mental health awareness. She believes that many conversations will be inspired and encouraged by these student films.

Brook Penca
Brook has been a secondary administrator for 15 years, and is a very big proponent of our program. 

Camilla Williams
Camilla has been touched by suicide in both her professional and personal roles, and has been trained and worked to understand and prevent suicide in her community for over a decade.

Candice Coots
Candice Espinoza Coots is an Emmy award-winning sports producer currently leading the digital video group at Pac-12 Networks. Candice is also a mental health activist working with NAMI San Francisco and previously NAMI NYC-Metro.

Carla Marroquin
A survivor of long extensive bullying/suicide attempts who now is a college graduate and a full time Graphic Designer. Carla believes that the power of the arts can not only provide a safe outlet for children and teenagers who suffer  from mental health through emotional and psychological abuse. But also if  their energy is channeled correctly then it can create a long line of future professionals that can change the arts and further its evolution.

Carol Skiljan
Carol is the Executive Director of the San Diego Chapter of Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program® and co-chair of the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council. She has been a judge for the Directing Change Program since the first year and looks forward to seeing the high quality production and powerful messaging of the student entries.

Carole Cox
Carole Cox has been a school counselor for 36 years and a long time advocate for increased access to mental health services for youth living in rural Northern California.

Cary McQueen
Cary is the Founder and Executive Director of Art with Impact, a North American nonprofit that uses the emotional and connective power of short films to reduce the stigma of mental illness on college and high school campuses.

Catherine M. Eckl
Catherine Eckl, LCSW from Alvarado Parkway Institute has worked in the San Diego mental health community for the past 34 years and is passionate about providing San Diego youth creative opportunities to increase awareness and decrease stigma related to mental health.

Che Hernandez
After the suicide of his nephew, Austin, in 2009, Che serves the community in suicide prevention, suicide survivor support, and advocates for mental health stigma reduction and mental wellness. 

Chenece Blackshear
Chenece is currently a Mental Health Intern at the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) in San Mateo County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS). Additionally, she is graduating from San Jose State University in 2017 with a BA in Behavioral Science and a minor in Child and Adolescent Development. Although a San Diego native, she has been a Bay Area resident since 2004, and has passionately worked and volunteered in education for causes ranging from supporting the enhancement of S.T.E.A.M. curriculum, to advocating for the social and emotional support of student and families to increase academic success for over 10 years.

Cherie Foraker
A student advocate and mental health champion, Cherie Foraker is a school counselor and professional development trainer in Youth Mental Health First Aid and Restorative Practices.  She extends her practice to provide enrichment activities for students that work to break down barriers and stigma around mental illness.

Cheryl August
Featured on Saturday Night Live, Cheryl August uses humor to spark interest and understanding about the effects of trauma on mental health and recovering the authentic self. 

Christina Froehling
Christina has been supporting the Directing Change program since its beginning and is passionate about this annual event.  The creativity and depth of feelings in the video submissions is inspiring and provides one clear message in many voices to not give up on life.   “Never never never give up.” – Winston Churchill

Christina Marie
Christina is proud to serve as a judge because she is passionate about fostering community and building projects that speak for a cause in Digital Media.

Christine Mariano
Christine’s expertise includes working with youth of color to become empowered and in eliminating the stigma of mental health so that our youth can get the help they need.

Connie Marmolejo
As part of the Teen Suicide Awareness and Prevention program, Connie works with high schools throughout Riverside County educating students on suicide prevention.

Christopher Weston
Christopher has worked for over 15 years in the Public Health field and received his Master’s in Public Health in 2008. He is a member of NAMI and is a strong advocate for mental health.

Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee is a two-time Emmy nominated director for the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office whose current work focuses on the law and justice community and the positive impact they are making throughout the county.

Cristina Rita
Cristina has worked in the suicide prevention field for 10 years developing training curriculums and workshops about suicide and suicide prevention.

Curtis McMullan
As a children’s therapist and crisis professional, Curtis has a passion and compassion for others who suffer with emotional pain.

Cyndi McDonald
Cyndi has been involved with her local and national suicide prevention workgroups and organizations for the past 3 years and enjoys supporting this contest as a great avenue for suicide prevention and reduction.

Cynthia White
Cynthia White is a Program Manager in San Bernardino County working with Crisis Walk In Clinics and Outpatient Operations. She has been active in Crisis Services and in educating the public on prevention strategies for over 12 years.

Daniel Rockers
Dr. Rockers is a psychologist in Sacramento and has organized a student PSA training in the Sacramento area for the past two years.

Dani Morrissey
Dani is the manager of the Legacy Transgender Adult Services program in Portland, OR, which is a leading program in providing medical care and transition services to transgender individuals.

David Bartley
David is an active mental health speaker, author and advocate.

David Bain
David has been with NAMI Sacramento for over four years and is passionate about improving the lives of people seeking mental wellness and their family members.

David Koopperud
David is a co-chair of the Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup at the California Department of Education.

David Giammona
David believes it is important to remove the stigma and silence surrounding the topic of suicide.

David M. Schoelen
David has worked for the public behavioral health service system for 28 years and is currently the Workforce Education and Training Manager for Riverside University Health System – Behavioral Health.

David Tijerina
I have worked for mental health for 10 years and I believe the Directing Change Program and Film Contest is essential in opening the eyes of the community to understanding mental health in a very creative light one film at a time!   

Debbie Brown
Director of Operations for the International Bipolar Foundation.

Deborah Lepas
Deborah Lepas has worked for the County of San Diego’s mental illness stigma reduction and suicide prevention media campaign, It’s Up to Us.

Debra Hornaday
Debra is a School Counselor who works with elementary students. She is concerned about the well-being of the students because some of them experience major challenges even at a very young age.

Dennie Maslak
“I am a survivor of generational suicide and a passionate advocate of suicide prevention, and as a MHSA team member. I spearhead the MHSA consumer events and demonstrate creative approaches in outreach and engagement to educate and de-stigmatize mental health in Mendocino County.”

Diana Griffis

Diane Sommers
As director of Suicide Prevention for over 25 years, Diane has managed a 24-crisis hotlines as well as the “SOS-Signs of Suicide”” school education and prevention program for adolescents within Yolo County.  The agency fully supports the opportunity for students to make a life-changing difference with their peers.

Donna Hardaker
Donna has been speaking about her personal experience with mental health and addiction issues for over ten years in workplaces across North America, and has developed and delivered training to reduce social prejudice and equip everyone in the workplace to address mental health issues more effectively.

Donna Cederlund
Donna is proud to use the winning Directing Change videos in presentations to high school and college classes, parent groups and community events to help end the stigma of mental illness.

Elaine E. Collins
“I have been supporting and empowering adolescents for over 25 years in a high school setting and look forward to the day when mental health issues are no longer stigmatized.”

Elizabeth Hagen
Elizabeth’s interest in this contest stems from her strong desire to help raise awareness and smash the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Elizabeth De Leon

Emma Spikerman
Emma Spiekerman is a previous recipient of the Directing Change award for her short film, “More Than a Mental Illness.” She is a writer and a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University, receiving her BA in Psychology with a minor in Journalism.

Estela Padilla
Estela Padilla is the Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Kern County Mental Health (KCMH) Department.  Estela coordinates outreach and education efforts as well as leads the May is Mental Health Awareness month activities in Kern County.

Evan Oliva
Evan served as a judge for the previous two years’ competitions, and has been consistently impressed with the quality of messaging participants have incorporated into their submissions.

Geneva Andrada
Geneva works with a patient population at high risk for suicide and in need of psychiatric hospitalization, has an interest in supporting clients and families in crisis.

Gerald White
Gerald has been passionate about mental health since adolescence and hopes to help California foster a healthy dialogue around the subject.

Ghazala Rehan
Ghazala’s breadth of expertise spans from student transitions from home to college, cultural issues, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and stress related concerns. She specializes in adult psychiatry and med-management along with an in-depth understanding of cultural/religious difference-induced stress and challenges faced by the immigrant communities.

Grace Park
Grace has an MSW degree and a BA in Film Studies which gives her a unique blend of looking at critical issues that affect our society using film as a medium to communicate and address them to a wide audience.

Guy Magar
Director/writer/producer in film and TV – Founder and instructor of Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminars & Competition – who wishes to contribute to the Directing Change Program and Film Contest.

Hayley Elrod
Suicide Awareness is a cause that Hayley is passionate about as a therapist working with children and toward increased mental health and well-being.

Heather Zupin
Heather is the content manager at International Bipolar Foundation.

Heather Griffin
Heather has been a school counselor for almost 20 years and is honored to help judge the student films for Directing Change, which reduces stigma related to mental health.

Hector Ramirez
Hector M. Ramirez is an international disabilities advocate. He is a committee member with the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission and a current member of the Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission. As an Autistic person with a mental health diagnosis Hector focuses his work to help people, families, and communities find purpose in all their abilities. #PurposeAbilities”

Hilva Chan
Hilva Chan is the Program Director of Project Cal-Well, a federal grant intended to improve student mental health awareness and wellness in California.

Heather Alesch
Dr. Heather Alesch is a clinical psychologist for Union of Pan Asian Communities Alliance for Community Empowerment. She has served youth and families in various capacities for over 10 years.  The expressive arts are a large part of her clinical practice and personal life.  Heather feels honored to participate in judging this year’s films.

Isaias Rumayor Jr.
“I have a passion for education.  My background in school counseling continues to drive many of my decisions, as we identify strategies to further enhance and support the learning of all students.”

Imo Momoh

Janell Sidney
Janell Sidney-Brown has worked in Behavioral Health for 10 years and is committed to being part of the change necessary to appropriately reach and serve those who may be impacted by mental illness.

James R. Harris
Dr. James R. Harris is a clinical psychologist working with adults and children, and is the managing editor of the HarrisPsychReport.com, a mental health news aggregation website.  He is an expert on Happiness (the subject of his dissertation) and has written for film and television.

Jamie Moran
Jamie Moran, LCSW, CGP, has been a mental health provider for the past 31 years and has a strong interest in macro issues impacting mental health.

 Jane Adcock
California Mental Health Planning Council. Jane has been involved in mental health since the late 1990s and has seen the tremendous change California has implemented in helping individuals achieve recovery.  She served as a judge in the past and looks forward to doing it again.

Janine Moore
Suicide prevention and mental health stigma reduction is a passion on Janine’s and is an integral part of her work.

Jaquelyn Alvarez
Jaquelyn supports efforts of the County of San Diego and County of Riverside’s mental illness stigma reduction and suicide prevention media campaign, It’s Up to Us.

Jasmine Lin
Jasmine is a peer supporter in San Francisco and believes in the power of sharing stories to eliminate stigma.

 Jason Halley
Jason is a returning judge and currently works as the University Photographer at California State University, Chico, photographing a variety stories involving student lifestyles and higher education features.

Jeanine Gaines
Jeanine Gaines is looking forward to using her experience in video production and multicultural community development to support this year’s Directing Change competition.

 Jeff Kist
Jeff is a Veteran, Pastor, Crisis worker, parent and grandparent. He believes we need to educate and work together to prevent suicide.

Jeffrey Gerig
For 26 years Jeff held various leadership positions involving mental health services with the Department of Veterans Affairs.  For the last year, he has been expanding mental health services in San Diego County with Family Health Centers of San Diego.

Jenni Klock Morel
Jenni is a volunteer and former Board Member for Survivors of Suicide Loss (SOSL) in San Diego County. Jenni is a writer, attorney, cat lover, tree-hugger, and a figure skater. She is impressed and inspired by the students’ dedication to direct change and to rally for Mental Health Matters.

Jena Weatherspoon
Jena is a Program Specialist for California Community Colleges Student Mental Health Program (CCC SMHP), helping raise awareness about mental health and wellness by supporting Prevention and Early Intervention efforts of the 113 California Community Colleges.

Jenny Yuen
“Mental health impacts us all. I am happy to see that folks are coming together to bring mental health and wellness to the forefront. It’s time to stop the stigma.”

Jeraniqua Martin
Being a judge for the Directing Change Film Contest means so much to Jeraniqua because she is able to utilize her passion and expertise on a topic that deserves so much awareness because Mental Health Matters and those that live with!

 Jeremy Wilson
“Each Mind Matters goes beyond the green ribbon for me as I have lived it and now use my voice to promote mental wellness for all.”

 Jeremy Garza
“People connect in countless ways and encouraging positive interactions is important to our collective wellness.”

Jessica Cuevas
As part of the Teen Suicide Awareness and Prevention program, Jessica works with high schools throughout Riverside  County educating students on suicide prevention.

Jill Gover
Dr. Gover is a clinical psychologist specializing in depression, responsible for creating a Suicide Bullying Prevention Program for the PSUSD, and a certified trainer for the Ca. Suicide Intervention skills training.

Jill Newman
If we take the approach, “It takes a village to raise a child.”, and broaden the definition to be inclusive of our community, then Jill truly believes mental health issues will be given the same status as any other human rights currently being fought over, or won in the past.

 Jo Ann Allen
Jo Ann has worked in student prevention programs for over 27 years, and this contest is one of the most powerful displays of youth helping youth that she has had the honor of judging.

Joan Beesley
Joan is a MHSA Progr.am Administrator, the mother of an adult who has a serious mental illness, and a film aficionado who loves to witness the creative energy of our youth put to good use.

Joe Nuss
Joe is hopeful that his personal experience with mental health issues will contribute to reducing the stigma surrounding seeking help.

Joe Johnson
“Love Is MY Religion.”

John Dent
John Dent has been teaching media at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta CA for the past 13 years.  He has co directed and judged the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Digital Days program, as well as numerous other video contests.  His students have won dozens of national awards in video production and media.

John Mackenzie
John has served as an inpatient psychiatric director as well as treating nurse and currently perform mental health assessment services for 21 hospitals across California where they focus on early treatment and treatment at the least restrictive setting taking into account patient’s rights and appropriate services.

 Joyce Bruggeman
Joyce works to educate the community about mental health, suicide and suicide prevention to reduce stigma and help connect people to vital resources.

Julie Xie
As a school psychologist for the past 17 years, Julie’s passion at work is to support the mental health development of our next generations.

Julie Howard
Clinical Specialist at Phoenix House, Inc. and Professor at Antelope Valley College, Julie ‘s dedicated to working with families and adolescents spanning complex issues dealing with academic & social pressures, self-harm, substance abuse, binge drinking, anxiety & depression. “I believe the adolescents will be the next leaders of our future, and when struggling this is an opportunity to learn deeper set of skills.”

Kailah Byrd
Kailah is a clinical therapist at Riverside University Health System-Behavioral Health, working with adolescents and non minor dependents as a case manager and clinical assessor.  She has a B.A. in communication media.

Karen George
Karen has been a teacher working with families and youth experiencing homelessness for 25 years.  Additionally, she has worked with county department of behavioral services since Prop 63 was passed, advocating for individuals experiencing homelessness to be included in all programs.  Also, that services be provided at or near school campus’ so that students don’t miss a day of school a week for a 1 hour counseling appointment. The need to inform and educate the community on the benefits of good mental health and stopping the stigma of seeking and receiving treatment is very important.

Karen Crouch

Karen Markland
Karen is continually inspired by the change these youth and young adults make ….they are truly directing change.

Katalin Parti
Ph.D. in infocommunication and law, MA in media- and communication sociology, and MA in law and political sciences. She is a research fellow with the National Institute of Criminology and program director at ESZTER Foundation for the Sexually Abused, member of the editorial board of journal Info-communication and Law, peer reviewer with the Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology. Co-writer of the White Paper on Cyberbullying created for the Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, a project supported by the National Academy of Sciences to define the nation’s research agenda regarding children and digital technology.

Kathleen Piche
“I’ve seen the impact Directing Change has had on teens across the state in past years—not only do students learn about mental health issues—they are able to help others, including friends and families that may be in distress, making this program valuable to everyone in the community.”

Kathleen Pangan
Helping others with loving kindess

Kayla Welbanks

Kelley Nolan

As a person, parent, educator and community member, Kelley feels it’s important to address the mental, emotional, and physical health of others.

Kendra Boyce

Kiki Goshay
“Producing Not Alone, a documentary on teen mental illness and suicide from a teens prospective, solidified my belief that the best way to prevent teen suicide is to empower teens with the knowledge and skills they need to help each other.”

Katherine M. Bender
Katherine has a Ph.D. in counseling and completed her dissertation on suicide prevention on college campuses.  Katherine works as the programming director for the Dave Nee Foundation which is a NYC based nonprofit with a mission to raise awareness about depression and suicide prevention within the legal field.

Kimberle Taitano
Kimberle is a Trauma Recovery & Wellness Coach, her personal experiences with living & managing her own diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder is a message of hope & healing. A passionate advocate for educating & awareness about mental illness is a role she is honored to play. She is a published author, “A life Imagined; The Cost of Delusion, A journey through Mental Illness & Suicide.”

Kristian Castro
Through lived experiences, Kristian is passionate about de-stigmatizing and building awareness on mental health issues. He previously served as a digital media educator for Outside the Lens, a nonprofit program designed to empower youth with the creative tools for social change.

Kristin Yellam
Kristin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked in Public Mental Health for 15 years and is involved in local suicide prevention and stigma reduction efforts.

Lana Lo
Actively involved in education and want to help spread this topic to all ages #IAmStigmaFree.

Larry Carter II
“As a mental health provider, I support this effort to increase awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental health concerns.”

 LaTanya Green
Each year LaTanya is amazed and elated at the talent of the students and the messages they work so hard to share.

Laura Saitta
Laura participated in last year’s event and really enjoyed seeing everyone’s vision take shape in the PSAs. This past year, she has been focused on writing TV pilots and screenplays for production companies. She has also completed a PSA through Women In Film, and showcased two short films at film festivals this year that she wrote and directed.

LeeAnn Culberson
LeeAnn Culbertson is a Supervisor at NVCSS’ Six Stones Wellness Center, supporting individuals as they navigate through life, on their Wellness and Recovery Journey.

LC Granger
LC is an MPTV professional who enjoys giving a hand to select causes.

Leah Davis
Leah Davis is the Deputy Director for the County of San Diego and County of Riverside’s mental illness stigma reduction and suicide prevention media campaign, It’s Up to Us.

Linda Parisi
Linda is an RN who has served for many years on a mobile Crisis Response Team in Orange County. In the past 6 years, she has taken her lifetime love of film, story and helping people navigate through what it is to be human and has begun to produce, direct and curate inspirational human interest short films. She has a passion for supporting and celebrating other filmmakers which is being celebrated by her online gallery: http://thecommunityofyes.com/


Leonard Alfaro
Leonard is a peer self-advocacy coordinator with Disability Rights California and facilitates self advocacy groups in San Francisco.

Lesley Taylor
Lesley is public servant and public school advocate with special interests in school climate and social and emotional learning. She is also a long-time volunteer with her local chapter of Girls on the Run.

Loren Goldstein
“I am a member of the Suicide Prevention Council and believe that people should know there is help out there and they are not alone. I also believe that suicide is a taboo topic, but the more we talk about it the more people we can help.”

Lorry Leigh Belhumeur
Dr. Lorry Leigh Belhumeur, the CEO of Western Youth Services, and leading Mental Health Solutions Expert, is passionate about breaking the invisible barriers that keep youth from accessing mental health and wellness solutions.

Luz Pinto
Luz Pinto manages NAMI San Diego’s PeerLINKS program, which connects individuals who are in a psychiatric unit or crisis home with peers who support them in their journey of recovery; she also has extensive experience managing psychiatric research studies and is passionate about suicide prevention, helping people with mental health challenges, and reducing stigma.

Malia L.J. Fontecchio
Malia L.J. Fontecchio, MSW is a social worker, trainer, speaker, program coordinator, and researcher at Project Return Peer Support Network who specializes in the reduction of the stigma of mental health challenges, specifically through sharing recovery stories.

Mari Mender

Marcel Harris
Marcel believes we need to create more opportunities such as the Directing Change Film Contest to provide our young students with creative ways for stigma reduction and advocacy efforts. He lost two family members to suicide and mental illness is very prevalent amongst his family. Marcel believes strongly in empowerment through storytelling and knows firsthand just how vital having the right support is.

Maria Chairez
As a lifelong educator, counselor and advocate for at-risk youth, Dr. Maria Chairez is passionate about helping youth learn and use their artistic talents for self-expression. She dabbles in multimedia as a hobby and is willing to share her professional expertise with youth and youth led organizations.

Maria Pagador
Maria is a Program Planner for the Division of Behavioral Health at the Department of Health and Human Services in Sacramento County.

Mariana Coelho Fernandes
Mariana Fernandes supports efforts of the County of San Diego and County of Riverside’s mental illness stigma reduction and suicide prevention media campaign, It’s Up to Us.

Mariah J. Andrews
Mariah is a Staff Development Officer with the Department of Mental Health for Riverside County, focusing efforts on implementation of Prevention and Early Intervention services throughout Riverside County.

Marie Gallo Dyak
Marie is the President/CEO of the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) and the Executive Producer of the PRISM Awards TV special recognizing entertainment portrayals of mental health and substance use disorders on-screen.

Mark Spencer
Mark’s participation in this particular project stems from his desire to assist children facing social, personal, and mental issues. He is currently involved in multiple projects and statewide initiatives, those duties are in addition to his role as an active member of the Board at Ascension Works and Hip-hop Collective Group.

Mark Vigario
Mark oversees SCOE’s Prevention and Student Services Department which has been heavily involved in mental health, drug/alcohol prevention, etc., as well as serves on the Sacramento County MHSA Steering Committee.

Mark Powers
For the past twenty years Mark has been the Vice President at the California Broadcasters Association, the industry trade group for the 1000+ radio and television broadcasters in the state.  Prior to that, he worked as a Chief of Staff for two members of the Legislature.  He has been an adjunct faculty member in Communication Studies/Journalism at Sacramento State University for the past 15 years.

 Martina Bedar
As a career professional in mental health as both teacher and counselor, and an avid volunteer for NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) Martina has great interest in doing whatever she can to reduce the stigma against and isolation of the mentally ill, with a particular interest in youths.

Mary Algiers
Mary is a Public Health Nurse with the County of San Diego and believes that suicide is a public health issue that affects all ages. Increasing awareness and education are keys to prevention and a healthier community. She is honored to participate in this event.

Matthew Frias
Matthew has a BA in Film and Video Production. He currently works for Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health assisting in media outreach.

Matthew Gallagher
Matthew would like to be a judge in Directing Change because he has a love for both passion and film which is personified in this event.

Matthew Martinez
Matthew is interested in being a judge for the program because he wants to see firsthand the important work young people are doing to help other kids their age to learn about mental health and suicide prevention.

Mayte Eriksson
Brief, timely and powerful videos get the message across more effectively than any other medium, and my 30+ years of experience with suicidal people makes me an expert.

Megan Morrison

Melanie Brown Kroon
Melanie is a psychotherapist, based in Encino, specializing in the emotional needs of gifted, creative and sensitive individuals.

Megan Mills
Megan has been a ‘psych patient’ for 30 years, and has now become a worker and advocate in the Public Mental Health Workforce, which allows her to use her experience, strength and hope to help others with serious mental illness/mental health challenges.

Melissa Margain
Melissa is a U.S Army Disabled Combat Veteran who copes with the stresses of a Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder and someone who believes in positive platforms to connect those in need of support.

 Melissa Leal
Melissa has several years of experience working with Native American youth, teaching film classes, and directing and producing films for major networks, film companies and independently.

Michael J. Bailey
Mike is a medical director with Optum San Diego.  An avid movie buff and psychiatrist, he sees the opportunities that film has to educate the public on mental health issues, advocate for reforms and improved services, as well as personalize the struggle that many with mental illness deal with on a daily basis.

Michael Axinn
As a video professional with experience from over three dozen feature films, Michael has always considered it important to nurture talent and encourage initiatives where video is used to make a difference in people’s lives.

Michelle Fortunado-Kewin
Michelle Fortunado-Kewin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the San Francisco Unified School District & is a board member for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Greater San Francisco Bay Area Chapter.

Michelle C. Carlson
Michelle is the Executive Director for Teen Line, dedicated to supporting teens through a teen-to-teen hotline, website resources and outreach to youth. She strongly believes that youth have the power to change how we view mental illness and suicide, if given the opportunity to be heard.

Michelle E. Carlson
Working as a Program Specialist at Tuolumne County Behavioral Health, Michelle has the opportunity to be of service to the community in many ways. Encouraging growth and change is Michelle’s passion.

Ming Tai-Seale

Molly Brassil
Molly is the Director of Behavioral Health Integration for Harbage Consulting, a national health policy and communications firm specializing in Medicaid and other public payer programs. Molly has worked as a healthcare policy analyst and advocate for over a decade and believes that access to comprehensive, quality, whole person care is an essential human right.

Michael Helmick

Michele Jackson
“Having a son who has a mental illness and attempted suicide, being an individual with a mental illness myself, working as a teacher with many students over the years who needed support and being trained in safeTALK and ASIS, I see how important it is to address the stigma surrounding mental illness and to begin openly talking about suicide and suicide prevention.”

Mindy Pomper Johnson
Mindy Pomper Johnson is a documentary producer and director with over 15 years experience in the entertainment industry.  “Free A Man to Fight” a documentary she independently produce and directed, won many awards at film festivals, and aired on History Channel.  Other series she has been a producer on include “Life After People” for History, “Best Evidence” for Discovery, and “Strange Truth” for National Geographic. Last year, when she taught Film & Video Production at the high school level, her students entered this contest, and they won an honorable mention.

Monica Nepomuceno
Monica Nepomuceno is a consumer, family member, and advocate for student mental wellness.  Our society has a tremendous need for the education and mental health fields to connect in order to build capacity, Monica’s expertise with both disciplines and her passion for connecting the two, drive her daily work.

Nancy Olsen
As a Program Manager over Crisis Services, Nancy thinks it’s crucial that we educate and mentor young people to recognize symptoms of depression so they can be better equipped to manage these symptoms in themselves and their peers, and know where to go for help.

Naomi Laeuchli

Naomi Laeuchli is an author, who has worked closely with both new and upcoming playwrights and screenwriters, and served as a judge for the Directing Change film contest for the past three years.

Naomi Caputi
As a media strategist for Civilian Agency, her role in stigma reduction and suicide prevention is delivering hopeful, informational messages to San Diego County on different media channels in order to influence positive changes in her community.

Nicole Williams
Nicole is a family member of a person living with a mental illness and a Family to Family class trainer.

Nelson Akicita Chaske
Nelson has worked 31 years as a Native American Indian Traditional Cultural Teacher in the education field, working directly with Native Youth.

Nora Mays

Nenick Vu

Otto Wahl
For almost 40 years, Otto has done considerable research, speaking, and writing on understanding of mental illness and ways to improve understanding and acceptance.

Pat Fitzmorris
Pat has served as a judge previously. She works as the Development Director of a nonprofit Horse of the Sun Ranch in Pine Valley, California. Horse of the Sun Ranch provides respite care and healing for Challenged Military Veterans, their families and youth through nature and equestrian activity. She also works in the San Diego Unified School District coordinating Healthy Start/Medi-Cal Collaborative programming.  She previously coordinated the Paul Newman Foundation Public Service Announcement contest for the San Diego County Office of Education.

Patty Rucker

Student Services Coordinator – equipped with over 25 years of experience providing crisis response, suicide prevention and intervention programs to students and families.

Pierre Scott

Pixie Monroe
Pixie Monroe, CEO / Founder, Monroe Casting and Production Services. Pixie enjoys mentoring America’s Youth and California’s passionate Young Filmmakers who are eager to make a difference in their communities through accurate messaging in film, television and social media.

Rachelle Webb
Rachelle is a graduate student studying social psychology and researching ways to encourage people with depression to seek help.

Rebecca Quiroz Bray
As a high school intervention counselor who runs numerous social/emotional support groups, everyday Rebecca is on the front lines of suicide prevention and ending the stigma of mental illness among students. Previously, she worked as a casting director in Los Angeles for several years utilizing her undergraduate degree in Film and Television.

René Moncada
René Moncada is the Director of the Safe Schools Division with Choices Programs at Tulare County Office of Education, and co-author of the Safe Schools Crisis Response Framework for Schools. He is also a certified trainer for Youth Mental Health First Aid.

 Ricky Bispo
B.A. Psychology, Ricky has worked closely for many years with mental health professionals and many consumers. He has himself been a consumer of services over the years as well.

Renee Cookson
Renee Cookson has 38 years of professional experience in Mental Health and Behavioral Health Services, educating and coordinating services for consumers on recovery and living healthy lifestyles, in addition to community charity and volunteer contributions.

Renee Lopez
Since 1996, Dr. Renée Lopez has devoted her training and professional career to working with the college student population and has experience in both California and New York.  Renée enjoys being an advocate for good self-care and embraces the opportunity to provide College Mental Health services that promote the enrichment of student life and emotional health and wellness.

Rick Newmyer
Rick Newmyer has worked with at-risk youth for over 25 years and is a Senior Lecturer with the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.

Robin Privett
Robin supports all Mental Health Organizations as they seek to end the stigma and provide easy access to all those who could benefit from supportive services.

Rose Holmes

Rose Cabral
If we really want to erase stigma once and for all we will need to listen to our youth and help them champion the message that mental illness is the same as physical illness. Rose is encouraged by the talented, resilient and creative youth leaders raising their voices.

Robyn Gantsweg
As a peer and a professional, Robyn is interested in finding new ways to address stigma and discrimination and thinks that students’ creativity in making videos is a great way to encourage conversations and increase understanding about mental health issues.

 Rosemary Rubin
Rosemary Rubin co-chairs the Los Angeles County Suicide Review Committee. She is a school counselor and a board member of the California Association of School Counselors.  She spent 10 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District Suicide Prevention Unit. In addition to work on suicide prevention, she trained others in crisis response and bully prevention.

Ruben Preuss
Producer/Director and mental health professional

Ruth Golden
Ruth is a 30 year survivor of suicide loss and getting people to be open about mental health issues is my mission, and as a TV producer of 25 years, and is thrilled to support projects with such meaningful content.

Samuel Romeal
Romeal is a Human Service Program Planner for Sacramento County Behavioral Health Services working on Suicide Prevention.

Sandy Nelson
We do a lot of creative work and outreach for Each Mind Matters, California’s mental health movement. Because of that involvement in such an important cause, and Sandy is very excited to see all the entries in this year’s film contest.

Sandri Kramer
Sandri has worked as a producer of environmental documentaries and commercials, and has been active in the field of suicidology for more than 20-years; in her current role at the Suicide Prevention Center she still produces PSA’s, training videos, and honorary docu-briefs.

Sara Appelbaum
Sara Appelbaum is a Peer and Suicide Prevention Counselor working with residents of San Francisco and Alameda County. She is committed to person-first support for those living with mental health challenges, and reducing the stigma surrounding suicide by providing a safe, healthy environment for clients to express themselves and instilling a sense of community by sharing her own lived experience.

Scott Rose
Scott is a principal at RSE, an integrated marketing firm with offices in Sacramento and Los Angeles. RSE provides advertising, public relations, digital and crisis communications services and has emerged as a leader in social marketing. Through his 25 year career at the company, he has worked on any number of campaigns and has been instrumental in the development and growth of Each Mind Matters; California’s Mental Health Movement.

Siavash Zohoori
Siavash runs the storytelling program (digital storytelling, photovoice, etc.) in her office.

Shadi H Barfjani
Shadi is an MD who has worked tirelessly in different community based projects including UC Davis research in gender- based violence in Northern California Clinics and “Coaching Boys Into Men” in Sacramento high schools. She currently serves as VP of BRAVE society where the focus of her activities is the welfare of the youth and improvement of the school environment. Her team works hard to create awareness and offer solution about youth suicide, bullying and mental health to make schools and the community a safer place for all children

Shahna Rogosin, MD
Shahna Rogosin is board certified in General and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She is currently is the  Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. She served as the Medical Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Service at the University of California, San Diego from 2005-2007. Shahna completed her fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Children’s Hospital in Boston and her General Psychiatry residency at the University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt.  Shahna is one of the Founding Members of Camp Meraki.  Camp Meraki offers a non-competitive environment for kids from 8-17 to learn about the performing arts. Set against a rustic camp atmosphere, we offer outstanding classes in film, theatre, singing, acting, dance, writing, and many other creative disciplines. Our classes are taught by some of the best in the industry, each dedicated to their students on a very individualized level, ensuring that every camper receives the best possible training and encouragement. Our goal is for campers to walk away having had the time of their lives, with a newfound confidence in sharing their voice through the performing arts. Shahna served as the Camp Physician since 2006. 

Shannon Jaccard
Shannon, CEO of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI San Diego), champions efforts to reduce stigma and increase understanding and hope for everyone affected by mental illness–which, in reality, is all of us in one way or another.

Shannon Walkley
Shannon has dedicated her life helping under-represented, low-income, first-generation youth pursue their dreams of attending college and overcoming internal and external adversity so that they may fully realize their potential.

Shannon McCleerey-Hooper
As a person with lived experience in mental health, Shannon manages the largest Peer Support Program in the State of California, the Riverside University Health System – Behavioral Health, Consumer Affairs division, which trains and employs people who self identify with a mental health challenge, working to bring recovery-focused service delivery to the entire system of care.

Shelley Graner
Shelley Graner worked at IMAX for 11 years before volunteering with Kiva in India, and now works as a writer and marketing consultant. She loves documentaries and thinks film is a great medium for education.

Shenglana Lo
Actively involved in education and want to help spread this topic to all ages #IAmStigmaFree.

Sheree Summers
Sheree is a mental health professional who is inspired by the tremendous and creative efforts of our local community in supporting increased awareness, education and advocacy efforts around suicide prevention and mental health!

Sherrie Medinger Fabricius
“It is an honor to give back in some small way like the wonderful help NAMI gives to so many, with practical tools, inspiration, and busting stigma. My involvement began with family mental health issues and a long history of suicide in her extended family.”

Shinay Bowman
Shinay is currently a certified Asist Suicide Intervention Trainer and personally feels that more awareness, and training and creating suicide safer communities is needed.

Stacy E. Kratz
Stacy is a Social Work Educator at The University of Southern California, passionate mental health clinician, and policy advocate, focused on improving access to quality mental health services and advancing effective policy informed by a person-in-environment approach in pursuit of a more humane society.

Steven Nelson
“As the founder & President of an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization through expressive arts and a former motion film producer, I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing contest!”

Steven Fong
Working in the communications field in advertising agencies and film production companies, Steven is always amazed by the passion, resourcefulness and talent of these young filmmakers.

Sylvia Tang
Sylvia is a Community Health Planner at the Office of Diversity and Equity at the San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. At this office, she is the Co-Chair of the Chinese Health Initiative and Suicide Prevention Committee.  She interested in judging this contest, particularly the Through the Lens of Culture category, because she is dedicated to reducing stigma around mental health and addiction and promoting inclusion so that our diverse communities can live full and healthy lives.

Taisha Caldwell-Harvey
Taisha is trained as a counseling psychologist and has worked in mental health with higher education for six years.

Tayler Lim
Tayler has worked with adults and youth in suicide prevention and mental health for a number of years in various organizations. She is currently the Youth and Weekend Coordinator at San Francisco Suicide Prevention and volunteers for NAMI’s Ending the Silence program.

Tamara Whitney
Tamara Whitney is the Executive Producer for an award winning middle school video production class whose accomplishments include Grand Prize Winners at the NFL Sponsored Fuel Up to Play 60 National Video Contest, and most recently an Honorable Mention in the White House Film Festival.

Terrie Hawthorne
Terrie Hawthorne is an author, counselor, therapist and consultant. Her experience with suicide prevention, intervention and hospitalization includes individual, group and family psychotherapy, case management, child welfare, adoption and medical social work. She is currently a California community college counselor serving underrepresented students with a variety of academic, career and psycho-social needs.

Terry Lewis
Terry Lewis is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission and the chair of the Health Integration Committee of the California Mental Health Planning Council.  She is a mental health professional, educator and consultant.  Ms. Lewis works with urban communities to improve mental health services for women and children.

Thomas Birbeck
Thomas is always interesting in seeing student work and is a judge in the National History Day event as well.

Tiffany Carmona
Tiffany Carmona supports efforts of the County of San Diego and County of Riverside’s mental illness stigma reduction and suicide prevention media campaign, It’s Up to Us.”

Tim Tunner
Tim Tunner is a social marketing technical assistance provider to SAMHSA’s Children’s Mental Health Initiative System of Care grantees.

Tom Kline
Tom has many years of experience in the Entertainment Business.

Traci Barker-Ball
As a crisis counselor for over 20 years, Traci knows how important it is to reach out and help those who are in emotional pain.

 Traute Winters
Working in suicide prevention, Traute is honored to be a part of the Directing Change Film Contest judging and viewing the films that students have made to help with suicide prevention.

 Tricia Slavik
Tricia is the Founder of @Wit’s End, a web site for parent’s trying to find help for their child with mental illness.  She earned her degree in Broadcasting at the University of Florida and was on-air talent at an ABC affiliate station.  Her career path took her into the world of advertising and marketing where she helped produced PSAs and television

Tristaca McCray
2016 White House Award Winning Nonprofit  Global “Change Maker”. Tristaca McCray is President and Chief Executive Officer of NERDS RULE INC., an organization that gives communities, youth, teens and young adults in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and become effective leaders. Proven leader with extensive experience in strategy, development, and operations of winning programs focused on delivering best-in-class results. Highly effective in working with diverse teams to grow and administer complex operations. Committed to providing thought leadership and business acumen to innovative solution development.

Vanessa McCaslin
As Chairwoman of the EDRC, Vanessa has a passion for mental health awareness and with a BFA in advertising has experience with PSAs, commercials and general production.

Vijit Sharma
Vijit Sharma is an award winning filmmaker whose feature film, Mirror Game, won the Best Director Award at the Delhi International Film Festival in India and Best Feature Film at San Francisco’s Golden Gate International Film Festival. The film was also nominated for Best Actor and Best Director at the same festival. The film screened at numerous other film festivals and received many additional nominations including Best Feature Film and Best Actress at the Newark International Film Festival. The film will be releasing theatrically in 2017. Vijit was also the Grand Jury Prize Judge at the Princeton Independent Film Festival in 2016, and a Judge on National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Emmy’s) Student Production Awards in spring of 2017. 

Vera Calloway
As a person with lived experience with mental illness and after having once worked in the independent film industry and winning a screenwriting grant, Vera currently works in Social Services with the mentally ill population in Los Angeles while advocating for expanded mental health services and CA state certification for Peer Advocates.

 Veronica Scarpelli
As a survivor of multiple losses to suicide, Grief Recovery Specialist, and Chaplain, Veronica is very involved in teaching the upcoming generations correct information, as opposed to the incorrect myths that still plague our society with stigma.

 Victor Ojakian
“Mental health stigma and suicide prevention reduction does not just happen; we have to proactively advancing change.”

Victor Yates
Victor Yates is an educator, writing workshop instructor, and youth advocate. Recently, he completed a Documentary Workshop at Bright Star Secondary Academy in Inglewood. In October, he led a one-day writing workshop at the University of Southern California for the Models of Pride conference with 23 students (ages 14-24). In one hour, he gave the students a writing prompt and held a traditional writing workshop in which the students critiqued each other’s work. In August, for the second year in a row, he led a creative writing workshop at Gingling Hilltop Camp in Malibu, CA for twelve students who were impacted by HIV/AIDS. In May, he completed a Writing for Film workshop at Whaley Middle School in Compton. He taught students how to write, shoot, edit, and finalize movies using iPads.

Vincent M Wales
Vincent M. Wales is a speculative fiction novelist, mental health consumer/activist, and former suicide prevention counselor. He is also the co-host of The Psych Central Show.

Wade Brynelson 

William Danton
Veteran judge of past contests, Dr. Danton is former ACOS for Mental Health, VA Sierra Nevada Healthcare System.

Yeni Linqui Palomino
Yeni Linqui Palomino is a Program Director at Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP), a public-private partnership of over 30 organizations striving to improve the health, safety and quality of life of all San Diegans through needs assessment, collaboration, community engagement and advocacy. In October of 2012, Palomino became involved in the behavioral health sector and became certified to train others in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). In addition, she started managing the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council (SPC) and at the regional level the lead for the California Suicide Prevention Network (CSPN)- Southern California Region encompassing the San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Imperial and Riverside counties. Through that regional effort she facilitated the creation of a Best Practice on How to Use Social Media in Suicide Prevention work that was approved as a best-practice through the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Since then she has continued to facilitate the implementation of the Suicide Prevention Action Plan (SPAP) at a local level through the SPC whose mission is to reduce suicides and its devastating consequences in San Diego County.

Yoni Desmond
Yoni works in the field of prevention and believes that the most powerful way to combat stigma against mental illness is by education, brining awareness, and through the voices of students and young people.

Zima Creason
Zima Creason has been involved in mental health public policy, advocacy and education for over 13 years and has experience with mental health and substance abuse challenges in her family.

Zuleima Flores
Zuleima is looking forward in supporting the next generation of leaders that are taking part in Directing Change.

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.
Directing Change 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 counties through 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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