Directing Change

2022 Award Ceremony


The Directing Change Program hosted the 10th annual Awards Ceremony virtually on May 17th at 7 p.m. The live event streamed to hundreds of people as we 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.

  • To watch the recorded awards ceremony, please click here.
  • To watch the recorded awards ceremony with an ASL Interpreter, click here.
  • To view our statewide winners, please click here.

The annual ceremony also celebrates outstanding achievement by social influencers, directors, producers and actors of film and television who serve as role models to the aspiring youth filmmakers in the program by using their platform to draw attention to mental health. The Award Ceremony celebrated Karamo Brown, three-time Emmy winner and culture expert on the Netflix reboot of Queer Eye, for supporting guests with empathy and care on the show to improve their self-esteem, relationships, and mental health. Karamo was presented with the “Award of Excellence for Mental Health Advocacy” for his work to destigmatize and bring awareness to mental health and for using his platform to speak openly about suicide, addiction, abuse, and racial discrimination. Please visit the Take Action for Mental Health website learn how he is partnering with the campaign to raise awareness about mental health.  

The Directing Change Award for “TV Show with Outstanding Messaging around Mental Health” was presented  to Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever”. Through authentic characters and storylines, the show explores mental health, grief, cultural identity, sexuality, family dynamics, self-esteem, and other issues faced by teens.  The show is exemplary in showing young people what mental health can look like, and how mental health treatment can help them in a relatable way. The award was accepted by Writer, Producer, and Director Lang Fisher. 

Across California, The Directing Change program received 939 films created by 2,434 youth from 135 schools and community-based organizations. Entries were judged by nearly 300 advocates and professionals in mental health and suicide prevention, members of the media, and television and film professionals.

A big thank you to Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky youth mental health initiative for being our returning signature event sponsor! Listen to their message to the young film-makers here.

As a non profit organization Directing Change needs your support to keep this program going!  Please consider a donation.

Announcing our 2022 People’s Choice Winners! Thanks to everyone who voted this year!

2022 People’s Choice – Mental Health Matters

Orange County
El Dorado High School
Filmmakers: Tahlia Pompel, Samantha Mar, Scarlett Martinez, and Caleb Lim
Advisor: Mark Switzer
View & Download

2022 People’s Choice – Suicide Prevention

“Dear Diary”
Riverside County
Eleanor Roosevelt High School
Filmmakers: Janessa Serrano, Joshua Vazquez, Reiya Gulosino, Hannah Lozada, and Lorenzo Alexander
Advisor: Jacob Fuller
View & Download

Suicide Prevention

Mental Health Matters

Our Event Sponsors:

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.

Returning as our signature event sponsor is the Blue Shield of California BlueSky youth mental health initiative. Leading with equity, BlueSky provides resources for youth, families, educators, and caregivers to promote emotional well-being for youth mental health supports through access, awareness, and advocacy. The initiative works with the California Department of Education (CDE) and nonprofit organizations to improve educational and health outcomes for youth by ensuring access to culturally diverse and responsive mental health resources.

“Congratulations to the youth filmmakers and winners of the 2022 Directing Change Film Contest. Our Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky youth mental health initiative is working to bridge the gap between mental health stigma and youth mental health support. Your unique, creative lens and voice are needed more than ever to further increase mental health awareness and accessibility to resources that are often left uncovered. We are so proud, grateful, and honored to support your one of a kind work for the third year. Continue to make change in your communities.”

Your Social Marketer, Inc has been a Directing Change partner for many years and is passionate about having the films seen by as many people as possible to inspire much-needed conversations on these topics in our schools, families and communities. They will make a donation for every “Share and Tag” of this year’s finalists and sponsor the People’s Choice gift cards for the winning films!

If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, are thinking about suicide or are concerned about a friend, call or text 988 for the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (24/7)