2023 Regional Judging - Mental Health Matters

  • Dear Judge,

    We encourage you to seek personal support if you become troubled by the content of this category. If you experience an emotional crisis, there are people available to help you at
    1-800-273-TALK (8255).

    The entry you are judging is a 60-second film in the mental health matters category. This category has special content that must be included and specific content that must be avoided for the safety of and respect for the audience.

    At any point if you are experiencing technical difficulties with the website, or have questions regarding the category description, please contact one of our team members.

    Stan - stan@suicideispreventable.org (619.518.2412)
    Shanti - shanti@directingchange.org (619.786.5622)
    Devin - devin@directingchange.org (858.324.4846)
    Emma - emma@directingchange.org (707.394.8708)

    In advance, we appreciate your time.

  • Title

    In My Head



    A note from the youth artist about their submission

    Our production is about a boy whose mental state starts off just fine, motivated to wake up and do normal things, such as going to school, and playing his favorite sport. Gradually the boy's life becomes repetitive. The boy becomes depressed with no apparent reason, because it is known that some people that have depression often do not have a specific reason to be, they just are. Things that he used to love to do, he is no longer motivated to pursue them. His depression starts to take a toll on his education and sports. When he goes to school he masks his depression around his friends. Later he is at school, the thoughts in his head amplify, clouding his mind. Until someone finally noticing he doesn't look normal. The person asks “are you okay?”. The boy's thoughts are silent, the audio shifts, music stops and for once the boy is out of his head, because someone actually noticed the signs that he wasn't okay after masking it for so long. This singular act of caring helped him tremendously. This represents how even the smallest things can change a person's life, so it is important to notice the signs, because you never know what's going through someone's mind. Our mission in this film was to convey the moral that people need to help silence the dark thoughts that many people with depression or mental health issues have. And that it is also important to give ourselves credit, acknowledge our pain, to remember that our minds can be our greatest enemy, so it is crucial to welcome help. SIMBYLISM: Early stages - motivation is there, emotions intact Death of motivation represented throughout the film- when you start to become depressed life feels repetitive and meaningless Messy room- a very common symptom of depression because obviously no motivation to take care if themselves School work/desk scene- pressure to overachieve causing lack of sleep Basketball scene - represents how things that you used to find joy and love in no longer feel the same, which is also another sign of depression Scene with friend talking and laughing- you look completely fine to your friends seeing you laugh and have a good time Layered thoughts audio- these thoughts are the self sabotaging voices in your head making things worse Help shot- This scene representing that simply someone noticing that the mc isn’t okay, enough to ask how mc is doing seeing as the mc thinks that they’ve been masking it well and so the mc is shocked that someone has noticed leading to explain that noticing, taking action, is so so important because you don’t know how badly someone needed something as simple as that Death of thoughts- this represents how helping someone, this allowed the mc to get out of their head kind of a slap back into reality when the layered audio gets silenced and you can hear the actual real world surrounding

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  • Safe Messaging Scoring Measures

  • 1. Does the film tell a story that encourages young people to reach out for support when they need it and/or shows them how to support others?

    The film should have a positive message of support, acceptance, hope, and/or recovery related to mental health challenges. We are looking for stories about getting help, or how to support a friend or family member that is going through tough times. This may include interactions in online communities (i.e. Facebook, texts).

    Here are a few examples:
    • Talk openly: The film can emphasize that it is acceptable to talk about mental health challenges, and to support friends and loved ones with such challenges.
    • Stand up for others: The film can demonstrate the importance of young people standing up for themselves or those living with a mental health challenge who are being harassed, bullied, and excluded or in some other way discriminated against. This may also include interactions in online communities (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, texting).
    • Be Supportive: Show ways in which friend or family members can support someone experiencing a mental health challenge.
    • Join the mental health movement: This is a young adult’s issue: mental health challenges most often show up between the ages of 14‐24. The film could inspire young people across California to join the mental health movement.
    • Get the facts and understand the issue: The film could illustrate that a diagnosis of mental illness does not define a person and/or debunk the negative misconceptions about mental illness.
    • Don’t wait to get help: The film can 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 especially if treated early.
    Note: The message does not have to be one of the messages above, as long as the message encourages positive change, support or help-seeking. It does not have to be stated verbatim but could be implied through dialog or another creative way.
  • Please enter a number from 0 to 25.
  • 2. Does the film communicate a message that inspires the viewer to take action?

    Think of it this way: Does the film offer the viewer specific suggestions of what they can do? Does the film encourage the viewer to feel, act or think differently? We would like the films to be action oriented and encourage change and support. For example, where to get help, how to offer support to someone, how to get involved or learn more information. We have asked our young filmmakers to be creative: Don’t just tell someone what to do, but show them how to do this.

  • Please enter a number from 0 to 15.

  • 3. Is the film about young people (ages 12-25)?

    Mark “Yes” if youth in the age group 14-24 were represented in the film.
    Please keep in mind that the film does not have to solely focus on youth; however, youth need to have some kind of role or voice in the film.

  • 4. Does the film consistently 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?

    (Mark “Yes” if the film uses appropriate “person-first language”)

    Person first language respectfully puts the person before the illness and reinforces the idea that those who experience mental health challenges are not defined by their condition. Using person-first language helps steer clear of stigmatizing language that may lead to discriminatory ideals.

    UseDo NOT Use
    I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.I am bipolar
    She is experiencing a mental health challenge.She is mentally ill.
    People living with mental health challenges…The mentally il
    He Has SchizophreniaHe is Schizophrenic
    She experience symptoms of DepressionShe is depressed
  • Technical and Creative Measures

  • Please enter a number from 0 to 15.
  • Please enter a number from 0 to 10.
  • Please enter a number from 0 to 10.
  • Please enter a number from 0 to 5.
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)
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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