Directing Change

How Films Are Being Used


Since the beginning of the program, Directing Change videos have been viewed over 766,821 times online and over 10,000 DVDs have been distributed. Here are some example of how student films are being used to make a difference.

Student films are used by schools, youth programs, county behavioral health agencies and community-based organizations across the state to support awareness activities. California’s Behavioral Health Agencies are also integrating student films into their local Prevention and Intervention Efforts. 

In Los Angeles County students from William Pete Knight High School were recognized with a Board of Supervisor Proclamation. Read more from the LA Department of Mental Health here.

LA County Board Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Fifth District, presented Knight High School student, Roy Lara, and his advisor, Fabian Montagut, with scrolls recognizing his film.

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors recognized student Matt Flores from Kingsburg High School and the Board also proclaimed May 2015 as Mental Health Matters Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental illness.

In San Diego County students from Mira Mesa High School were recognized and a Proclamation declared August 4, 2015 Directing Change Day. See more photos and read a story about the recognition visit here.

In Alameda, Merced, and San Diego Counties NAMI Affiliates hosted local film screenings of student films.

Students from Mira Mesa High School who took third place in the Suicide Prevention category for their film “Lost and Found” at the NAMI San Diego film screening.

Riverside and San Bernardino Counties co-hosted a local award ceremony to recognize schools and students. The event had a great turnout with about 200 attendees from 11 schools, and awards were presented to films from each county for Best Script, Best Acting and Best Cinematography.

Films were also shown in local movie theatres prior to the main attraction in the following counties: Calavares, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Orange, Placer, San Bernardino, Siskiyou, Solano, Sutter Yuba, and Tri-City.

InĀ Sonoma County, Directing Change DVDs were distributed to help agencies that work with youth.

Three films from Los Angeles County were shown in movie theaters across the county for three months in the summer of 2018 before the feature film to spread awareness of mental health advocacy, suicide prevention, and the Directing Change Program as part of our #TalkAboutMore campaign. An estimated 900 screens at 87 theaters showed these Directing Change films created by LA youth, resulting in an estimated 9.4 million impressions by local moviegoers.

An additional three more films were included in the #TalkAboutMore campaign, and all six Los Angeles County films were used in a digital campaign aiming to get youth to talk more about mental health and suicide prevention.

“Mean Little Thoughts,” a film from Los Angeles County that won 1st place in the 2017 regional suicide prevention competition, was used in a training that all staff and teachers in Los Angeles Unified School District completed in summer 2018 on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention – reaching around 30,000 staff that work with children across the county.

The Directing Change Team worked with staff from Solano County Behavioral Health in 2018 to customize two local films with an end slate featuring local resources for screening in local theaters and use in local trainings.

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.