Directing Change

Mental Health Toolbox


Submission Requirement Checklist:

Number One: My film is exactly 60 seconds long. The title slide does not count toward the 60-second limit.

Why this matters:  Many of the films (even if they are not winning films) are used to support local awareness efforts and shown in local movie theaters and even on TV.  We are only able to use films that meet the 30 or 60-second requirement (based on the submission category you choose).

Number Two: My film includes the required end slate.

Films must include this end slate which includes a compilation image of logos and the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. This end slate should appear at the end of your film and within the 60 second limit.

Note: End slate has been updated as of November 2023

Number Three: My film includes a title slide. You may use this title slide template, or you may create your own title slide as long as it includes the required information below. Download the Title Slide here or create a title slide using this template.

The title slide is not counted in the 60-second limit and needs to include:

  • Film Title
  • Filmmaker(s) names: (these are the youth involved in the filming, editing, or creation of the film)
  • School or Organization, Club or Other Affiliation Name
  • County (not country)
  • Adult Advisor Name
  • The Submission Category (please note this category has been renamed to “Mental Health”!)

Number Four: I have release forms on file for every participant involved in my film:  Filmmaking requires discipline and dedication to the craft. Youth filmmakers and participants are honor-bound to acquire all necessary permissions and signatures and must accept the liabilities for copyright violations. This means the cast and crew, and anyone else involved in creation of your film must sign a release form, including parent/guardian signatures if they are under the age of 18. Visit the Release Form Page for more information.

Number Five: My film doesn’t include any disqualifying contest:  Be sure you’ve reviewed the “Disqualifying Content” section of the submission category of your film to make sure your film won’t be disqualified for including any of this content. For example, if you’re submitting in the Mental Health Matters category, your film should not include derogatory terms like  “crazy” and “psycho” without explicitly communicating to the audience that these terms are unacceptable. Any films that show this or show any weapons will be disqualified.

*A reminder! – All film submissions should align with safe messaging guidelines and there are specific safe messaging scoring measures for each category which we encourage you to review. 

Please review your film against the Official Mental Health Category Judging Form here!

Mental Health Resources to Assist You with Content

For background information review these short educational films developed by NAMI California and Directing Change.

Additional Resources

  • Take Action for Mental Health: To learn how to get support for your mental health and help others, visit You can also share the website as a resource in your film.
  • Mental Health Fact Sheet: This document includes statistics and facts about mental health and an explanation of stigma and what you can do to help end the silence of mental illness. Download PDF
  • How to Help a Friend or Family Member: This document provides tips on how to respond if a friend or family member tells you that he or she has a mental disorder. It includes tips on how to help and support a friend or family member’s healthy behaviors. Download PDF
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Active Minds: Contact your local NAMI affiliate or Active Minds chapter and request an “In Your Own Voice” presentation at your class, school or organization from people who are experiencing a mental illness.
  • List of mental illnesses and symptoms: This document includes a list and overview of mental illnesses and symptoms, as well as treatment and support available for each. It also allows you to connect with others on the NAMI discussion groups which can be a great way to manage recovery, find support and learn more about mental health conditions.
  • Resources for Young Adults: Whether you’re starting college or figuring out life as an adult, your late teens and early twenties can be a seriously stressful time. It is also common for the first signs of mental health problems to show up at this age. This site encourages young adults to be aware of symptoms and seek help if you’re unsure.
  • Mental Health Is Health: Mental health issues are a reality for millions of people across the country. Young people are especially at risk, with half of college students reporting that they have been stressed to a point where they couldn’t function during the past year. This website encourages young people to help ourselves and others by fighting the stigma around mental health and speaking up when we need support. Learn more about how you can join the campaign here.
  • Text Talk Act: This website encourages young people across the country to have a national conversation on mental health and learn how to help a friend in need. Through text messaging, small groups receive discussion questions to lead them through a conversation about mental health. Join the nationwide conversation to help end the silence and learn more.
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)