While we all experience different things in life, there’s more that unites us than divides us. We’re all on the same journey — we’re just in different shoes.
Your challenge is to create a film that shows what it’s like to “walk in the shoes” of someone experiencing a mental health challenge: It should help others develop compassion for the challenges others may be facing, and show what actions can be taken to help.
Maybe you have a friend or family member that has been through a mental health challenge, maybe you’ve been through something yourself, or maybe this is something that hasn’t come up in your life yet. Whatever your experience has been, you can be a part of starting more conversations about mental health and helping create more supportive communities. Visit www.walkinourshoes.org or review these handouts for more information.
Important Information and Links:
- You must be in middle school to submit a film in this category
- Your film must be 60 seconds in length (not including the title slide but including the required end slate).
- Required end slate: Note: End slates have been updated as of August 2022.
- End Slate – Black (png)
- End Slate – White (png)
- Your film cannot use any statistics.
- You cannot show suicide attempts or deaths in your film. This includes not showing guns, ropes, or pill bottles in your film.
- Your film should be respectful of different people and cultures.
- Title slide for your film – You may use this title slide template or you may create your own title slide as long as it includes the required information: Download the Title Slide Template here.
- Walk in Our Shoes Toolbox – This includes a variety of resources and links to help you with research for your film as well as a submission checklist.
- Walk in Our Shoes Judging Form
Step 1: Choose one of the three topics to cover with your film and review the suggested resources and activities as a starting point.
- The Superhero in Each of Us,
- What is Mental Health, or
- Words Matter
THE SUPERHERO IN EACH OF US: STRENGTHS, PURPOSE, AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE LOSE THEM. Every superhero has a strength, or something that they are especially great at. These strengths can often feel like a person’s purpose, or reason for them to be alive… but what happens when someone loses this strength or purpose? Create a film that looks at the world through someone else’s eyes and shows the challenges that someone might face if they feel like they have lost their strength or reason for their life. How can someone tell that a person may no longer want to live? What could an ordinary person do to help?
- Teachers: Please review and use the Directing Change Lesson Plan “Superheroes and Purpose” to prepare yourself and your students for this topic.
- Directing Change “Suicide Prevention 101” Educational video
- Directing Change “How to Help a Friend” Educational video
- Directing Change Suicide Prevention Fact Sheet
- Directing Change Suicide Prevention Tent Card
WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH. We talk a lot about physical health, but what about mental health? What does that look like: Are you happy all the time? Can you be mentally healthy if you’ve had a mental illness? Are there things you can do to improve your mental health like you do for your physical health, or is it something only a professional can do? Create a film that teaches people the truth about what mental health is, or teaches them how someone can build better mental health.
- Mental Health Continuum Film from Directing Change and NAMI
- Mental Illness and Stigma Educational Film
- Teachers: Please review and use the Directing Change Lesson Plans “Mental Health” and/or “Mental Health: Language and the Words We Use” to prepare yourself and your students for this topic.
- Walk in Our Shoes Handouts:
- How to Help a Friend Fact Sheet
HINT → It should still be a story! Don’t just write a list of definitions but tell us the story of a person who is building better mental health.
WORDS MATTER. We’ve probably all casually thrown around words like “crazy” in everyday life when we were talking about something else. But how does that make you feel if you, or someone you care about, is dealing with a mental illness? Does that make you feel like you can talk about what you’re going through or does it make you feel ashamed or different from others? The words you use can have a big impact. Even if you know they are untrue, labels that people throw around can still hurt and make you feel disconnected from everyone else. Your film should tell a story that encourages people to use kind and accurate words to talk about mental health.
- Teachers: Please review and use the Directing Change Lesson Plans “Mental Health: Language and the Words We Use” and/or “Mental Health” to prepare yourself and your students for this topic.
HINT → Be original! Don’t just have your film be putting sticky notes on someone and then taking it off… Instead, think about what is the effect of labels on someone? How do we get rid of these kinds of labels? What kinds of words can we use to replace these mean words in our everyday language (for example, instead of calling your busy day “insane” or “crazy”, say “ridiculous” or “hectic”).
Step 2: Finally, your film should include at least one action that someone could do to help someone else and/or get help for themselves. Feel free to come up with your own actions, but here are some examples:
- Learn where to find support (like hotlines that are available 24/7)
- Change the words you use to talk about mental illness
- Support someone going through a difficult time
- Speak up when others aren’t supportive
- Tell a trusted adult if someone is talking about suicide or is harming themselves
- Start conversations about mental health on campus or with friends to make it easier for others to talk about what they’re feeling and get support
- Don’t wait — get help from a professional if you’re struggling with mental health challenges
Pro Tip: Be sure to view the lessons and activities before creating your film to get the most points possible for your film!