San Diego County Films

Directing Change is an evaluated suicide prevention and mental health program with the mission to educate young people about critical health topics through art and promote social justice and health by changing conversations in schools and communities.
Suicide Prevention

Mind Over Media

Second Place Regional- Suicide Prevention
2021
Artist: Mia Cohen, Ava Wehlage, and Eve Korchkov
San Diego County
Grade: 9
Torrey Pines High School
Advisor: Jeff Owen
Our group chose to focus on suicide prevention because it was the most meaningful to us. Before planning the video, the members of our group deeply discussed quarantine and the effect the pandemic has had on the mental health of teens. We decided to ensure our video emphasized the importance of reaching out to a friend or loved one. We wanted to spread the message that any kind gesture, no matter how small, can do wonders.

We Never Walk Alone

Third Place Regional- Suicide Prevention
2021
Artist: Cameron Britt, Allie Riley, Bryan Tran, Naya Sanchez, Emma Talia, Nicolas Petruzzelli, Alyssa Ruiz and Kyrielle
San Diego County
Grade: 10
Club Elevated
Advisor: Stacy Chiles

By Your Side

2020
San Diego County
Grade: 9
Rancho Bernardo High School
A boy notices his friend is showing some of the warning signs of suicide, so he starts a conversation with her. He says it isn’t her fault and can’t stand by and watch her go through this alone.

How to Help a Friend

2019
San Diego County
Grade: 10
San Pasqual Union School
This film follows a group of friends as they discover a classmate’s struggles and reach out to a trusted adult at school.

The Words that Pull Me Down

2017
Artist: Grace Bachour, Jordan Hayes, Eliee Shahidi, Halima Ander
San Diego County
Grade: 11
Torrey Pines High School
Advisor: Don Collins

Tell Someone

Third Place Statewide- Suicide Prevention
2013
Artist: Megan Drew and Lindsay Stevens
San Diego County
Grade: 9
Del Norte High School
Advisor: Steve Holstrom
A story told in a poem and filmed on stage shows a girl who experiences thoughts of suicide. Her friends and family notice warning signs and reach out to her and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help.
Mental Health Matters

To Help A Friend

2020
Artist: Kaiden Phakeokoth and Adriana Watterson
San Diego County
Grade: 9
Junipero Serra High School
Advisor: Shannon Stracener
One friend is sad. The other friend notices that they are acting different from how they normally are. They go over and talk to them and telling them that they are there for them.

Don’t Wait

Honorable Mention - Mental Health Matters
2020
Artist: Lily Wickham, Grace Smith, Baila Thompson, Mirabel Hunt, Andre Jabbour and Rachel Riddle
San Diego County
Grade: 12
Torrey Pines High School
Advisor: Jeffrey Owen
We created our film to help decrease the stigma around Mental Health by showing that reaching out for help is good. Our main character struggles with her mental health issues but decides to share what she's feeling with a friend. She realizes that there's no shame in reaching out and that getting help improves her life.

This Is Me

2015
Artist: Paige Barrows, Kiya Lopfenstein, Grace Bashour, Paige Staky
San Diego County
Grade: 11
Advisor: Don Collins
A student’s story about how life isn’t always what it looks like on social media and how opening up to friends about mental health challenges can be uplifting.
Through the Lens of Culture

Where Do I Belong

2018
Artist: Breahna Gillespie
San Diego County
Grade: College Freshman
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc
Advisor: Dr. Donna L. Cook
An inspiring film from the perspective of Ghanaian culture as told by a college student who experiences mental health challenges and finds strength and support from her family and deep rooted Ghanaian beliefs of unity.

The Words that Pull Me Down

2017
Artist: Grace Bachour, Jordan Hayes, Eliee Shahidi, Halima Ander
San Diego County
Grade: 11
Torrey Pines High School
Advisor: Don Collins
SanaMente
Animated Short
Walk in Our Shoes

Fingerprints

Second Place (TIED) Walk in Our Shoes – What is Mental Health & Words Matter
2022
Artist: Adalia Pacheco, Kaio Passos, Ally Lopez, and Natalie Lopez
San Diego County
Grade: 7
Rancho Minerva Middle School
Advisor: Beth Duncan
A film discussing mental health and emotions with a creative use of painted fingerprints.

Dear Future Me

First Place Walk in Our Shoes – The Superhero in Each of Us
2022
Artist: Adalia Pacheco, Melanie Ortiz, Adriana Chavez, Arely Murillo, Willem Ross, and Izzy Castillo
San Diego County
Grade: 7
Rancho Minerva Middle School
Advisor: Beth Duncan
Dear Future Me depicts 3 young students writing a letter of encouragement to their future self. In the letter, each student talks about the challenges of their teenage years such as facing discrimination, name calling, and overcoming color barriers.

The Pep Talk

Second Place Statewide - Walk in Our Shoes
2021
Artist: Natalie Lopez, Jazmin Baca Guzman, Jasmin Lujan, Angelina Guerra, Jesus Aquino, Jesiah Gastelum, and Cristo Juarez
San Diego County
Grade: 7
Rancho Minerva Middle School
Advisor: Beth Duncan
Taking the time to talk & share your feelings can help deal with the problems in everyday life. Every word and every person matters!

Windows

2020
Artist: Jackey, Katee & Brandon
San Diego County
Grade: 7
Rancho Minerva Middle School
Advisor: Beth Duncan
Our eyes expresses our feelings, and show the emotions in us. Take time to look at others and offer help if needed because everyone deserves to be seen, and everyone deserves to be happy.

Invisible

2020
Artist: Alek O., Clarissa M., Jael P., Victor VE, Damian G, Yaretzy A.
San Diego County
Grade: 7
Hawking STEAM Charter School 2
Advisor: Joshua Ducharme, Lilana Moreno
A student struggles as he's being labeled and bullied at school. A friend reaches out to him and uses positive words to build him up.

Feeding My Heart

2019
Artist: Paula, Ariana & Angie
San Diego County
Grade: 7
Mission Middle School
Advisor: Tamara Whitney
A student explains the importance of taking care of your mental health along with your physical health.

AnxIety

2019
Artist: Angie, Ariana, Sara & Malana
San Diego County
Grade: 7
Mission Middle School
Advisor: Tamara Whitney
A student deals with anxiety and talks about what methods help her cope with it.

Esperanza en Nuestra Corazon

2018
Artist: Paola Morales, Sinai Sanchez & Ana Perez
San Diego County
Grade: 7
Rancho Minerva Middle School
Advisor: Beth Duncan
Mental health challenges affect many people, from the young to the elderly. Your mental health is important, and there is HOPE. Hear from 8th grader Paola as she shares her struggle with mental health issues- and how she "Esperanza En Nuestro Corazón" found hope within her heart. You can do the same.
Hope and Justice

Missing Kids of Color Diary PSA

Second Place Hope and Justice – Justice
2022
Artist: Madison Mayes and Leah Belay
San Diego County
Grade: 9
Canyon Hills High School
Advisor: Effren Villanueva
“Our submission brings justice to the kids and teens of color who get kidnapped or taken everyday; no one ever speaks about them, and they rarely receive any news coverage. Furthermore, if they were white, then way more people would have heard about them.”

What Are You Waiting For?

Third Place Hope and Justice – Hope
2022
Artist: Keaton Hawkins
San Diego County
Grade: 7
Rancho Minerva Middle School
Advisor: Beth Duncan
“Saying thank you to our family, friends, and teachers for the unconditional love and kindness they provide feels good- and brings happiness to our hearts. When we show gratitude, it changes our lives AND the lives of those around us. So... what are you waiting for? Any time is a good time to show gratitude!”

Missing Kids of Color Diary PSA

January Justice 2nd Place
2022
Artist: Madison Mayes and Leah Belay
San Diego County
Grade: 9
Canyon Hills High School
Advisor: Effren Villanueva 
“Our submission brings justice to the kids and teens of color who get kidnapped or taken everyday; no one ever speaks about them, and they rarely receive any news coverage. Furthermore, if they were white, then way more people would have heard about them.”