Lights, Camera, Action!

Thursday, February 2


         Robert Youssef
         Public Information Specialist

Riverside University Health System - Behavioral Health Invites Youth to Apply for Mental Health Short Film Contest

The state-wide competition for young filmmakers encourages them to create videos about issues affecting mental health

Riverside County, California - Riverside University Health System - Behavioral Health is now accepting submissions for the 2023 Directing Change Film Contest. This state-wide competition engages young people in conversations about mental health and suicide prevention.

The competition is open to middle and high school students and young adults ages 14 to 25 who are associated with a college, university, club, program, or community-based organization. Participants are invited to create and submit 60-second videos that raise awareness about suicide prevention and other mental health-related topics. Final submissions are due by midnight on March 1, 2023.

Regional winners advance to the state-wide award competition for an opportunity to win up to $1000 in cash prizes. In addition, all Riverside County filmmakers are invited to attend an Academy Awards-style ceremony held at Riverside's Fox Theater in May.

Jasmine Auge, a Murrieta High School student who won 3rd place in last year's state-wide competition, said at the awards ceremony that she enjoyed making the video with a friend. However, she was also motivated by the serious subject at hand.

"Suicide and suicide prevention are not talked about enough. I wanted to let people know that it is ok to reach out for help or reach out for help for someone else. I hope my video makes an impact with those struggling," said Auge.

Many of the nation's youth are struggling, according to the CDC, which reports that 44% of high school students feel persistently sad or hopeless, and 20% have seriously considered suicide.

A 2020 Directing Change outcome report showed that 86% of youth who participated in the program learned the proper response to a friend's suicide warning signs, and 58% of youth encouraged someone getting through a tough time to seek help, meaning that projects such as Directing Change can make a real impact on the lives of young people struggling with mental health issues.

The film contest serves the dual purpose of getting young people engaged in conversations about mental health and suicide prevention and providing schools and community-based organizations with powerful educational resources that speak directly to young people. RUHS – Behavioral Health also encourages community members to view the films to reduce stigma around mental health issues and to provide an opportunity to talk about suicide prevention and mental health topics.

To learn more about the 2023 Directing Change Film Contest, visit or contact Myeshia Bobo at

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RUHS Behavioral Health is part of Riverside University Health System, which also includes the departments of Community Health Clinics, Public Health, and the 439-bed Medical Center in Moreno Valley. RUHS Behavioral Health provides a full continuum of community prevention and behavioral health treatment services to more than 60,000 people annually in the nation's tenth most populous county. It operates 79 clinic sites across Riverside County, including three mental health urgent care centers and three transitional-age youth centers, serving young adults between the ages of 16 and 25. To learn more, visit