Directing Change Contest Submission Deadline: February 1, 2015

Students throughout California are invited to Direct Change by submitting 60-second films to spread awareness about suicide prevention and ending the silence associated with mental illness. The winning teams and their associated schools will win cash prizes, receive mental health or suicide prevention programs for their schools, get to participate in a meeting with state legislators on these topics, and attend the award ceremony at the end of the 2014-15 school year. 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 the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA).

NAMI California is excited to announce the expansion of the education and training component of The Directing Change Student Film Contest! This year, Directing Change is offering an Ending the Silence presentation and suicide prevention programs to students who intend on submitting entries into the contest. There are also additional resources for participants, parents and school advisors. The Directing Change Team will be offering a monthly newsletter to keep participants up-to-date with all developments about the contest and various mental health and suicide prevention topics through articles, educational videos, and current events. Educational films that discuss various mental health and suicide prevention topics will also be released for participants on a monthly basis. The films can be used to provide more information to students and teachers to help inspire the film-making process! Check out the October films about the Mental Health Continuum, mental illness, and stigma:

To subscribe to The Advocate: Directing Change newsletter, please visit

Visit the campaign website for contest rules and information: .

Submission Deadlines: February 1, 2015.

Have questions about Directing Change? Contact Lauren Hee at or 916-567-0163.

Providing Help Against a Suicide Risk

It can be scary when a friend or loved one is thinking about suicide. Let us help. If someone you know has any warning signs we encourage you to call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) so that you can find out what resources are available in your area. Your call is routed to the Lifeline center closest to your area code. The local crisis center may have resources such as counseling or in-patient treatment centers for your friend or family member. Most importantly, please encourage them to call the Lifeline.

How To Be Helpful to Someone Who Is Threatening Suicide

  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
  • Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
  • Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
  • Don’t dare him or her to do it.
  • Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
  • Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
  • Be Aware of Feelings

Many people at some time in their lives think about suicide. Most decide to live because they eventually come to realize that the crisis is temporary and death is permanent. On the other hand, people having a crisis sometimes perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control. These are some of the feelings and thoughts they experience:

Can’t stop the pain
Can’t think clearly
Can’t make decisions
Can’t see any way out
Can’t sleep, eat or work
Can’t get out of depression
Can’t make the sadness go away
Can’t see a future without pain
Can’t see themselves as worthwhile
Can’t get someone’s attention
Can’t seem to get control

If you experience these feelings, get help! If someone you know exhibits these symptoms, offer help!

This content was developed by the American Association of Suicidology.


September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

More than 90 percent of people who have died by suicide were living with one or more mental illnesses. While making up less than 1 percent of the population, military veterans represent over 20 percent of suicides each year. The hard reality is that our nation faces a suicide crisis. During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, NAMI will continue our efforts to provide education, resources and support to individuals and families in need.

One conversation can change a lifetime

Maintaining strong connections among family, friends and in your community is one of the best ways to prevent suicide. Supporting NAMI through a donation today enables you to extend your circle of support and become part of a national movement to end the stigma of mental illness and remove barriers to treatment. One person making a difference can change a life. When we all work together we can change a nation.

Each of us is in a unique position to recognize someone at risk for suicide and to take action to get them the help they need. Recognize some of the common warning signs:

  •  Depression, feelings of hopelessness, or suicidal thoughts
  • Impulsiveness, extreme anxiety, agitation, irritability, or risky behavior
  • Withdrawal from others; giving away treasured belongings
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Abuse of alcohol, drugs, or other substances

Remember, if you are concerned about a co-worker, friend, or a family member, and you think they may be considering suicide, you can ACT to prevent suicide.

 A – Ask the question – “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”

C – Care for your co-worker – Listen with compassion and voice your concern.

T – Take action – Seek professional help.

If you, or someone you know, are thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK. This number can be dialed toll-free from anywhere in the United States 24 hours a day, seven days a week.