2020 Judges

 

We are now seeking judges to help us select the winning films.  Do you have expertise/interest in directing, writing, editing, acting, journalism, public service announcements, video production, suicide prevention and/or mental health?  Contact us about becoming a judge today!  The entire process would take less than 2 hours of your time, all of which can be done online from home. Please note that you cannot participate as a judge if you are submitting a film or associated in any way with a film team that is submitting a team (e.g. teacher, adult advisor, family member). Regional Judging begins in March 2021 so stay tuned! 

Submit an application to become a judge today! 

Thank you to our Hope & Justice Category Judges

Dr. Benjamin Pierre Scott is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Staff Development Officer with Riverside University Health Systems Behavioral Health in the department of Prevention and Early Intervention. Dr. Scott completed his Doctorate at Loma Linda University in Marriage and Family therapy where his qualitative study focused on Engaging Men:  Optimum Transformation Conditions For Domestic Violence Offenders. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Valley College where he teaches Group and Family Dynamics and Co-Occurring Disorders.

Edwin Lim teaches AP Art and Design 2D, Photography, and Computer Art. His students have won in video, animation, photography, and digital art. His students have been exhibited, and will be exhibited, at the Congressional Art Awards in Washington, D.C., Museum of Photographic Arts, Association of Texas Photography Instructors, Riverside Art Museum, San Diego County Fair, iVIE Awards & Student Film Festival, Bonita Museum, San Diego History Center, San Diego Art Institute, and the Chula Vista Film Festival.

Guisel Contreras is a UC Berkeley alumni. Guisel is passionate about reporting on art, education, health, human rights, and issues concerning women and children. Her internships with NBC and then the CBS Evening News in New York City, combined with her love for storytelling, motivated her to explore the world of documentary film. Guisel’s most recent work includes acting as a producer and camera person on the 2019 documentary “We Are the Radical Monarchs”, and the 2020 “And She Could Be Next”. She is excited to continue to tell in-depth stories that hopefully mobilize people to create social change.

Hayley Yerington has a passion for diversity and representation in the arts, and spent 8 years on staff at the non-profit American Cinematheque, an organization in Los Angeles dedicated to showcasing films and filmmakers from all over the world.

Melissa DuBose teaches filmmaking and English language arts at East Los Angeles Performing Arts Magnet. She advocates for equity in the arts and is an Art Activate Fellow. A past LAUSD teacher of the year, she received her B.A. and MFA in film and theatre from UCSC and UCLA.

Michelle Fortunado-Kewin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at San Francisco Unified School District and a doctoral student at the University at Buffalo. She has done work in the field of suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention since 2012. One of her passion projects is focused on improving the services and supports for Filipino youth struggling with suicide and mental health issues.

Nancy VanLeuven: “I’m starting my fourth year in the Media, Communications and Journalism Department at Fresno State and most of my classes are about advertising, public relations, and media stereotypes. My career has spanned journalism (the San Francisco Chronicle) as well as the strategic communication space for nonprofits (American Lung Association, International Red Cross) and corporations (Taco Bell, Disney).  I went back to school to learn the new frameworks and tools needed for persuasive campaigns and greatly appreciate Directing Change in its appeal to students.  Plus. I see Directing Change as a critical piece in MCJ’s new course, minor, and concentration in Health and Strategic Media.  (If it’s one thing we’ve learned during the COVIDS, it’s that we need to know more!)”

Pavel Vogler is a Multimedia Artist and Educator presently teaching high school and community college visual arts and CTE classes. Published graphic novels and awarded documentaries on the topics related to teen culture and multiculturalism on international and community level.

Soyun Park is a professional artist working in the animation industry, She is currently working in DreamWorks animation as a visual development artist. She communicates messages through visual stories. “I have always tried to give positive messages to children and young people through my artworks and have supported films that educates or conveys a healthy mind to young people.”

Tracie Andrews is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Lewis-Clark State College and her Masters in Social Work from Aurora University.  Tracie has worked in a variety of settings and has extensive knowledge working with underserved children, adults, and families and disenfranchised communities. She has expertise in early childhood mental health, community violence, crisis services, and school-based services. In her role as a Mental Health Clinical Supervisor with the  Prevention and Outcomes Division – Family and Community Partnerships Unit, Tracie is the lead for Anti-Stigma, Suicide Prevention, and Health Neighborhoods. She also currently serves as Co-Chair for the Los Angeles County Suicide Prevention Network (LASPN).

In addition, entries are also reviewed and judged by Directing Change team members Jana Sczersputowski, MPH, Shanti Bond-Martinez, MPH, and Devin Saragosa-Harris, MPH.

A big thank you to our 2020 Judges

A big thank you to our statewide, regional, and specialty category judges

2020 Statewide Judges
2020 Through the Lens of Culture Judges
2020 SanaMente Judges
2020 Animated Short Judge
2020 Walk in Our Shoes Judges
2020 Regional Judges

2020 Statewide Judges

Angela Cohen is “an actress on the rise”, as deemed by The Miami Herald.  She’s a Sundance Labs finalist for her film, The Art of Saving a Life, and was handpicked by Google for their VR Jumpstart Initiative. Her short film, Without Grace, qualified for the 90th annual Academy Awards and was released on Amazon. She currently has three television comedies in development under her banner, Charley Bear Productions, which focuses on female-helmed, social impact stories, often with a hilarious edge.  You can follow her work @AngelaCohen on IG and Twitter.

Angela Padilla is a passionate advocate for ensuring every family has access to mental health information, education and treatment as well as financial well-being. Angela’s commitment and her passion for mental health awareness comes from personal experience of supporting her mother as she lives with Bipolar Disorder. As a result, Angela became an advocate for her mother, seeking mental health information from a young age which motivated her to earn a degree in Psychology. She learned that even in the age of the internet, accurate and reliable mental health information can be difficult to find.

Angelique Davis is a Program Analyst at California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA).

April Foreman Ph.D., is a Licensed Psychologist serving Veterans as a Clinical Outreach Specialist in Technology and Innovation for the Veterans Crisis Line. She is an Executive Committee member for the Board of the American Association of Suicidology, and has served VA as the 2017 Acting Director of Technology and Innovation for the Office of Suicide Prevention. She is the 2015 recipient of the Roger J. Tierney Award for her work as a founder and moderator of the first sponsored regular mental health chat on Twitter, the weekly Suicide Prevention Social Media chat (#SPSM, sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology, AAS). Her dream is to use her unique skills and vision to build a mental health system effectively and elegantly designed to serve the people who need it.

Ann Collentine is the former Deputy Director for the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA).

Bradley Buecker is executive producer of Fox’s new hit show “9-1-1”. He is also director and producer of the Golden Globe nominated show “Glee”, and has worked on numerous other projects including “The New Normal”. In 2015, Mr. Buecker received the award for “Program Supporter and Student Mentor of Directing Change” for his longtime support of the Directing Change Program.

Candace Yoder is the Executive Director of Matthew Silverman Memorial Foundation. Its mission is to combat the tragedy of youth suicides through various types of educational programs as well as community outreach.

Candice Medina is a Program Coordinator at California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA).

Carly Starr Brullo-Niles is an award-winning filmmaker & executive director of North County television studio, KOCT. After years of success in Hollywood on major motion pictures, independent features & network TV, Carly founded production house Love Machine Films on the ethos that Love Can Conquer All. At KOCT, Carly Starr oversees all production carried out by the Oceanside facility which caters to a San Diego viewership of over 65,000 households countywide. By keeping locals well-informed and actively engaged with matters that effect their everyday lives, Carly looks to achieve her vision of providing a continual voice for the North County community.

Caroline Fitzgerald, MScOT is a Project Lead at Hopelab, a social innovation lab focused on building science-based technologies to improve the health and well-being of teens and young adults. Before Hopelab, Ms. FitzGerald worked for 9 years as an Occupational Therapist supporting people experiencing serious mental illness on their recovery journey.

Cary McQueen, MAM is the Executive Director of Art with Impact, a nonprofit organization working throughout the U.S. and Canada that uses short films to reduce the stigma of mental illness on college and high school campuses.

Chantelle James is the co-owner of production company Kid Sister Collective, and an award-winning actor/writer/producer who works in film & TV.

Cheryl Sharp, MSW, ALWF is an exclusive consultant for the National Council for Behavioral Health in their efforts to promote suicide prevention, mental health and that recovery is possible.  She also provides exclusive consulting to the National Council on trauma-informed services and is a SAMHSA Voice Award winner using her voice to bring hope and healing to those who struggle with mental health challenges.

Chris McCarthy is the VP of Strategy & Design at HopeLab where he and his teams are tackling complex challenges facing today’s young people.  His current portfolio includes loneliness in college students, well-being in queer youth, better health for young moms, and resilience in young cancer survivors.  His work has been featured in the Harvard Business Review, FastCompany, the New York Times and many more.

Cindy Baer is an award-winning director and producer. Her debut feature PURGATORY HOUSE was written by a 14-year-old girl, and deals with the topics of teen suicide and drug abuse.  A critical darling, it screened at 25 festivals, won 12 festival awards and received 2 Prism Award nominations.  Most recently Cindy directed a 12-episode web series / 32-minute TV pilot called “Soci Circle” that inspires tween girls to embrace cultural diversity.  www.CindyBaer.com

David Ridgway has worked in the film industry since 1973 in various roles including producer, director and editor. He has worked on numerous projects over the years including music videos, television shows as well as films and documentaries including “Lord of the Rings”, “Annabel Lee” and “The Musician” which have won various awards. David is on the Board of Directors for the Capital Film Arts Alliance, with over 4000 members in Northern California. He also produced two feature films due out this year, Full Circle: The Story of New Dimensions (a documentary) and Stevie and Sandi Save the Rainbow Forest (a children’s film).

Deven McNair is a professional stunt performer and actress who is known for her work on films such as 22 Jump Street, The Green Lantern, Disaster Movie, Planet of the Apes, and the Disney Channel show, JESSIE.

Don Collins

Doug Blush has worked in documentary filmmaking for over fifteen years as a director, producer, editor, writer and cinematographer. His credits include: the Academy Award winning 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, (2013 Best Documentary), as well as WORDPLAY (2006); I.O.U.S.A (2008); THESE AMAZING SHADOWS (2011); and THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO-YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE (2015). He was also recently Supervising Editor of JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY, winner of the 2016 Sundance Audience Award. Throughout his career Doug has worked on projects that bring about social change, including the Oscar-nominated THE INVISIBLE WAR (2013), and THE HUNTING GROUND (2015). He is the co-founder of the LA-based production company MadPix, Inc. and is a Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Eileen Zeller, MPH, is enjoying her new life after a career in community mental health and suicide prevention at the county, state, and national levels. She retired from the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2018, where she was Lead Public Health Advisor in the Suicide Prevention Branch. She provided national leadership in a variety of areas, including ensuring that SAMHSA’s suicide prevention efforts were integrated with those of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and serving on multiple advisory, policy, and implementation committees and workgroups. In retirement, Eileen loves bringing her suicide prevention expertise home to Maryland and surrounding jurisdictions, both volunteering and consulting.

Elle Alexander is the Vice President of the Stuntwomen’s Association of Motion Pictures, as well as a member of Women in Film and the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Frances Gonzalez is the Senior Director of Marketing and Communication for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline.

Hilary Smith is the author of Welcome to the Jungle: Facing Bipolar Without Freaking Out, as well as the novels Wild Awake and A Sense of the Infinite. Her favorite way to maintain a healthy mind is to care for the environment.

Jacqui Blue is a Los Angeles based filmmaker, artist, writer, hypnotherapist and mother of five sons. She recently completed a documentary on suicide awareness called “I Chose Life: Stories of Suicide & Survival.”

James Lecesne wrote the short film TREVOR, which won the 1995 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short and he is the founder of The Trevor Project, the only nationwide 24-hour suicide prevention and crisis intervention Lifeline for LGBT and Questioning youth.  He has written three novels for young adults, and created The Letter Q, a collection of letters by Queer writers written to their younger selves.

Jen James is the Founding Supervisor and Head of Network for the Crisis Text Line, a 24/7 free texting service for those in crisis.

James Jones Ph.D. is a psychologist with LA Mayor Garcetti’s Crisis Response Team and the Services to the Armed Forces program for the American Red Cross. His background includes acting in a variety of Shakespeare festivals, 8 years as the Lead Ringmaster for the annual Napa Valley Film Festival, and a judge for many of Ohlone College’s High School Theater & Music Festivals.

Kathy Lindboe is the writer, producer and director of the award-winning feature NONAMES starring Gillian Jacobs and James Badge Dale. She produces, writes and directs short films, social impact videos, commercials and features and has directed 14 plays in NY, LA and Minneapolis. She worked at Miramax as their Digital Producer and is a co-founder and CEO of Battlecry Productions, the first female-owned and operated horror film production company.

Katie Rotolo has 10+ years in the entertainment industry and is the co-founder of the boutique production company Paper Ball Pictures, whose mission is putting the environment first while telling impactful stories. She is also the founder and yoga teacher of Set Intentions, a first-of-its-kind, mobile wellness business focused on sustainability and mindfulness.

Kelly Zirnhelt

Kevin Hines is a storyteller at heart. He is a best-selling author, global public speaker, and award winning documentary filmmaker. In 2000, Kevin attempted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Kevin now travels the world sharing his story of hope, healing, and recovery while teaching people of all ages the art of wellness & the ability to survive pain with true resilience.

Kiki Goshay is the producer/director of the film Not Alone, which uses intimate teen-to-teen conversations, to engage the audience about depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicide, getting help and treating mental illness.  Film is a great tool for youth to bring issues they care about to a broad audience, and Kiki’s mission has been to give kids a voice.

Kim Kline is an award-winning singer-songwriter, philanthropist, entrepreneur and fashionista.  Best known for her single “Inside” which aired on MTV’s show The Hill’s.  Her current single “Stand Tall” is a bullying prevention anthem from her up and coming sophomore album.  The release of her music video “Stand Tall” which gives a universal message of hope, strength and human connectedness will debut later this year.

Larry Sanders is a former NBA basketball player (Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers), who walked away from 27 million dollars to take care of his mental health.  He now happily plays professional basketball with the Big 3 league and is developing a custom jean line. Larry is a proud father of 3 and a musician, painter, writer and a vocal mental health advocate who encourages people to speak and live their own truth.

Laura Carson works extensively in the entertainment industry in a number of different fields. As a film and TV actress, she has appeared in American Crime, Grey’s Anatomy, Drop Dead Diva, Bruce Almighty and many others. Her short film, Dime Short, has been programmed in several film festivals. She produced, wrote and acted in UnCorked, a web-series launching soon. Other writing credits include several short plays produced in Atlanta and New York. She enjoys teaching filmmaking to young filmmakers at Idyllwild Arts Academy in the summer.

Lia Bruce worked for a Hollywood film producer as a creative executive before moving back to her hometown of San Diego. Lia currently supports furthering the programming and outreach activities of The Nonprofit Institute (NPI) at the University of San Diego.

Linda Bergonzi-King, MPH, is a Producer/Director/Health Communication Expert and Social Entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience creating a wide range of video programs, educational tools and communications with a particular emphasis on health, well-being, social justice, edutainment, and community development. She also teaches high school and undergraduate courses on multiple topics related to health communication, interpersonal communication & media relations/literacy. Linda graduated from the Yale University School of Public Health with an emphasis on Health Communication and Health Policy.

Linda Williams is producer/show producer with KOCT, which caters to a San Diego viewership of over 65,000 households countywide. She is also a lead producer for Love Machine Films since 2005.

Lisa Klein is an award-winning director and writer dedicated to crafting groundbreaking documentary features. Her current project, THE S WORD, is a documentary that tackles one of the most cloistered issues of our time through the emotional stories of suicide attempt and loss survivors.  In 2012, Lisa co-directed the award-winning film OF TWO MINDS, a journey into the lives of remarkable people living, struggling and triumphing with bipolar condition. She is co-founder, with her husband Doug Blush, of MadPix Inc., an LA-based production company dedicated to producing character-driven stories that create global impact and social change.

Mara (Tamara) Hopewell, originally from Northern California, received her A.A. Degree in Behavior and Social Science and Masters of Fine Arts in Motion Pictures and Television with a concentration in Directing. Currently Ms. Hopewell is Producing a feature length documentary on suicide prevention called,”1 More Day.”

Marie Gallo Dyak is an Emmy® Award winning producer who produces webcasts on all facets of substance use disorders, mental health and related health issues such as concussion, trauma, diabetes, HIV, and Hepatitis C; and Co-Creator and Executive Producer, EIC’s Annual PRISM Awards Ceremony and TV Special.

Mark Powers is the Vice President of the California Broadcasters Association, representing the interests of the 1000+ radio and television stations in the state. He has been an adjunct professor of Communication Studies and Journalism for the past 20 years at Sacramento State University.

Melissa Margain is a US Army Disabled Combat Veteran who currently lives in Contra Costa County where she is a Case Manager working with the Re-Entry population in an effort to reduce the rate of recidivism.

Meredith O’Connor is a singer and rising teen pop star who recently toured the world speaking to youth about her own experience overcoming bullying and other obstacles. Meredith rose to fame when her first song “Celebrity” went viral on YouTube seeing over two million views within the first two months of its release. It became a radio favorite, bringing her a fan base which became a cult-like following once she had established her anti bullying platform. Her music encourages teens to be inclusive and tolerant of one another’s differences and her anti bullying songs and music videos such as “The Game” and “Just The Thing” have changed the lives of victims of bullying.

Metta World Peace is a former professional basketball player and current entrepreneur, tech developer and mental health advocate.  He won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award in 2004, won a NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010, and raffled off his 2010 championship ring to raise money for mental health organizations. He is the proud father of four children.

Michael Axinn is a digital content professional and founder of two video production companies, One to One Box and Tabula Agency, Mike has worked to expand the power of online video in his work for such companies as Genentech, Salesforce, Google, Facebook, Nokia, LucasFilm, 20th Century Fox, Nextracker, American Airlines and the California Health Department.   Prior to Tabula and One to One Box, Mike was a sound editor on over three-dozen feature films, including Star Wars, Moulin Rouge, Titanic and The English Patient, the last two of which won the Academy Award for Best Sound and Best Picture. He was nominated for a Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Award for his work on Moulin Rouge. He recently had an opportunity to combine his passions for running and filmmaking as co-creator of the mockumentary webisode series, Running People.  His proudest achievement is being the father of two amazing daughters.

Michael Gilvary is a writer and executive producer on the NBC drama, Chicago Fire.

Michelle Taylor Greene is a creative artist, mental health & wellness advocate, and speaker who is passionate about raising mental health awareness and promoting hope, wellness & recovery. She also works at NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Urban Los Angeles, volunteers with various mental health organizations, and is the founder of Wholistic Style, a lifestyle & wellness brand that inspires others to eat well, live well, and be well.

Monica Nepomuceno works at the California Department of Education as an Education Programs Consultant overseeing the Mental Health Services Program. Monica is passionate about helping all school staff, including certificated and classified personnel, parents, and community members increase their knowledge and awareness of student mental health and wellness; and providing school staff with skills and resources to help students in timely, respectful, and culturally appropriate manner.

Nagin Cox is a spacecraft operations engineer currently working as a tactical mission lead for the Mars Curiosity Rover and on the upcoming Mars 2020 Rover.

Nick Major is with California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA).

Dr. Pam Luna is an innovative career educator who uses film to inspire bold action-Dr. Luna is the lead organizer for American Public Health Association’s Global Public Health Film Festival and Senior trainer for RAND Corp.

Pixie Monroe enjoys mentoring America’s Youth and California’s passionate Young Filmmakers who are eager to make a difference in their communities through accurate messaging in film, television and social media.

Ruben Preuss is a producer/ director with 25 years of experience in film production. For the last 9 years Ruben is a licensed psychotherapist working at Kaiser Permanente Behavioral Health.

Sally Spencer-Thomas is a clinical psychologist, mental health advocate, faculty member, survivor of her brother’s suicide and a person who has lived through depression. She sees the issues of mental health promotion and suicide prevention through multiple lenses. Today she uses her professional speaking platform to “elevate the conversation” and make resilience, healing and suicide prevention health and safety priorities in our schools, workplaces and communities. www.SallySpencerThomas.com.

Shannon Jaccard, MBA is a mental health advocate and consultant and author of “The Forgotten Survivors”, a sister’s journey through her brother’s mental illness.

Sheila Ganz is an award-winning director and producer of documentary films  who is currently working on PIECE OF MIND about families with loved ones and persons living with serious mental illness.  Credits include: the Emmy-nominated ON LIFE’S TERMS: MOTHERS IN RECOVERY about five moms in a residential treatment program, and, UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTION which explores the lifelong process of adoption for adoptees, first/birthparents and adoptive parents in same race and transracial adoptions.

Stephanie Welch, MSW, has nearly 20 years of policy and advocacy experience and currently is the Executive Officer of the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health which is charged with developing policy recommendations to the Legislature and Administration regarding how to reduce the number of individuals with behavioral health challenges from incarceration. Stephanie also is a member of the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council and previously worked for the California Mental Health Services Authority and the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California.

Tom Kline has many years of experience working at NBC Universal and in the Entertainment Industry.

Trent Duncan is an award winning independent filmmaker, Film Festival Director, and YouTuber. Trent has created a variety of narrative short and feature films in many genres that have entertained audiences around the world. He is most notably known for his YouTube channel featuring Epic Horror Battles.

 

 

2020 Through the Lens of Culture Judges

Alejandra Vaca

Andrea Schulz is a NAMI member and a retired social worker with a background in film and video arts. “Every year I am thrilled to see the level of creativity and production values displayed by youth in getting this life saving message out!”

Angelica Schexnayder says that because she has prepared to be an educator, “I feel as if this topic is important for me to learn more about and hear from students.”

Ann Truong has worked as a mental health therapist in community mental health serving various populations and ages. Some of her strongest passions is to counter the stigma of mental health and to understand and emphasize the importance of culture on individuals’ lives.

Ariel Bustamante is a multi-racial, queer, femme professional with over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit sector with and in service of low-income, LGBTQ+ youth of color. As the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Training & Coaching Manager, she is tasked with empowering professionals in systems of care to reduce some of the disparities this population faces – disparities she is keenly aware of as a service provider and user.

Carlos Lamadrid is an Outreach & Engagement Coordinator for RUHS-BH and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works with underserved communities following the Mental Health Services Act. He has been working with youth and families since 1999 and most recently he’s been providing community outreach, consultation, and engagement for increasing racial, ethnic, cultural and linguistic inclusiveness in behavioral health.

Carly Smith serves as the Senior Equity Specialist for the Foundation for California Community Colleges, supporting the statewide mental health campaign to our 115 California Community Colleges.

Cynthia White is returning for her 6th year judging. She has experience in crisis services, patients’ rights and outpatient care.  She also works with law enforcement and trains others about dealing with the mentally ill.

Daniel Kwong, a CAF-approved member of Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and a Regional Community Advisory Committee Member (Region 3, San Gabriel Valley), is engaged and has attended meetings on the Mental Health Commission. He is grateful that the needs of the homeless who struggle with mental health conditions are being addressed through the Homeless Health Summit. “Positive lifestyles and active health perceptions will elevate healthy mind sets and visions !!!”

Gil Perez is a Personal Counselor at College of San Mateo and coordinates a Mental Health Peer Educator Program to promote a positive mental health culture on campus and end stigma through education, outreach, and advocacy.

Hector Ramirez has experience living with a mental health condition, and an emeritus Los Angeles Mental Health Commissioner and am a committee member with the Mental Health Services and Oversight Commission on the Cultural and Linguistic Competence Committee.“I have had the opportunity to be a judge for the past 2 years and I am interested in supporting this project.”

Holli Drobny is the Mental Health Services Act Coordinator, the Cultural Competency Coordinator, and Public Information Officer for Butte County Behavioral Health.

Jeff Sabean is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor who has been working in the behavioral health field for over 30 years. He is the current Administrator for the Stanislaus Recovery Center and is the Manager of Stanislaus County’s Substance Use Disorders (SUD) System of Care. Prior to managing the SUD services for Stanislaus County, he oversaw the youth substance abuse services and Juvenile Justice programs and has worked in various divisions within Stanislaus County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Children’s System of Care.

Juan Gutierrez-Cervantesis the new MHSA coordinator for the County of San Benito and is tasked with expanding services to youth. “I think this is a great opportunity to begin implementation into our local schools and partners.”Loren Goldstein has been working with drug addicted inmates for approximately 5 years. She knows how important it is to be able to openly discuss mental health issues and looks forward to the day when there are enough services for everyone and the stigma has disappeared.

Marina Castillo-Augusto is the Chief of the Community Development & Engagement Unit within the Office of Health Equity at the CA Department of Public Health. Marina and her team lead an innovative $60 million mental health initiative called the CA Reducing Disparities Project which focuses on growing community defined promising practices for underserved multicultural communities statewide.

Mary Algiers is a Registered Nurse and Public Health Nurse for In Home Supportive Services for Aging and Independence Services for San Diego County. Mary’s life has been directly and indirectly effected by suicide and works to be a supporter, educator and advocator for “those underserved and underheard in our communities.”

Michelle Fortunado-Kewin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at San Francisco Unified School District and a doctoral student at the University at Buffalo. She has done work in the field of suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention since 2012. One of her passion projects is focused on improving the services and supports for Filipino youth struggling with suicide and mental health issues.

Dr. Nina Moreno has extensive experience in reducing mental health disparities both locally in California and at the national level. She is also a film aficionado; she is one of the founders of the Filadefia Latin American Film Festival in 2013 and served as its Communications Director from 2015.

Phrani Diksa has been working with young people in an educational setting for over 30 years. “It is with a sigh of relief that suicide is finally being talked about openly and honestly. That in itself is a major movement forward.”

Dr. Ricardo Guerra Cabán has worked 5 years as a Bilingual Program Coordinator for Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center in Los Angeles, CA. He is an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) Master Trainer. He also worked 3 years in Puerto Rico’s Crisis Intervention Program as a Crisis Counselor and Team Leader.

Ron Shaw is a Lifetime Family Member of the NAMI Family. Ron has worked and volunteered within the Health Wellness sector of Northern and Central California for 20 plus years. He has served as a NAMI Board Member in 2 counties, worked as a Mentor Specialist for two community youth agencies, served as the Regional Workforce Development Coordinator for 20 counties, and volunteered as a WRAP facilitator (with 85 graduates) and a NAMI Family to Family facilitator (with 64 graduates).

Tanya Sapa is Samoan and struggled growing up with her mental wellness and the stigma within the Pacific Islander community that made it challenging to understand mental health as a youth. She majored in Social Science: Psychology and is now pursuing a career in mental health. She works as a Case Manager, Quality Assurance, and Community Outreach with SSG Alliance, and has learned that every story is different but recovery and stability is possible. “Hopefully by becoming a judge I’ll be inspired by the stories and the lives that are discussed in these films. Sharing mental health stories are imperative because it provides a sense of belonging during a period where one feels they are the only one going through this. I have been doing community work for the past 4 years by educating and spreading awareness of Mental Health within the Pacific Islander community.”

Tranh Pham is a graduate student at California State University, Sacramento. Currently, working toward becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and helping to make mental well-being accessible, equitable and normal. When not studying, he enjoys getting lost in short films and popcorn.

2020 SanaMente Judges

Adam Lopez currently serves as Commissioner for the City of Oxnard and also sits on Chief of Police Advisory Board. In addition, he serves as the Community Liaison through his church and partners up with organizations and agencies that work with youth groups and at risk youth advocates.

Bianca Wilson is a licensed bilingual Spanish speaking MFT who currently holds the position of Patient’s Rights Advocate and Cultural Competency Coordinator for county behavioral health services in a small rural county in Northern California.

Carlos Lamadrid is an Outreach & Engagement Coordinator for RUHS-BH and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works with underserved communities following the Mental Health Services Act. He has been working with youth and families since 1999 and most recently he’s been providing community outreach, consultation, and engagement for increasing racial, ethnic, cultural and linguistic inclusiveness in behavioral health.

Emily Bender is a consultant with The Social Changery, whose mission is to ensure that all people, regardless of circumstance or background, have equitable opportunities for educational, health and economic success.  She is a native Spanish speaker with 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She brings an awareness of cultural differences and intersectionality to a wide array of public health and social justice issues, including mental health disparities, youth development, LGBTQ+ communities, and affordable housing.

Howard Somers has been a suicide awareness/prevention and mental health advocate at the local and national level since his son took his life in June 2013 after serving in Iraq with the National Guard.

Isaac Arjonilla has been a professional photographer and editor for the past 10 years and a strong supporter of using visual arts to communicate powerful messages such as raising awareness for mental health in students.

Javier Mata is an Account Manager with Runyon Saltzman where he takes great pride in working on social impact campaigns such as Each Mind Matters and SanaMente. Javier hopes his work on these campaigns will reduce the stigma surrounding mental health amongst California’s diverse populations.

Jenn House is a MHSA Program Specialist for the Tuolumne County Behavioral Health (TCBH) Department. Jenn oversees the Tuolumne County Enrichment Center, a wellness and recovery center for the local homeless population and mentally ill, represents the county during special events, community meetings, and does outreach for the center, as well as leads the May is Mental Health Awareness month activities in Tuolumne County.

Jim Jones, as the retired Chief of Psychology at a CA State Psychiatric Hospital, has experience with helping youth to manage self-injurious thoughts and behavioral impulses, and with their transition back to the community.  He has also assisted on youth film projects through the Napa Valley Film Festival and theatrical performances through the Ohlone College High School Theater Festival.

Kylie Reynolds is an attorney in Los Angeles and a former journalist.

Lupita Rodriguez is the Program Administrator of the Mente Sana, Vida Sana program at the Health Education Council. Lupita works to increase the culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services for the Spanish-speaking and Latinx communities.

Nestor Veloz-Passalacquahas an interest in judging the contest stems from his desire to help the community and to be deeply connected with the various aspects of mental health. He is specifically interested in focusing on accurate representation, language, and culture of vulnerable populations, while representing and providing agency to their voices.

Rosio Pedroso

Ruth Cañas has been in the field of mental health for over 25 years and is the executive director of a mental health agency in West Los Angeles. She has dedicated her career to empowering youth within the Latino community.

 

2020 Animated Short Judges

Areum Belle Lee is an award-winning illustrator for Healing tree story book. She has worked with Coaniquem, a nonprofit pediatric burn treatment facility in Santiago, by providing the story book to young patients. She is currently working as character artist for LOL SURPRISE toy brand at MGA entertainment.

Bart Callender is with the L.A. Department of Mental Health and “Very much enjoys supporting youth interested in taking on new challenges.”

Ha Eun Chang is a designer specialized in commercials and film, interested in social issues and how we can inspire people through the work.

Hatt Cho is a background designer on Disney Jr.’s Muppet Babies, an Emmy-nominee preschool children’s animated show. She is contributing to make this world a better place by creating dream worlds for kids.

Ilana Weiss is writer and interactive designer who is passionate about using educational media and technology to enhance social-emotional skills. She is currently a writer for Science in Interactive Media at BrainPOP, a company that makes learning experiences and creative tools for K-8 students.

Jay Wiebe has been a School Psychologist for over 25 years and has seen the impact that programs such as Directing Change can have within our schools. “This will be my third year as a judge and I look forward to seeing what our students have created this year!”

LaTanya Green works with a child and youth program and says, “Every year I look forward to the creativity and drive of the participants; I am even more proud to be a part of this project when I hear young people talking about help others.”

Lawrence Dizon-Weisberg has 17 years of experience in feature-animation and shorts (mostly with DreamWorks Animation).  He has been a judge for the past two years and looking forward to reviewing these wonderful animated films from budding filmmakers.

Natalie Saragosa-Harris is a Psychology PhD student at UCLA researching how experiences shape wellbeing in children and adolescents. She is committed to supporting healthy development and mental health in youth.

Nicole Lim is a professional award-winning children’s book illustrator and visual development artist currently working in animation. As a creator of children’s content, she believes in the value of spreading awareness about mental health especially with the youth.

Paige Audia has been a social worker for over 20 years working with children and adolescents, chronically ill patients, and people who have survived a traumatic brain injury. “I am always advocating for mental health to be made a priority.”

Rebecca Johnson is a student at Cerritos College, a community college serving Southeastern Los Angeles County. She is also the President of the Active Minds chapter, where recently the chapter was evaluated as a 5-star chapter by Active Minds, Inc.

Soyun Park is a professional artist working in the animation industry, She is currently working in DreamWorks animation as a visual development artist. She communicates messages through visual stories. “I have always tried to give positive messages to children and young people through my artworks and have supported films that educates or conveys a healthy mind to young people.”

Tranh Pham is a graduate student at California State University, Sacramento. Currently, working toward becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and helping to make mental well-being accessible, equitable and normal. When not studying, he enjoys getting lost in short films and popcorn.

Troy Underwood is a Current Series Executive at Disney Television Animation who has overseen series including Star Wars Rebels, Star vs. The Forces of Evil, and Big City Greens.

The Rev. Vivian Brocato, MA is passionate about helping children and families heal from various Adverse Childhood Experiences and mental health concerns, including suicide and suicidal ideation.

Wendy Acevedo is an animator and illustrator who creates daily content for her own online platforms and as well as marketing animations for online business. “My goal as a judge is to motivate and guide young storytellers to reach a high level of success through animation.”

Whitney Wilson is a Patient Rights Advocate at Jewish Family Service of San Diego. Whitney helps to ensure that the rights of people receiving behavioral health services in psychiatric hospitals, residential and long term care facilities, and substance use disorder facilities are protected.

2020 Walk in Our Shoes Judges

Alexandria Brooks

Anabel Aispuro works with the L.A. County Department of Mental Health. “I love the opportunity that Directing Change gives to young people to not only think deeply about mental health issues but to also explore their creative side and becoming young voices educating their peers about mental health.”

Andy Fornadel is an advocate for the Directing Change organization and supporter of mental health awareness activities, especially those in California.

Barrett Tate is a community member and self-proclaimed film buff, “I would relish the opportunity to help up and coming film makers make their mark for a cause near and dear to my heart.”

BJ Rouse is an independent filmmaker in Los Angeles, California and Chief Executive Officer of After School Arts Academy, a non-profit arts enrichment organization.

Claudia Silva works with the San Bernardino County of Behavioral Health, where part of her job is to educate and empower anyone and everyone in mental health. “I love Directing Change and its message!”

Deidre Hill

Derek Ellingson has over 10 years of experience editing film content professionally, including PSAs for City of Hope and the Alzheimer’s Walk.

Dorinda Wiseman is an advocate of under-represented, marginalized and disproportionately represented populations in the public education, child welfare, correctional systems and older adult populations. “I believe in supporting and encouraging the best in the human spirit.”

Erin Holmes

Heather Haney is a mother of two precious children and is grateful for opportunities such as Directing Change for our youth to take part in suicide prevention awareness.

Ilbea Fedele

Jennifer Brenner knows how important it is to ensure that mental health is a topic we visit early and often in effort to get in front of what she believe is a global crisis. “ACE and youth mental health advocacy is a personal passion of mine, as I myself have an ACE score of 6, and manage my own mental health issues as a result.”

Jerri Gonzalez

Karen Wornald

Kathleen Piche has been looking for ways to raise awareness around mental health issues for over ten years by successfully creating and producing award-winning video, radio and print products that battle the stigma associated with having a mental health diagnosis.

Katie Kaufman is an AFSP Keynote Speaker and Mental Health Counselor in San Diego. As a suicide attempt survivor who is now healthy and thriving, she has quit her corporate career and has chosen to dedicate her life to changing the world of mental health through suicide prevention and mental health education curriculum improvements.

Kay Lund is a nutrition and health educator and sees firsthand how mental health can adversely affect physical health, and vice versa. “It is a challenge we all face.”

Kelsey White is an experienced middle school teacher, and is always looking to create and maintain a safe and positive classroom environment for her students. “This video contest is an inspiring way of increasing student awareness of the mental illness and bringing focus to emotional health, where students can showcase their talents, share their perspectives, and open the door to conversations around mental illness and available resources.”

Kendra Boyce is the Prevention Specialist in Lake County Behavioral Health Department.

M Victoria Bianchi is the executive director CEO and founder of fostering Kids for Life. She is also a 20+ year registered health care worker working in the Inland Empire with children in dentistry. She sits on multiple State and County community and government collaborative serving needy youth populations within the Inland Empire.

Maria Romo

Maria Guadalupe Ramirezis a high school counselor in a “Project Based Learning” environment with a special interest in supporting “mental health” among school age students, especially in high school. “My passion is to help students obtain their goals by supporting their academic, social, emotional, and psychological health.”

Marina Padilla

Marlene Perezlives with mental health so she knows what it’s like and the challenges. “I’d like to become a mental health worker in the future and raise awareness about the stigma surrounding mental health.”

Melissa Casas is a trained licensed clinical social worker working with adolescents on school campus, as an administrator for San Benito High School District where she works to ensure that all students have access to support services on campus.

Melissa Watrous is a passionate advocate for mental health serving on the board and volunteering with her local chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

Norma Alston is a 2nd year Middle School Vice Principal, and a 14-year veteran in education, previously teaching elementary school. She especially enjoys working with foster, homeless and other at risk students.

Paula Hall

Quyen Ballagh has been a peer mediator at South Pasadena High School for 4 years and sees much need for mental health and wellness for youths. “I believe a large campaign to destigmatize mental illness and encourage youth to seek treatment is much needed.”

Rocio Nakao is an MHSA Analyst- PEI for Butte County Behavioral Health. “I look forward to this great opportunity to get involved in suicide prevention and mental health.”

Ruby Gonzalez has been a school counselor for 10 years and has seen the rise of mental health concerns amongst youth growing every year.  “I would love to be a part an impactful proactive suicidal awareness project.”

Sandy Smith is interested in being a judge for this project in order “to make certain that we are spreading the correct awareness to help the population mostly affected by mental illness that needs the CHANGE!
Mental Illness is not something that happens because of the use of drugs, showing love to one another is such an important emotion that has been neglected for too long!!We need to make sure that the people who need to see a change can have a hand in making it happen – We need to make certain that whatever short film is going out to the public hits home with the people that have the will to change this community for the better.”

Talia Shapiro began as a volunteer on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in 2018 and is still actively serving today. In addition, she works as a Training Supervisor, training new counselors on suicide and how to help those in emotional distress.

Traci Barker-Ball is a former high school crisis counselor, who knows the importance of educating others about the importance of good mental health.

Trang Hoang

2020 Regional Judges

Aaron M. Scullin has been an advocate for youth throughout his career and he is determined to help reduce stigmatization so that youth will seek mental health services.

Adriana Navarrete is Master of Social Work graduate from the School of Social Work at California State University, San Bernardino. During her academic career, Adriana was involved in activities and internships focused on providing mental health services to students and families. As of January 2020, Adriana is a certified Adult Mental Health First Aid USA Instructor.

Al Weyant-Forbes is a Student Success Specialist at Riverside City College Student Health & Psychological Services, where he coordinates health education and other student wellness initiatives on campus, including suicide prevention.

Alicia Ramirez is the Associate Director of the Department of Lifelong Learning for the Los Angeles Public Library. She and her team develop, plan, and coordinate programs and services related to the library’s system-wide initiatives for adults, including programs related to civics, financial empowerment, adult literacy, and physical and mental health and wellness. She also leads The Source, a program that connects homeless Angelenos to services for which they’re eligible in a single, centralized setting.

Allie Whalen found out about the Directing Change program this year for the first time, and she’d like to be a judge, so I can do a better job marketing this contest in the future. She works as a teacher and counselor at an independent learning charter school with students in grades TK-12. She is always open to additional training and experience, so she can better serve my students.

Alyssa McCaskell has had a close member of her community commit suicide at a young age, and since then she has been motivated to promote awareness.

Alyssa Her is the Education Coordinator for NAMI California that oversees NAMI On Campus programs and Ending the Silence. Alyssa coordinates outreach and education efforts on mental health and suicide prevention awareness for youth, teachers, and school administration.

Alyssa Tryon is an advocate for mental health and suicide awareness, and would love to support this contest.

Amalia Gratteri is a Social Worker with Children & Family Services in Contra Costa County, primarily working with teenagers and transitioning age youth. She also currently interns for Solano County Office of Education as an MSW Intern, working with different age groups at school site wellness centers.

Amanda Bosworth is a survivor of suicide loss, having lost her wonderful brother Jordan in March of 2016 when he was 23 years old.

Amanda Lance-Sexton is a is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Board Certified Art Therapist, currently working as a mental health administrator in the County of San Diego. Amanda has been dedicated to her work with children and families for over 20 years and is honored to be a judge for a second year in the Directing Change Film Contest.

Amanda Lasik

Amna Jaffer is a lecturer in the Counseling Education Department at San Jose State University, teaching an undergraduate course career exploration and teaching graduate students about addiction and abuse. Amna is also a QPR trainer of Gatekeepers in Suicide Prevention.

Amy Pittillo lost her son to suicide January 14th, 2016. She is a volunteer and a Board Member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She is also the coordinator for Healing Conversation program with AFSP, and has training in Safe Talk & ASIST.

Andrea Schulz is a NAMI member and a retired social worker with a background in film and video arts. “Every year I am thrilled to see the level of creativity and production values displayed by youth in getting this life saving message out!”

Angela Brand has been working in mental health for more than 10 years and knows first hand that mental health affects us all. “I am excited for programs like Directing Change that empower youth to be the voice and transform how we address mental health in our communities.”

Annabel Garcia

Barbara Gonzalez manages the development and operations of community health improvement programs and participates in strategic, collaborative partnerships with hospital and community stakeholders to achieve goals.

Becky Kramer is “continuously impressed with the knowledge, wisdom, caring and concern, and it would be a pleasure and inspiration to see the work of these youth.”

Becky Fein, MPH is the Director of Training and Engagement with Active Minds, the nation’s leading nonprofit working to empower young adults to change the culture around mental health in their communities.

Belen Mendez provides admin support to Carly Smith who runs the Student Health and Wellness Programs at the Foundation for California Community Colleges, which include its Wellness Ambassadors and Mental Health Sponsorships. She also studied psychology and mental health heavily in college, and has long been an advocate for removing the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide.

Bonnie Bear is a Retired School Nurse, Past Executive Director of Survivors of Suicide Loss San Diego and current Board member and Facilitator. She is passionate about decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health and strong advocate for suicide prevention.

Brandon Fahey works at San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Office, where he is the Communications Specialist for Supervisor Josie Gonzales.  “I am a filmmaker in my own right so I’m quite passionate when it comes to all things involving filmmaking.”  He performed media coverage for last year’s Directing for Change contest and “I would love to play a more active role and get involved with the program.”

Brandy Lidbeck coordinates Fresno Survivors of Suicide Loss and works with those impacted by the devastation of suicide loss.

Brenda Scott is the Executive Director of NAMI Mt San Jacinto in Riverside County. She has managed the NAMIWalk in the Inland Empire for 15 years, and serves as a Behavioral Health Commissioner in Riverside County.

Brian Bishop has extensive expertise as the film producer for Fresno County Behavioral Health where he produces documentaries, PSA’s, and commercial spots in the areas surrounding Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder.

Brittany Voelker is a school psychologist at Sweetwater Union High School District. She is passionate about suicide prevention and mental health awareness as it has touched her life personally and professionally.

Bryanna Hayden works at the Foundation for California Community Colleges and supports a mental health program that aims to reduce stigma and provide resources on college campuses. “I want to judge to gain insight on how young students are engaged and motivated to spread awareness to mental health issues and reduce stigma.”

Camille Curier is a survivor of suicide loss and has served on the Board of Directors for Survivors of Suicide Loss (SOSL), San Diego, for 15 years. “I lost a brother and son to suicide. I have also spoken to hundreds of high school & college-aged students about suicide prevention on behalf of SOSL, SD.”

Candace Yoder is the Executive Director of Matthew Silverman Memorial Foundation. MSMF places mental health and suicide prevention programs into schools across the nation with the mission of saving the lives of youth.

Carolyn Kanecko

Cassy Schroeder works at the Orange County Department of Education, where she works directly with students and schools in Youth Development programs and provides workshops about leadership, substance abuse prevention/cessation and mental health.

Celeste McDonald is a junior at California State University San Bernardino majoring in Communication-Public Relations and Media Studies. “My sister attempted suicide which opened my eyes and heart to make sure to hear everyone out. Everyone has a story and I want to hear them.”
Che Hernandez currently serves as San Diego Chapter – Board of Directors Chairman for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and delivers a wide variety of AFSP supported programs to the community and is a trainer of suicide prevention/intervention gatekeeper workshops for both ASIST and safeTALK.

Cheryl Eskin supervises a teen to teen hotline where she takes calls, texts and emails from teens all over the world.  “I am in touch with what teens are struggling with and how much more mental health education and support we need.”

Christie Kerr says, “My husband died from suicide in February 2019, which gave me in-depth understanding of one person’s struggle and how certain efforts may help or hinder those with a long history of mental health issues.”

Christina Ramirez

Christina Dalehas been supporting the Directing Change program since its beginning and is passionate about this annual event. “The creativity and depth of feelings in the video submissions is inspiring and provides one clear message in many voices to not give up on life. ‘Never never never give up.’ – Winston Churchill”

Christine Zirnecklis, formerly on the steering committee of the California Student Media Festival with PBS SoCal’s community engagement team, is a student creativity and media enthusiast. She currently works at the National Geographic Society developing resources and collaboration spaces for grant recipients.

Christopher McCracken works for Civilian, Inc., an agency that works on the San Diego Suicide Prevention Council.  “I am a huge film geek and minored in film studies in college.”

Christopher Campbell is an Admissions Counselor for the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. Christopher coordinates a summer outreach program promoting dentistry towards underrepresented minorities in the field. Currently, he is completing his Masters of Education in School Counseling at USC where he works part time with K-12 students. His focus is to become a College and Career Readiness Counselor.

Dr. Cindy Pancer is a survivor of suicide loss and a professor of education at Alliant International University, where her specialty is the use of technology in education.

Clarissa Pfister

Claudia Boles

Courtney Cruz is a Program Coordinator with the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center in Century City. Courtney has participated in multiple professional panels discussing healthy conversations surrounding suicide and mental health. Courtney’s passion is fueled by her own experience of almost losing two dear friends to suicide, hoping to promote suicide prevention.

Cynthia A. Robertson, MD  is a community volunteer and advocate for mental health who serves as a QPR instructor and participates with the San Diego Suicide Prevention Council.

Cynthia Soares has 17 years of experience as a mental health and school counselor and School Administrator. She teaches self-care strategies that support mental health wellness. She is passionate about all persons being both physically and emotionally safe.

Cynthia Velasquez, who works for State of California-DOR (Dept of Rehabilitation), was introduced to Directing Change while taking a college course in Psychology. It impacted my outlook on crisis intervention, and in reaching out to those who were in need. I support the mental health community and hope to reach those who are afraid to reach out for help.

Daisy Nuno

Daniel Vanwaus

Danielle Segal is the Residential Program Manager for Sierra Community House in Lake Tahoe. She was part of one of the first MSW courses designed to understand suicide( prevention, intervention, and postvention) in the country. She is passionate about reducing stigma and preventing suicide.

Deb Diaz de Leon is an active community member of Orange County Suicide Prevention forum, and is dedicated to reducing stigma and creating awareness around mental health and suicide prevention.

Deborah Kofkin is a veteran teacher, newly retired after 30 years of service, who is certified in Exception Student Service K-12 and Elementary Ed. 1-6. She is a newly appointed board member of the Central Florida chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She is also Chairperson for Brevard County’s Out of the Darkness Community walk for the last 2 years, raising $57,000 for the AFSP. “Promoting mental health is a priority that needs to be realized, detailing ALL the aspects of mental health, before poor mental health is even discussed, as standards help set parameters. Survivor of suicide loss became a title for me after my 21 year old son chose eternal peace in May 2016.”

Dena Abramson Babb is the Director of Children & Family Ministries at Riviera United Methodist Church in Redondo Beach, mother to a teenage son living with depression and anxiety, and a mental health advocate through her blog alittlebroken.org.

Devin Price hasworked both in acclaimed film documentaries and also as a licensed clinician specializing in military families.  “I uniquely have the expertise and passion to contribute to the mission of spreading mental health awareness and de-stigmatizing treatment.”

Dulce Goode is currently a Mental Health Specialist contracted through the District, “doing my part to reduce and hopefully one day eliminate stigma surrounding mental health and whatever I can do to help, I will.”

Dustin Khebzou is a filmmaker and musician living in the Bay Area. He is currently working as a Communication Specialist for the Alcohol Research Group, a program of the Public Health Institute.

Elissa Jimenez works at the California Mental Health Connectionand says that “promoting change in the well-being of a person is part of my passion.”
Elizabeth R. Stone has spent 20+ years as a trainer, consultant, conference presenter, and advocate using her experiences as a recipient of mental health services to advocate for
respectful and inclusive, recovery and trauma-informed behavioral health services.

Elke Petras

Ellen Murphy works as a school psychologist statewide in California.

Erica Miday has been a part of the survivors for suicide loss society since her brother took his life in the summer of 2012. Since then she has helped create a documentary about physician suicide and has been doing what she can to provide support to others in the community. She plans on attending graduate school to obtain her MFT next year, which “would be something fun and rewarding for me given my background in film and my experience with suicide.”

Evanne Torrecillas is a school counselor intern in Sacramento County who works with K-12 students in various capacities.

Faviola Garcia Robles, who works at Dignity Health Community Hospital of San Bernardino,

is passionate about mental health and suicide prevention, and believes promoting awareness about mental health challenges is vital to our communities.

Fiona Black works in genomics and look forward to the day where we understand an individual’s biological make up well enough to positively impact their mental and physical health. “Depression and suicidal thoughts have been part of my family’s story since I was young.”

Florence Powell, who works at San Bernardino Community Hospital, has recently became certified for mental health first aid for adults and youth. She will be training clinical staff and assisting to facilitate classes for the Health Education Center for the Community.

Floyd Strayer

Frank Navarro is a retired detective and current police officer who has extensive experience in working with youth at risk of suicide.

Garrett Klatte would like to contribute to the effort of suicide prevention.

Gary Cederquistisa suicide survivor and would like to judge these films with an eye towards reducing the stigma of mental illness and inspiring young people to get help early before their illness overcomes them.

George Zaragoza is a Communication Studies graduate student at Cal State University San Bernardino who understands the importance of mental health and the stigma that comes with it. “I want to help diffuse the stigma because mental health can effect anybody.”

Grace Park has an undergraduate degree in film studies and a graduate degree in social work that “gives me a unique perspective of evaluating how the importance of mental health is expressed in a creative and artistic way.”

Gerald White

Grace-Sonia Melanio is a community health and arts advocate based in San Jose, CA. A former public relations and marketing professional for a chain of independent movie theaters, she has been involved with organizing, judging, and curating Bay Area film festival programs for over 10 years. Grace-Sonia currently serves as a volunteer programmer for the Cinequest Film and Creativity Festival.

Graham Wiseman is with BeingwellCA. “My son was texting his friends the night we lost him to suicide. If one of his friends knew the signs and said something there I may have a different story to tell about my son Colin.”

Gwynneth Domecq is a health educator at schools, where she presents to students about mental health issues, as well as managing some aspects of social media for Crisis Support Services of Alameda County.

Hayley Yerington has a passion for diversity and representation in the arts, and spent 8 years on staff at the non-profit American Cinematheque, an organization in Los Angeles dedicated to showcasing films and filmmakers from all over the world.

Heather Stewart has an interest in judging this competition stems from being a teacher of middle school students and the mom of a middle school daughter who has suffered from depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

Heather Hultgren is the Media & Communications Coordinator for the Encinitas Union School District. She launched the first-ever K-6 Film Guild 5 years ago to provide students with a voice that could help inform and teach others.

Heather Haney is a mother of two precious children and is grateful for opportunities such as Directing Change for our youth to take part in suicide prevention awareness.

Holly Siino is an Equity Specialist at the Foundation for California Community Colleges supporting Foster Youth Programs throughout the system. Holly is passionate about helping students achieve their goals while being supported all aspects of their personal wellness.

Howard Somers has been a suicide awareness/prevention and mental health advocate at the local and national level since his son took his life in June 2013 after serving in Iraq with the National Guard.

Hyonok Oyama works with the Department of Children and Family Services, and supports creative methods in educating and supporting the community in the issues of mental health and child welfare.

Jobana Townsend is a Field and Legislative Advocate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Jodie Wingo is a healthcare professional with a sincere interest in mental health and suicide prevention efforts. She is invested both personally and professionally in seeing growth in funding, education, research, and stigma reduction around mental and behavioral health diagnoses.

Jody Shephard, LMFT is a clinician with the San Diego Access and Crisis Line (ACL). The ACL is the suicide hotline, and provides mental health referrals, as well as crisis intervention for for San Diego County residents. She has been a licensed MFT for over 30 years.

John Dent has been advising media for the past 15 years at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, CA. His teams have won regional and national awards for their videos and publications. John loves to help his students become journalists and story tellers using a visual medium.

John Kincer

Joe Johnson has worked for 7 years as a coordinator of Ending the Silence.

Joyce Bruggemanis the Executive Director of Survivors of Suicide Loss San Diego and speaks throughout Southern California to educate, enlighten, and reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues and suicide.

Julia Penn has struggled with personal mental health issues and had experience with loss. “I am now 34 and know the importance of sharing lessons with the youth. I hope these films can help the youth to overcome the stigma associated with mental health issues.”

Julia Jagels is a crisis hotline worker for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, as well as a trainer working one on one with other staff and volunteers to prepare them to take calls and help them to understand what someone might be feeling when they call in. She is passionate about suicide prevention and destigmatizing mental health issues.

Julie Cruz is with the La Habra City School District and “cannot think of a better way to put a voice to mental health awareness than through our very own youth.”

LaDona Harvey is the morning show co-host on AM600 KOGO, in San Diego, a morning news program covering local to national news, Monday-Friday, from 5-9 am.  She is also a board member for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Her areas of expertise include writing, producing, and airing content, commercial production, and all aspects of broadcasting on a spoken-word format. She has received many awards ranging from 2 Gracies, to numerous SPJ awards. She is also a member of a working, all-volunteer board for AFSP San Diego, which works to prevent suicide by supporting legislation at the state level, and national level, for mental health services, and is the largest private funder of mental health research in the country.

LalaineMae Oliveria-Villafanacurrently manages a school based suicide prevention and early intervention program in North County San Diego. She is very passionate about reducing the stigma of mental health and advocate/ encourage help seeking behaviors.

Laura Stricklin

Leah Brooks is a therapist and advocate for youth at San Diego Youth Services and has been working to empower and encourage youth to strive for their dreams.

Linda Espinoza is a Marriage Family Therapist who is passionate about suicide prevention and supporting those families whom are impacted by the loss of a family member or friend.

Linda Boyd

Linda Collins was a law enforcement officer for over 30 years specializing in sexual assault and child molest. “I saw first hand how the lack of mental health support impacted victims of these crimes and continues to do so.”

Lindsay Tibbetts is a Community Education Specialist in Suicide Prevention at the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency. This is her third year judging the Direction Change Film Contest. She enjoys supporting and celebrating the talented young filmmakers!

Lindsey Ma has  worked to support the full implementation of school based mental health services, K-12. I train staff to facilitate programs that address suicide prevention and postvention in the Alhambra Unified School District.

Lindsey Knight, Is the Community Engagement Manager of a nonprofit, AIM Youth Mental Health in Monterey, California, that addresses youth mental health by funding clinical research of various disorders. “I know that there needs to be more awareness, support, and funding to address the youth mental health crisis. Each Mind Matters Directing Change program plays a vital role in the conversation of mental health and elevates youth voices and experiences, and that is why I am honored to be a judge. It is also because of my personal experiences with mental health challenges that I chose to work in this field and advocate for the next generation of youth who deserve support and most effective treatment available.” To learn more about AIM Youth Mental Health please visit www.aimformentalhealth.org.

Lisa Futrell-Williams is a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and social worker for County of San Diego Child Welfare Services.

Lissa Thomson works for Lockton Companies and says, “My professional life allows me to advocate for advancement in corporate treatment of mental health issues.” She sits on non-profit boards which fight against stigmas, and for information and access to behavioral health support. “I look forward to the being voice of our youth who understand that mental and behavioral health needs are part of the human condition.”

Lorry Leigh Belhumeur, Ph.D, has been the CEO of Western Youth Services (WYS) for over 19 years with the mission of advancing awareness, cultivating success, and strengthening the community through integrated mental health services for children, youth and families. Their focus is on identifying and preventing further ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) in youth and working with them to develop skills to overcome these ACEs which increase their ability to live full and productive lives.

Lynn Gilmour is a middle school counselor at Immaculate Heart Middle School. “I have unfortunately I have had to do many risk assessments and suicide prevention work with students, across varying demographics.”

Lynn Gahman

Madison Perry has been struggling with mental illness since 3rd grade, and has almost lost many friends to suicide. She has been spreading awareness about mental illness and suicide, and sharing her story and how she became the person she is today in hopes of helping others see that there is hope. She has participated in NAMI walk & American Suicide prevention walk.

Malcolm Ahlo is a returning judge, and has coordinated teen tobacco prevention and control movement in the Southern Nevada Health Districtin Las Vegas for the past 17 years, including media creation and outreach events.

Margaret Weakley is a peer and family member of someone affected by suicide, and she wants to support reducing stigma related to mental health concerns.“I would love to return as a judge and be a part of this wonderful project.”

Maria Chairez is deeply committed to helping youth in crisis get resources to address their needs. “By being involved as a Judge, I can do my part to help create media tools to reach all youth. My role as a principal helps me understand the needs of today’s youth.”

Maria Pagador is a Human Services Program Planner for the Sacramento County Department of Health Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services.

Maria Spivey found a note the other day, on the back of my daughter’s IEP paper work that read, “her success will be my success!” “Rest Easy BabyGirl. We All Love & Miss You Dearly! Chloe Roston 07/03/96 – 03/26/14”

Marisa LaDuca Crandall, PhD has over 20 years of experience working with children and adolescents in schools and treatment settings and is now the Director of Educational and Counseling Services at the Marlborough School in Los Angeles.

Mary Glas works at Blue Shield of California and has significant experience editing written materials.

Matt Feldhaus is an Army Veteran that has worked for over 5 years in building comprehensive communities under collective impact methodology which includes areas of physical, mental, and spiritual health in 6 large communities (Seattle, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, NYC, Asheville, and Dallas).

Megan O’Malley trains school psychologists at CSU Sacramento. Her research focuses on school mental health and wellbeing, and she is especially interested in student voice projects for improving mental health among young people.

Megan Larson works to empower high school and college aged youth to change the conversation about mental health through her work with Active Minds and advocates for mental health as a crisis counselor for Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.

Megan Mills (she/hers) is a Behavioral Health Worker and works in the public mental health system. Megan has lived experience with mental health challenges and is a mental health advocate.

Megan McDaniel has cultivated an immense interest in mental health from working as the Warmline Program Coordinator at the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Sonoma County and her coursework in psychology at UC Berkeley. Her interest in this topic has influenced my desire to research suicidal behaviors and non-suicidal self-injury as a way to better understand these phenomena and dispel stigma through scientific inquiry.

Melanie Hartzell has been mentoring youth for 20 years and is passionate about education that supports mental health and suicide prevention.

Meredith Webb is the Clinical Services Supervisor for Solano County Office of Education. Additionally, she is an active member of Solano’s Suicide Prevention Committee.

Merida Saracho has supported and assisted with empowering children and adolescents for 20 years, and with her current role in the Department of Behavioral Health has been able to ensure kids are treated fairly and humanely when their rights are violated. “I would love to see that mental health is address and medical health without the child being stigmatized.”

Messina Dovici works with at risk youth as part of her internship at Solano County Office of Education. In addition, she works for a mental health agency full time and is in a MSW program with a concentration on health and mental health.

Michelle Carlson is a MHSA Program Specialist for the County of Tuolumne, and in this role she has the opportunity to serve the community in many different roles. “Directing Change is a great way to encourage growth and contribute to the reduction of mental health stigma.”

Mimi Kramer is a survivor of suicide loss, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Arts and Dance. “I could judge this contest with the experience of both a performing artist and survivor.”

Molly Brassil has worked as a policy analyst and advocate in the behavioral health space for nearly 15 years and believes that access to recovery-focused, quality, whole person care is an essential human right.

Molly Jenson has struggled with depression on and off for the last 20 years and has experienced the suicide of a grandparent and a few close friends. “I think it is more important than ever that we be talking about these things.”

Mona Sterling is very passionate about advocating for positive well-being and the importance of a maintaining one’s mental health. She will be enrolling in a Masters of Counseling Psychology program to become a MFT (starting Fall 2020) and currently volunteers as a crisis phone line counselor to listen and support individuals going through immediate crisis or who are having suicidal thoughts.

Monica Ortiz is a youth and family support partner in a school based prevention and early intervention program with San Diego Youth Services. “I look forward to the day when mental health issues are no longer stigmatized and youth would feel comfort reaching out for help.”

Monika Howard, M.S., PPS., LPCC has worked as a school-based mental health therapist and mental health program administrator in the Sacramento Region for 23 years. She also leads district wide suicide prevention and mental health stigma reduction programs for students and families. She is a mom of a young adult with mental health challenges and a staunch advocate.

Nancy Fowler

Natalie Saragosa-Harris is a Psychology PhD student at UCLA researching how experiences shape wellbeing in children and adolescents. She is committed to supporting healthy development and mental health in youth.

Nathan Lichtman has always passionate about working in suicide prevention, having lost a close friend to suicide.  He now oversees all the volunteer training and retention efforts Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, with over 200 volunteers. Last year the organization answered over 130,000 calls and chats from those in crisis. He also just started grad school to earn an MSW.

Neal Troianois a Substance Use Disorder Counselor, where he works with clients with severe depression, suicidal ideations and self-esteem issues. “I empathize, engage and encourage as I treat them; this contest would be a great reference to share with my clients.”

Nicholas Duran is a part of a peer-to-peer program that promotes mental health awareness, stigma reduction, and suicide prevention at California State University Long Beach where he is pursuing a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Nicole Moyer is a Communications Grad Student at CSUSB, a mom and works in the Real Estate Marketing/Advertising Industry.  She has a personal interest in suicide prevention because “I had someone very close to me take their own life while I was nearby, which changed my life and ended his. I would love to contribute to positive messaging about suicide prevention.”

Nora Mays has over 5 years of experience working directly with youth in both Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Prevention services.

Olabode A. Lawal is a communications expert, with a Bachelor’s in Marketing Communication, and  specialization in Advertising, and is currently pursuing a masters in Communication Studies.

Olga Jurado is a Psychiatric Social Worker with LAUSD/SMH. “I believe in the power we each hold to overcome and live a healthy life via awareness, advocacy and promotion of mental health. Life is a beautiful gift!”

Olivia Wang is a teacher in an economically impoverished area in the Stockton Unified School District.  “I really believe in this project and would love to offer my assistance where I can.”

Otto Wahl has many years of experience and special expertise in efforts to improve public understanding of mental illness.

Pam Birdsall is a retired Continuation High School and Elementary teacher who started and organizes “Wellness Through the Mind, Body & Soul…Another Approach to Suicide Prevention” for Plumas County and a mother whose 19 year old son died from suicide.
Patricia Saldana is a Psychiatric Social Worker with the Los Angeles Unified School District with over 12 years experience working with youth in schools focusing on suicide prevention, intervention and postvention, as well as advocating for mental health services in schools.

Paulina Degortarisays that her team at the Orange County Department of Educationwill be encouraging youth for whom they conduct youth development workshops to engage in Directing Change for the upcoming school year. “Participating in this will allow me to gain greater understanding of the program and the expectations.”

Peggy Geier is the health technician in a high school health office and sees mental health issues on a daily basis.

Peter Dy is the Senior Program Coordinator at the California Primary Care Association. Peter coordinates behavioral health trainings and is passionate about advocating for health minds in an academic environment.

Phrani Diksa has been working with young people in an educational setting for over 30 years. “It is with a sigh of relief that suicide is finally being talked about openly and honestly. That in itself is a major movement forward.”

Ralph Navarro

Rebecca Johnson is a student at Cerritos College, a community college serving Southeastern Los Angeles County. She is also the President of the Active Minds chapter, where recently the chapter was evaluated as a 5-star chapter by Active Minds, Inc.

Rebekah Waddell is a current Master of Arts student at Cal State San Bernardino whose research interest includes communicating and interpreting mental health themes within electronic entertainment. She also works in the Office of Strategic Communication at CSUSB and understands the importance of strategy when it comes to distributing content with heavy themes to large audiences.

Rene Hernandez

Renee Cookson is a returning judge with over 4 decades as an advocate, educator and licensed professional in the Behavioral Health field. “I know the importance of messaging early intervention and prevention using media and technology!”

Dr. Ricardo Guerra Cabán has worked 5 years as a Bilingual Program Coordinator for Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center in Los Angeles, CA. He is an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) Master Trainer. He also worked 3 years in Puerto Rico’s Crisis Intervention Program as a Crisis Counselor and Team Leader.

Rick Newmyer is a Senior Lecturer with the USC Suzanne-Dworak Peck School of Social Work. Prior to joining USC, Rick spent two decades developing and administering programs for children, youth and families.

Robert Mansfield works with the UCSF Institute for Global Health Sciences. “I love that this program gives the students an opportunity to be directly involved in effecting change.”

Roberto Escudero is the multimedia specialist for the Burton School District, and has been able to put together a district-wide film festival that has empowered many students to be active creators. “I have enjoyed seeing the positive impact creating content has had on student learning. I enjoy watching student creative content and therefore would love to judge for the Directing Change program and film contest.”

Robyn Gantsweg is the Peer Self-Advocacy Program Manager at Disability Rights California for the past 17 years. She has always been interested in finding new and innovative ways to educate people about mental health disabilities and reduce the stigma and discrimination that comes with it.

Rose Cabral: Always advocating for my family members, friends and all who are impacted and effected by mental illnesses so that they may lead enriching, fulfilling and successful lives.

Rosemary Rubin is co-chair of the Los Angeles County Child and Adolescent Suicide Review Team.

Rosie Cheng

Rosy Tellez has been coordinating disability rights educational workshops and Peer employment trainings for over 16 years.

Ruth Cañas has been in the field of mental health for over 25 years and is the executive director of a mental health agency in West Los Angeles. She has dedicated her career to empowering youth within the Latino community.

Ryan Corbin works in public health, prevention and early intervention, which includes mental health awareness, suicide intervention, bullying prevention, substance use prevention and much more.

Saeed Mirfattah, M.A. is the Program Officer of Solid Start, a program that works with low-income pregnant women with children 0-3 in San Francisco County to promote physical and mental health and health equity supporting this population for over 30 years with projects that include visual storytelling through film and photography.

Samantha Olson is interested in judging this contest because I am a huge advocate for youth voice and providing agency to youth to foster social change and decrease mental health stigma.

Samantha Burgos is interested in film and works in the industry, and love seeing new short films even before they make their debut onto social media platforms like Youtube and Vimeo.

Sandra Carranza

Sandra Black, MSW is a suicide prevention consultant who works primarily with statewide projects and county agencies to develop and improve suicide prevention programs.

Sandy Nelson has been lucky enough to design and create a variety of pieces for Each Mind Matters for several years. “This work has opened my mind to the mental health movement, as well as helped me be more sensitive to what others may be going through.”

Sara Geierstanger, MPH is a Project Director in the School Health Services Research and Evaluation Team at the University of California, San Francisco. For over two decades she has conducted evaluation research on a variety of community health topics, focusing on school-based health centers and school-based behavioral health services. Based in San Diego, she currently is evaluating the California Department of Education’s Project Cal-Well Initiative, Alameda County’s School-Based Health Centers, and Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky Initiative. She received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Economics from the University of Michigan, a Master’s in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.

Sarah Bartee has experience with mental health as mental health therapist and social worker within the Central Valley of California. “I like to work with communities in creating more awareness and education.”

Sarah Keeney currently works with Crisis Support Services in the Teen for Life program. She specializes in suicide prevention education by going into schools and empowering adolescents with information. Prior to this, Sarah worked at an emergency shelter for foster children for over eight years.

Saundra Schmidt works in community mental healthcare, reaching out to families that have a loved one experiencing mental health challenges. She has lost a loved one to suicide, and seeks to make sure others get the help they need to prevent this tragedy from affecting others.

Scott Rose is a principal at RSE, the social marketing firm that has collaborated on Each Mind Matters campaign.

Sean Maulding has been watching friends or family struggle with their mental health for years before finally taking the steps to get help for his own.  “I want to make that process easier for everyone else who needs that important help.”

Senobia Pichardo is a Peer Self-Advocacy Trainer with Disability Rights California’s Peer Self-Advocacy Unit. Senobia has been facilitating Patient’s Rights Self-Advocacy Groups throughout the Los Angeles County for 15 years; both in the community as well as in locked facilities.

Sheri Hanni has worked in K-12 education for 25 years supporting students with attendance, mental wellness and positive behavior so they can ALL be successful and have a world of opportunities open to them.

Stacy Ma Du Bois is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In the past 9 years, Stacy has worked as a mental health clinical supervisor in a program that is focused on behavioral health integration and providing early intervention services to adults in a healthcare setting through collaboration with primary care doctors. In this area, there is room for suicide risk assessment and interventions in which Stacy is passionate about. “Providing education and consultations to healthcare providers offers an avenue to suicide prevention in an arena where it is widely needed.”
Stephanie Murray has been a school psychologist for the Whittier Union High School District for 27 years, and is very active in the district’s suicide prevention program. She is also a co chair of the LA County Child and Adolescent Suicide Review Team, a member of the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Network, and involved with the LA County Office of Education CDOL division as part of the SPORT 2 (Suicide Prevention Ongoing Resiliency Training) program.

Stacy Ma Du Bois is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In the past 9 years, Stacy has worked as a mental health clinical supervisor in a program that is focused on behavioral health integration and providing early intervention services to adults in a healthcare setting through collaboration with primary care doctors. In this area, there is room for suicide risk assessment and interventions in which Stacy is passionate about. Providing education and consultations to healthcare providers offers an avenue to suicide prevention in an arena where it is widely needed.

Stephanie Murray has been a school psychologist for the Whittier Union High School District for 27 years, and is very active in the district’s suicide prevention program. She is also a co chair of the LA County Child and Adolescent Suicide Review Team, a member of the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Network, and involved with the LA County Office of Education CDOL division as part of the SPORT 2 (Suicide Prevention Ongoing Resiliency Training) program.

Dr. Susan Coats is the CASP Mental Health Chair, her district’s School Psychologist on Special Assignment developing the mental health programs for all K-12 campuses, and NAMI High School Club advisor.

Susan Wood is an LMFT practitioner working in community mental health for the past 20 years and currently managing a program for children in 8 locations throughout LA county.

T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh is an award-winning performer, writer, director and producer, currently working on a masters degree in psychology. She served for many years on Entertainment Industry Council’s Prism Awards review panel and is glad to serve again for Directing Change. http://www.TKeyah.com.

Talia Shapiro began as a volunteer on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in 2018 and is still actively serving today. In addition, she works as a Training Supervisor, training new counselors on suicide and how to help those in emotional distress.

Tawny Porter is a social justice advocate with The Social Changery with a passion for data-driven social change.

Tom Tamura is the Executive Director of the Contra Costa Crisis Center, an AAS accredited agency, answering local and national crisis and suicide calls via their 211 and NSPL hotlines, and providing community-based suicide prevention trainings and grief groups focused on suicide loss.

Tony Gapastione is filmmaker at Bravemaker, a nonprofit CEO that specializes in films on social justice and cultural change and suicide prevention advocate.
Tonya Ross is a Registered Nurse serving as the Health and Wellness Services Coordinator for Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). Tonya promotes and coordinates wellness education and services to schools and programs serving students attending LACOE education programs. She advocates for and supports optimal mental and physical health and well-being for all students.

Tracie Andrews

The Rev. Vivian Brocato, MA is passionate about helping children and families heal from various Adverse Childhood Experiences and mental health concerns, including suicide and suicidal ideation.

Whitney Wilson is a Patient Rights Advocate at Jewish Family Service of San Diego. Whitney helps to ensure that the rights of people receiving behavioral health services in psychiatric hospitals, residential and long term care facilities, and substance use disorder facilities are protected.

Yvette Valle isa school counselor and believes it is important to support and help empower students and to create awareness. She is also passionate about finding talent and skills in people. “I have worked as a judge in the past for different contest and I really enjoy it. I believe learning about how students approach the mental health piece is very existing.”

Yvette Jackson

Zoey Eberle is an educator for the Teens for Life youth suicide prevention initiative, “I’m excited to see what young people are doing to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around suicide.”

 

If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, are thinking about suicide or are concerned about a friend call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately: 1-800-273-8255This is a free 24-hour hotline.
The contest is part of Each Mind Matters: California's Mental Health Movement and 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 counties through the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. The program is implemented by Your Social Marketer, Inc.
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