Fifteen Orange County high school teams were recently recognized by the California Mental Health Services Authority for videos they produced aimed at helping prevent suicide, reducing discrimination stigma related to mental illness, and promoting overall mental health of all students.

The student videos were part of the 2017 Directing Change Program & Film Contest, which helps students throughout California learn about the topics of suicide prevention and mental health.

The contest encourages students to produce original 60-second films about suicide prevention and mental health that are used to support awareness, education and advocacy efforts on these topics.

“Each year there are more films submitted from Orange County student videographers,” said Lucy Vezzuto, coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education’s Center for Healthy Kids and Schools.

“Creating these films is an opportunity to not only be creative and communicate to their peers, but also to learn about student mental health. This is how the stigma that surrounds this issue begins to break down and provides an impetus for getting help,” she said.

Across the state, teams competed in regions. Students submitted 456 videos from 110 schools and community-based organizations. Orange County teams submitted 46 videos for competition against teams from San Diego and Imperial counties.

Statewide winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony and screening held May 11 at California Center for the Arts 340 N Escondido Blvd, Escondido. Here are the 15 local honorees and their videos:

Through the Lens of Culture-Suicide Prevention Category

Mental Health Matters Category

Suicide Prevention Category