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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
October 1, 2020

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Middle and High School Principals:

Supporting the Annual Directing Change Program Student Film Contest

The California Department of Education (CDE) is pleased to continue supporting the annual Directing Change Program and Film Contest. This event is sponsored by Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement and the California Mental Health Services Authority as part of a collaborative statewide effort to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and promote the mental health and wellness of students.

This statewide program invites California students from grades seven through twelve to create 60-second films about suicide prevention, mental health, and related cultural perspectives. The primary goal of the Directing Change Program is to support implementation and expansion of mental health and suicide prevention awareness efforts on school campuses.

Schools that participate in the program are eligible to receive mental health and suicide prevention resources. For more information about available resources to support your school’s prevention efforts, please visit the Directing Change website at https://www.directingchangeca.org/.

Schools associated with the first-place winning film in each category, in each region, are eligible to receive $500 to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs and activities at their school (subject to availability of funding and one prize per school).

In response to California Assembly Bills 2246 and 1767 (California Education Code Section 215), school governing boards serving pupils in kindergarten through twelfth grades are required to adopt and implement suicide prevention policies. The Directing Change Program has been working with districts throughout the state to assist them in implementing suicide prevention policies. For more information on how to implement suicide prevention policies, please visit the CDE Youth Suicide Prevention web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/cg/mh/suicideprevres.asp.

I encourage all school staff to promote this film contest across their middle and high school campuses to all students. We are all committed to preserving the health, safety, and well-being of our students. To achieve this, mental health and suicide prevention must be a top priority in our schools. By working together and incorporating the student perspective in this campaign, we will increase awareness of the mental health issues our students face and reduce youth suicide.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Stan Collins, Program Coordinator, Directing Change, by email at Stan@SuicideIsPreventable.org, or Monica Nepomuceno, Education Programs Consultant in the CDE School Health and Safety Office, by email at mnepomuceno@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

TT:mn
2020-05645

Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 1, 2020

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