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Student Films About Suicide Prevention Screen In San Diego

Photo caption:

Photo by KPBS

A view of the San Diego Public Library, Sept. 9, 2016.

Suicide prevention is the theme of the award-winning student films that will be screened Wednesday night at e3 Civic High School in downtown San Diego.

Suicide is preventable.

That's the subject of the award-winning student films that will be screened Wednesday night at San Diego's e3 Civic High School.

It's also the theme of the Directing Change program, now in its fifth year.

Directing Change is a statewide program that offers students ages 14-25 the chance to make a 60-second film on suicide prevention and mental health. Students compete for a chance to win cash prizes and appear at the annual awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Along the way, participants learn about the warning signs of suicide, and how to reach out to someone who needs help.

Directing Change president Janna Sczersputowski said young people shouldn’t be afraid to bring up the topic of suicide.

“Asking directly ‘Are you thinking about suicide?’ does not increase the chances that a person will take their life, but it can help prevent suicide by having an open conversation," Sczersputowski said.

According to the 2015 California Healthy Kids survey, nearly 19 percent of 11th-graders said they had seriously considered attempting suicide.

Sczersputowski believes talking about mental health challenges and suicide is healthy.

“Starting these conversations early and having peers talking to one another can greatly reduce the stigma, and make it seem OK to get help," she said.

The deadline to enter this year's Directing Change competition is March 1, 2017.

The e3 Civic High School is on the sixth and seventh floor of San Diego's Central Library in downtown.

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