A film about ways that high school students can intervene with their peers to help prevent suicide is a finalist for a state award.
Four Pleasanton Foothill High School students created the film titled “Years Unfold.” It won first place in Foothill’s region in the Suicide Prevention category in an annual contest sponsored by Each Mind Matters. The organization represents a partnership between California’s Mental Health Movement, and the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA).
There were 456 submissions from 110 schools and community-based organizations. State winners will be announced May 11 at an awards ceremony in Escondido. Foothill has entered films in the past, but this is the first time it won in its region. The Foothill filmmakers are Cassie Wang, Daniel Do, Shelley Ho, Sami Nasser, and Sabrina Chen.
The film runs for one minute, because it is designed as a public service announcement. (For a viewing, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VG3X-kG7DB0&feature=youtu.be).
The movie shows Nasser in a cap and gown playing the role of a returning graduate talking about how his life was saved by a classmate, played by Do, who cared enough to take an interest in his depressed moods.
Matthew Z’berg, a publicist for the film contest, said that emotional pain of people suffering depression “is not always obvious, but research shows that four out of five teen-agers who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.”
The film encourages young people to respond to a friend by learning warning signs, encouraging teens not to keep their feelings a secret, and to talk to a trusted adult about mental health and suicide, said Z’berg.
Scott Sears, who has been teaching video production at Foothill since 2002, said that the students are such knowledgable self-starters that they were able to put the video together without any help from him. Two of the students are in his class; other three participate in a film club that meets at noon.