The Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services and the Community Services Board announced the winners of a public service announcement video contest during the regular CSB meeting on May 10. A presentation of the Board of Supervisors’ proclamation recognizing May 10 as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day also occurred.
The winning 30-second PSAs are:
- Hashtags# – The message of this video, which focuses on youth and social media, is “treat people like humans, not just hashtags.” (Connor Prugh, Josh Kim, and Tanner Vincent.)
- S.T.O.P. Stigma! – This video, shot in black and white, features a group of teens talking about the derogatory terms and misperceptions associated with mental illness. (Kale Neupane, Jonathan Josue Hernandez, Jaskiran Osahan, Hiran Lord, Badrul Amin Nadim, and Ramkrishna Sharma.)
The purpose of the youth-led PSA contest was to promote prevention of youth suicide; increase knowledge about how to recognize and respond when a youth is struggling; and to encourage help-seeking behavior and hope.
The PSA contest is part of MHSADS’ strategy to promote youth health, wellness and resilience in support of the Board of Supervisor’s strategic plan. There were eight PSA submissions representing 56 young people. The PSAs were screened and scored by youth judges.
The top two PSAs will be shown at theaters showing PG-13 movies at the Cobb Village 12 Cinemas in Leesburg and the Regal Cinemas at Dulles Town Center from May 18 through June 7, in recognition of May as Mental Health Awareness Month.
The PSA contest serves as a reminder about the resources that are available in Loudoun for youth experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts or other behavioral crises. Through MHSADS, help is available 24/7 for people experiencing immediate and severe emotional crisis by calling 703-777-0320. The Crisis Intervention Team Assessment Center, at 102 Heritage Way in Leesburg, is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and mental health professionals are available for anyone in crisis. Non-emergency appointments can be made at 703-771-5155.
Other free, confidential 24/7 supports include:
- PRS CrisisLink: 703-527-4077 or text “CONNECT” to 85511
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
- SAMHSA National Helpline: 800-662-HELP (4357)
- Children’s Regional Crisis Response (CR2): 844-NCrisis (627-4747) in English and Spanish
- Hopeline: Chat at www.hopeline.com or call 800-784-2433
In an emergency, call 911 and ask for a CIT deputy or officer.
For more information, visit loudoun.gov/ SuicidePrevention.