County-wide PSA contest winners spread important messages for Mental Health Awareness Month
Vista, CA -Since 1949, the U.S. has recognized May as Mental Health Month by creating awareness through the media, local events and screenings. It’s common for people who are abusing substances to experience one or more symptoms of a mental health problem because of the effects drugs have on a person’s brain chemistry and behavior.
Recent studies have demonstrated that youth who use marijuana are at greater risk for mental health problems including depression and anxiety. Approximately 1 in 10 people who use marijuana will become addicted. When they start before age 18, the rate of addiction rises to 1 in 6 (SAMHSA, 2020). In fact, youth who use marijuana who also have a family history of mental health conditions are at even greater risk.
North Coastal Prevention Coalition (NCPC) launched their annual county-wide 420 Remix PSA contest to increase youth involvement in creating prevention messages. This year’s contest, co-sponsored by the San Marcos Prevention Coalition and San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, addressed the theme, “Smoking is NOT Coping.” The winning entries highlight the negative effects youth marijuana use has on mental health.
The PSA entries are created to raise awareness of the risks of adolscent marijuana use. “Teenagers are going through a tough time right now,” stated Alycia Rankin, a student from Vista Magent Middle School and NCPC Committee video PSA contest
winner. “Even when going through emotional struggles, marijuana may make it worse. The side effects can be especially damaging to teenagers and their development. That is what inspired me to encourage others not to use marijuana.”
Another PSA contest winner hopes his peers can find other mental health related resources instead of self-medicating with marijuana. “It’s concerning to hear from other students that they’ve tried marijuana as a means to treat depression or anxiety. Substance-using youth should seek other alternatives that won’t be a detriment to their health in the long term,” stated Jonathan Ty from Sweetwater High School and PSA contest honorable mention winner.
Contest winners of the annual 420 Remix PSA contest, open to middle and high school students in San Diego County, include:
- First Place image – Lizzy Fellars, Rancho Buena Vista High School
- First Place video – Vanessa Ramirez, Bonita Vista High School
- NCPC Committee image winner – Hanna Tremain, Rancho Buena Vista High School
- NCPC Committee video winner– Alycia Rankin, Vista Magnet Middle School
- Honorable mention winner – Jonathan Ty, Sweetwater High School
- Honorable mention winner – Naomi Tremain, Rancho Buena Vista High School
To watch a five-minute video containing all of NCPC’s 420 Remix PSA contest winners please visit: https://youtu.be/1NUYBzIhK48.
The County of San Diego, Behavioral Health Services, provides additional resources in celebration of May’s Mental Health Awareness month- May Is Mental Health Month Resources (sandiegocounty.gov). If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use and/or mental health issues the “It’s Up To Us” campaign offers resources at San Diego Suicide Prevention and Support – Up2SD or for immediate help please call the Access & Crisis Line (888) 724-7240, available 24/7.