Directing Change: A Novel Approach to Addressing Disparities in Suicidal Behaviors among Latinx and LGBTQ+ Youth

Does a youth filmmaking suicide prevention program have significant impacts on Latinx and LGBTQ+ youth?

Latinx youth report higher suicide attempt rates than Black, White, or Asian youth, and LGBTQ+ youth attempt suicide 3-4 times more than heterosexual youth. Schools provide a venue to identify suicidal youth, change norms, and encourage help-seeking, but few promising school-based programs exist, and fewer still have been rigorously tested for marginalized youth. Morris and team will test the impact of a novel school-based suicide prevention program, “Directing Change,” in which small groups of students create films on mental health and suicide prevention and share them with the school community. The program addresses school-level norms that perpetuate stigma for marginalized youth and seeks to change their knowledge, behavior, and beliefs about mental health. The team will conduct a cluster randomized waitlist-controlled trial in 30 California high schools. Using an intent-to-treat framework, the team will examine the impact of Directing Change on students’ knowledge, self-efficacy, perceived stigma, school connectedness, help-seeking behavior, and support of peers’ help-seeking behavior for students who create and view the films and for Latinx and LGBTQ+ youth specifically. They will also examine the impact of the intervention on suicidal thoughts and behavior for students who create the films. Finally, the team will conduct interviews to explore the mechanisms by which the intervention improves outcomes.

Subscribe for Updates