Following an extensive statewide campaign, Generation Next, the mental health and media student competition and program of the Entertainment Industries Council’s (EIC) project TEAM Up (Tools for Entertainment And Media), has selected three winners:

  • In Film and Television, Isabel Fischer (University of California, Davis) wins first prize for her short film, “Mind + Body,” a non-fiction piece that portrays, through dance and storytelling, the intimate experience of youth living with mental health disorders.
  • In the Journalism category, judges selected Kyle McCarty (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) for his well-researched news writing piece on college youth and depression.
  • In the Social Media category, Rachel-Jean Firchau (Chapman University) receives first prize for her poignant and effective campaign to reduce stigma around eating disorders within the transition-age-youth population. 

 “EIC received over 100 thought-provoking submissions and selected 12 semifinalists to develop their projects under the guidance of media and mental health mentors,” said TEAM Up Project Director and EIC Exec. VP of Government Relations and Program Services, Marie Gallo Dyak.

Generation Next was created by the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) in response to the alarming number of college students experiencing serious mental health challenges. This statewide campaign and competition, funded by the historic California Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63), invited college students and faculty to use the power and influence of media to reduce stigma and discrimination around mental health.  With less than a month to complete their projects, students relied on the guidance of mental health experts and media professionals to develop their final entries to their fullest potential.

“Being part of the mentoring program has taught me how to turn a negative experience in my life into something positive that would benefit other young people like myself. Having an eating disorder was a horrible experience that I never thought could be used for something good,” says Social Media category winner, Rachel Jean Firchau. “Over the past month, my mentors have encouraged me to share my story as a means of making an impact. I’ve learned how to use social media to the best of my ability to send a message about empowerment and strength, and I’m thankful for that.” 

“We are thankful to California State University Los Angeles’ department of Television, Film, and Media Studies for providing an ideal location for Generation Next’s judging. A select group of professionals in the fields of film, television, news writing, broadcast journalism, digital communication, mental health within diverse communities, and education came together to review projects and help strengthen the learning experience for the next generation of content creators,” Dyak continued.

“This experience has definitely given me a glimpse into what it is like to be a professional journalist doing investigative news, and I am more excited now than ever for what my future career will hold for me. My mentors were amazing, fast coming with advice and support, and as a result I think that I have written my best story yet,” says Journalism semi-finalist, Kellie McCown of Los Medanos College. “Please continue with this program for years to come and introduce future journalists to this “beat.” Mental health is an area that is not getting the coverage or advocacy that it deserves, and I hope that Generation Next/TEAM Up changes that.” 

Winners will be honored at the 18th Annual PRISM Awards ceremony at Skirball Cultural Center on April 22nd where each will be recognized by an audience of media professionals.   

About Generation Next

Generation Next, a program of the EIC as a part of its TEAM Up campaign, is supported by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health among Californians. The Generation Next website is http://www.eiconline.org/teamup/gen-next/.

About Entertainment Industries Council

EIC is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 by leaders within the entertainment industry to bring the power and influence of the industry to communicate about health and social issues. The organization is considered to be the chief pioneer of entertainment and journalism outreach and a premiere success story in the field of entertainment education. This mission relies on providing resource information to the creative community and culminates in recognition of the industry through the national television special PRISM Showcase which addresses accurate portrayals of substance use issues and mental health concerns. The organization also produces the SET Awards, honoring positive and non-stereotypical portrayals of science, engineering and technology.

For a complete list of health and social issues addressed by EIC and local projects please visit First Draft and EIC’s website. EIC’s web site is www.eiconline.org. The PRISM Awards web site is www.prismawards.com. The SET Awards web site is www.eicsetawards.com

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