From suicide to gun violence, Yale School of Public Health students addressed important public health issues while showcasing their creativity in the school’s second Roger Barnett Public Health Video Challenge, known as The Winnies.
Six videos were considered in this year’s contest, which offered $5,000 in prizes. The winners were selected by a panel of seven judges.
This year’s top prize of $2,500 went to a team comprised of Conlin Bass, Geena Chiumento and Eduardo Encina whose 90-second video was titled The 4 R’s Of Suicide Prevention.
Filmed in New Haven, the video highlights ways individuals can help others struggling with their mental health. It notes that depression affects nearly 18 million adults and is a primary reason someone dies of suicide every 12 minutes.
“I have found that the biggest source of support during challenging times stems from friends and loved ones recognizing signs that someone is not doing well and taking the time to check-in,” said Encina, who helped shoot and edit the video. “I believe that being there for others, whether in person or through a phone call or text, are all small actions action that can have a substantial impact.”
The “4Rs” video tells the story of a young woman named Geena (Chiumento), who is experiencing depression after learning of a tragic event involving a friend. A male friend, Ed, (Encina) checks on her and expresses his condolences. He gets concerned when she responds, “Thanks. That means a lot. But it’ll all be over soon and then you won’t have to worry about me anymore.”
Ed tells Geena he and others are worried about her and are there for her if she needs support. He gives her a hug before leaving. This exemplifies the video’s first ‘R’ of suicide prevention – Recognizing signs of guilt, sadness and pessimism.
Ed then shares what happened with another friend Conlin (Bass), who sends Geena a text expressing his care for her and concerns about her well-being. This is the second ‘R’ – Respond. Conlin’s text includes several hotline numbers for individuals in crisis, which is the third ‘R’ – Refer to Resources.
The clip ends with Ed and Conlin paying Geena a visit at her apartment, checking on her and sitting with her for a while, which is the fourth and final ‘R’ – Re-engage.
“Suicide prevention and mental health awareness are things we all hold dear,” said Bass, who lost an uncle and good friend to suicide. “I always thought that the 4 Rs were an easily digestible, memorable, and meaningful way to talk openly and honestly about suicide, hopefully giving people the tools to be able to reach out when they otherwise wouldn't feel comfortable.”
Two videos tied for second place with three student producers splitting $2,000 in prize money three ways. Each received $666.67. Isabella Berglund-Brown’s video, Young Lives Are On The Line, focused on gun violence as a public health crisis. A video produced by Ryan Sutherland and Anna Jennings, Foot Health Is Public Health, focused on the importance of foot health as a public health concern, especially among individuals struggling with homelessness. Sutherland is executive director of The New Haven PAWS Project. Jennings is a member. The project, which stands for Poverty Alleviation through Washing Soles, provides monthly foot care to New Haven’s homeless population.
Two videos earned honorable mention awards of $250 each. The first was a suicide prevention video produced by Kevin Zheng, Leonardo Lizbinski and Coco Ma. The second was a video produced by Mukesh Adhikari entitled Important, But Often Overlooked Determinants of Public Health Challenges.
Students could enlist teams of other students to help produce the videos but at least one member of the team had to be enrolled at the Yale School of Public Health.
“The Winnies represent one of our most creative and entertaining events of the year,” said Dean Sten H. Vermund. “Public health communication is among the most vital challenges within our mission. It is inspiring and a sheer delight to see our students showcasing their diverse talents by merging public health and the arts. I enjoyed each and every one of these insightful videos!”
Vermund thanked Roger Barnett, CEO of Shaklee Corp. and an alumnus of Yale College and the Yale Law School, for donating funds to make the video challenge possible. The Winnie awards are light-heartedly named after Yale School of Public Health founder Charles-Edward Amory Winslow.